At 6 p.m. on Thursday June 10, representatives from Governor Patterson's office and the Department of Transportation (DOT) hosted an open house at the Skaneateles District Offices to discuss the ongoing issue of truck traffic on local roads. It was their third 2-hour session that day -- and fourth in two days -- and it was beginning to take a toll.
This was most evident when, late in the evening, DOT Commissioner Stanley Gee's assistant Sam Zow referred to Governor Patterson as Governor Pataki.
The state's diligence in hosting the open houses, however, did not go unnoticed.
"I know as mayor for the past five and a half years it's been a number one issue for me in the community," said Skaneateles Mayor Bob Green after introducing the representatives. Green is vice president of the Upstate Safety Taskforce, which has worked to bring the issue to the attention of the state.
"It's just very pleasing to know that the state has been listening to us and also wants to seek a solution to the quality of life and safety issues that are affecting the smaller communities throughout the state," he said.
The DOT recently instituted a new policy aimed at limiting freight traffic on rural roads. The regulation states that trucks cannot travel on local roads unless that road is the only highway providing access to the destination.
Green brought to the room's attention Skaneateles' efforts, saying that last year the village budgeted money toward truck traffic enforcement. In six months time, the village police wrote several hundred violations. "But this is a burden for the local communities," he said. "This is additional tax dollars going to work for truck enforcement."
Green suggested that the state provide grant money for the cause. "All you would have to do is fund three truck enforcement officers" to cover Aurora, Owasco and Skaneateles. "And I think that would be the solution to truck traffic through these local communities," he said.