by Tom Ellis
Rensselaer City residents began meeting last spring after enduring five years of up to 100 huge trucks per day five days a week traverse downtown streets en-route to a construction and demolition debris (C&D) dump at the east end of Partition Street.
About 30 residents met September 28 at the Rensselaer public library to share information and intensify their campaign to have the trucks removed from downtown.
Whether residents will demand a closure of the dump located adjacent to the new Rensselaer public school building remains to be seen, but those at the late September meeting were unanimous they want the trucks removed from Broadway and Partition Street.
Partition Street contains a steep up hill heading east from the Hudson River; the hill peaks at the Third Street intersection and then has a steep downhill. Up to 100 trucks per day cross the hill in both directions five days a week.
Many Partition Street houses are located close to the street. Residents are outraged at the huge volume of trucks, that they begin coming over the hill at 6:30 a.m., the noise, exhaust, dust, dirt, vibrations, and falling debris, and are concerned about their physical and mental health. To experience this huge volume of truck traffic 250 days a year is extremely stressful. They are furious that both state and city officials seem to not care about them.
The Partition Street hill is easily visible from the river-facing windows of the top floors of DEC state headquarters at 625 Broadway in Albany.
One resident wrote: “Bottom Line: The plight of the most heavily impacted residents has been completely ignored. Our neighborhood noise levels are excessive and stressful to the point of presenting serious threats to our quality of life and health.”
Rensselaer residents and colleagues took a truck census on Partition Street June 9 from 6:20 a.m. to 4:10 p.m. and counted all the trucks that drove east up Partition Street and through the intersection at Third Street.
Ninety-nine (99) tractor-trailer trucks went east up the Partition Street hill and own the other side. Ninety-six (96) returned in the opposite direction. One 22-wheeled truck carried an earth mover in its trailer on the way in and had an empty trailer on the return trip. Four (4) tractor-trailer tanker trucks made the round trip. Ninety-four (94) other tractor-trailer trucks went over the Partition Street hill toward the dump. With the exception of one or two ten-wheeled vehicles, all the others had 18, 22, 24, or 26 wheels.
The first truck went east up the hill at 6:31 a.m., nineteen (19) trucks went by within ten minutes, and twenty-seven (27) during the first hour. The final east-bound truck went by at 3:53 p.m.; the first returning truck went by at 7:15 a.m. and the final one at 4:10 p.m.
One member of the group examined the 2012 dump permit and determined that the EIS contained no diesel exhaust assessment. The permit also requires trucks to be fully covered both ways. The June 9 truck census determined about ten percent of the trucks going into the dump were not fully covered and at least forty (40) coming from the dump were uncovered.
The residents are still loosely organized and have yet to adopt a group name. Additional meetings are sure to be held in October. For more information or to help out, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-453-8874.
Published in October/November 2017 Newsletter
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