Thursday, August 4, 2022

Truck Committee Meets Tonight

The recently formed ad hoc committee dedicated to getting trucks off city streets meets for the first time today at 6:00 p.m. In anticipation of that meeting, the Hudson City Democratic Committee (HCDC) sent a letter this morning to Mayor Kamal Johnson and the Common Council. The letter, which apparently was written by Dorothy Heyl, who identifies herself as "Acting Secretary and Treasurer" of HCDC, and signed by Heyl and all the members of the HCDC, offers the committee's "full-throated support of the petition submitted to the Council by one of our members, Abdus Miah, the official elected by the Second Ward to represent their interests as County Supervisor." Miah's petition addressed specifically trucks traveling on Columbia Street west of Third Street, which is not part of the officially designated truck route. The petition, which has 180 signatures, can be found here

The letter from the HCDC reiterates the point made by Miah's petition that "exhaust from the trucks poses a serious health risk to the large number of children and senior citizens who live on Columbia Street" and continues:
The HCDC views the high number of heavy trucks on Columbia and State Streets as an egregious example of environmental injustice. For the last seven or eight years the low-income residents of the Second Ward have suffered from the injustice of these trucks using their neighborhood as a thoroughfare, and they have finally found their voice. Hudson needs to address this injustice.
The letter also addresses "another form of injustice mentioned in the petition: the high cost of damage to city streets by Class 8 trucks," asserting: "The harmful impact goes beyond potholes and ruts, and extends to the high taxes paid by city residents, who must pay for the constant maintenance and repair to streets not built for such heavy axles."

The following course of action is urged by the letter:
The solution is to refuse to spread the harmful impact of these heavy trucks to city streets west of 3rd Street. None of the streets west of 3rd Street, including as well as Warren, Union, and Allen Streets, are on the City’s Truck Route. The City Code is clear that trucks belong on the defined truck route and must not use roads off the truck route except for local delivery. . . . 
The heavy trucks spewing soot along Columbia Street were never entitled to use that road and could have been ticketed for straying off the truck route, which goes no further west than 3rd Street. They are not making local deliveries in the Second Ward. Instead, they are delivering to a dock in the 1st ward via a private road, and choosing to go through the 2nd ward for their return trip, instead of via the private road. We understand that there is ample space . . . for the trucks to turn around for the return trip, which was contemplated by the zoning restriction in place when Colarusso acquired the property. 
We urge [the] City to address an injustice too long oppressing Hudson residents who live west of the Truck Route. . . .
Forcing Colarusso to use the road through South Bay for trips both to and from the waterfront is the same solution proposed back in 2011 by then Council president Don Moore, when it was O&G not Colarusso that was running gravel trucks through the city: "To and Fro, from the Quarry to the Dock." That it never happened was because the Department of Transportation would not allow the trucks to make a left turn onto Route 9G from the haul road, then known as the "causeway," making it necessary for the trucks to make the return trip on city streets or make a longer journey back to the quarry by way of Route 23 and Fingar Road. 

The entire letter from the HCDC can be found here. Reading it is recommended as prep for this evening's ad hoc committee meeting. Also recommended reading is this Gossips post from June 2013: "The Tyranny of Trucks." It summarizes the issues we are still facing, nine years later.

The ad hoc committee meeting begins at 6:00 p.m. The meeting is a hybrid--taking place in person at City Hall and on Zoom. Click here to join remotely.


  1. If members of the Hudson City Democratic Committee were actually concerned about good government and smart policy, they might have taken a moment to protest the inclusion of Linda Mussman, whose organization has accepted donations from Colarusso, onto a committee steering policy on the Haul Road.

    It seems like just moments ago the City’s moral vacuum of a corporate counsel, Cheryl Roberts, was forced to recuse herself (she should have been terminated and disbarred) from any decisions regarding Colarusso after the relationship between the Grteenberger Foundation and Colarusso was brought into light.

    It’s a shame Hudson’s public officials have so little regard for their community or the process of good governance. Hudson deserves better. The work of this committee will be tarnished by Mussman's participation, and their output should be judged in the context of this unadressed conflict of interest.

  2. The fact that then-City Attorney Jack Connor's idea of a two-way road on the existing causeway did not come to pass already warranted an update later in 2011 with the city's adoption of the waterfront program (LWRP).

    Nerly five years later, a second significant development, one which essentially executed the LWRP plan (albeit unlawfully), warranted another update to Gossips' latest statement.

