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Does commercial traffic ban on the Parkway take it too far?

NYSDOT will soon institute a ban on all commercial traffic on Onondaga Lake Parkway to prevent over-height vehicles from hitting this low railroad bridge, the site of numerous accidents, including a fatal Megabus accident last September.

NYSDOT will soon institute a ban on all commercial traffic on Onondaga Lake Parkway to prevent over-height vehicles from hitting this low railroad bridge, the site of numerous accidents, including a fatal Megabus accident last September.

— Commercial vehicles should instead use Old Liverpool Road, which Reynolds said would add just a couple of minutes to their travel time.

Reynolds said that deliveries to and pickups from sites on either side of the bridge could still be completed; for example, someone making a delivery to Ste. Marie among the Iroquois or Onondaga Lake Park in a commercial vehicle could still do so. In addition, emergency vehicles are exempt from the ban.

“It all comes down to public safety,” Reynolds said. “Over and over and over again.”

But State Sen. John DeFrancisco called the ban “overkill,” saying that to ban all commercial traffic for the negligence of one person was unfair.

“Most vehicles cannot hit that bridge,” DeFrancisco said. “It’s overkill, to put it nicely, to prevent all commercial vehicles from using that road. There are other ways to keep Onondaga Lake Parkway safe. The police have more to do than simply stop vehicles with commercial plates on the parkway when there’s no risk of causing problems.”

Indeed, DeFrancisco said enforcement of the ban would be an issue.

“I can’t imagine this being enforced,” he said. “The only case is if someone is already speeding and they get a speeding ticket and then another citation on top of it. There’s not going to be any crackdown on pickup trucks with commercial plates.”

In addition, DeFrancisco said the $300,000 over-height vehicle detection system that was recently installed and activated negated the need for any kind of commercial vehicle restriction. The system consists of a laser projector and receiver mounted on opposite sides of the Parkway, vehicle-presence detectors placed in each lane of the roadbed and two dynamic electronic message signs. If a vehicle that is more than 11 feet high interrupts the laser beams while passing over the pavement detectors, the roadside dynamic message signs will flash a message to the driver to stop before the bridge, and a buzzer also sounds. The system will also automatically send a message to NYSDOT’s Traffic Management Center, which will then notify Onondaga County’s 911 Center so that law enforcement can be dispatched to assist the driver in turning the vehicle around.

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