    A picture (by yours truly) tells a thousand words:

    Yes, the DOT forbade any turning plans for trucks up 3rd Street off the causeway (though the practise would continue for years); nevertheless, the DOT requirement was precisely what the 2011 LWRP sought to remedy within a range of possible and also impossible alternatives.

    Today, the construction of the single viable alternative that survived from 2011 is nearly completed (look again at the photos in the link above), while the new property owners since 2014 who continue to suppress the updated circumstance are assisted by some odd bedfellows.

    To use the causeway's private road in two directions of travel while honoring the requirement of the DOT, the 2011 LWRP planned a woodland road between Routes 9G and 9 - nearly straight to and from the mine - while preserving the existing narrowness of the causeway portion of the road. The existing width of a single lane through the South Bay would serve as a structural limit on truck volumes at the waterfront.

    I remember the disappointment that my own preferred alternative of a public road skirting the bay was not pursued, and is today an impossibilty. But I soon grasped that the grand compromise struck was a stable one by virtue of the sacrifices exacted from all parties. I learned what it means that "politics is the art of the possible."

    It's a sad fact, indicative of Hudson's worsening pathologies, that ever since the woodland road was widened in 2016 (see above link) the LWRP's two-way-road plan is routinely scrubbed from any discussion about the gravel trucks. When the long-planned solution is so close at hand, it's a pity to now see our earlier workable comprise sacrificed in service to two principal parties.

    1. The landowning company which is eager to build a gigantic mining "haul road" across the bay is backed by its minions in city and county politics, alll of whom wokefully and cynically exploit race and class resentments by disappearing the grand compromise of the 2008-2011 LWRP. One way to make compromises become unstable is through deceit.

    2. An opposing group issues pie-in-the-sky promises that would drive the landowner out of the city altogether. However, after the same group's failed effort in 2011 to orchestrate an eminent domain action (whereby local government would seize and purchase the lands), today it still appears there's no realistic plan to achieve the hoped-for banishment. A second way to introduce instability in a compromise is through uncompromising fanaticism. Making the perfect the enemy of the good never really needs a plan, and then when you lose you still feel you won somehow.

    Both groups have an interest in suppressing the great compromise of 2011, with the usual useful idiots calling for a new "compromise." Then, with the opposing group's assistance in achieving this collective forgetfulness, I predict that the first group will prevail following its ultimate success in moving the goalposts established in 2011. Meanwhile, the second group will be leading its supporters off the same cliff we saw eminent domain disappear over in the summer of 2011.

    Now you may release your venom at this true and reasonable telling.

  3. There is no solution, work around or compromise that will solve the problem. There is only one solution, eminent domain and expulsion. The property is trashed and isn't worth much. It's only value is as a public park. First step would be to condemn the rotting industrial building and tower, and shut the place down until the structures are removed. Once that is done, the soil should be tested for contamination and the damage of soil compaction be determined and costs of remediation be established. Where there is the will there is a way, what appears to be lacking is the will.

    1. Oh I see, there's "no solution" simply because you pronounce it so. Well that's rhetorical and not persuasive.

      If I recall correctly you once wrote that you hadn't arrived in Hudson in time for the LWRP process, so you wouldn't be familiar with its analysis of potential solutions nor would you remember the debacle of the initial promise to bring about eminent domain.

      I called it a debacle at the time, in 2011, and not only because the money to accomplish it was never available to begin with. That should have been obvious to all and should give people pause today. There's also the little matter of political support, which is equally critical.

      No, the disaster was the magical thinking that the South Bay would somehow, inevitably, come into public ownership, and without anyone's having to apply themselves further to the LWRP. You could just feel the public's interest withdrawing, the loss of momentum, siphoned off by a mere pipe dream. Again, the result was predictable to anyone with common sense, and it effectively undermined the ongoing work of more sensible efforts.

      By the time the supposed donors for this eminent domain begged off in a published letter to The Columbia Paper, the summer was drawing down along with its unfathomable lost opportunities.

      That whole chapter was a great embarrassment for which nobody paid a price. And now you would commit everyone (seeing as people, being people, have learned nothing) to reinventing the broken wheel? And simply because you pronounce that there's no other solution? I don't think so.

  4. P. Winslow: eminent domain would involve purchasing not just the port but the mine as well as without the port the mine is essentially useless. Thus the cost of the forced purchase would be prohibitive for the City. Additionally, your analysis fails to account for the fact that, as a matter of public policy, NYS supports movement of exceptionally heavy material such as aggregate by water to preserve infrastructure and take advantage of scalably efficient water transport. End of the day, condemnation isn’t the answer.