Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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October 15, 2008

WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM: Truckers' Upper Mountain shortcut spurs rumbling

TOWN OF LOCKPORT — Randall Hodge’s fervent wish is that 18-wheelers and other big vehicles would quit trucking up his street.

He has lobbied hard for several years to get truck traffic off Upper Mountain Road between Saunders Settlement (Route 31) and Lockport Junction Road (now routes 93/270). Town officials credit him with being an early driving force behind the town’s successful bid to get New York State Route 93 off Upper Mountain and onto Junction Road in 2006.

Hodge isn’t satisfied with rerouting alone, however. Truck traffic still passes by his front yard, traffic he says it’s still quite heavy at times; he counted up to 20 large vehicles an hour passing by his house this past summer, he said.

He’d like the state to lower the 55 mph speed limit on the 31-to-93 stretch of Upper Mountain to further discourage truck traffic — and/or Niagara County and the town to somehow force trucks to stay on state routes unless they have deliveries along Upper Mountain that can’t be made otherwise.

Speaking for the town, Deputy Supervisor Debbie Gaskill says Upper Mountain is a county road, and the town has no control over it; county Public Works Commissioner Kevin O’Brien says county actions are dependent on state standards; and state Department of Transportation Regional Traffic Engineer Thomas Messana says apart from the speed limit, decisions about the road belong solely to the county and town.

The vicious circle has Hodge claiming he’s a victim of indifference and “injustice” at the hands of public officials who haven’t embraced his suggestions. He says a lower speed limit would suit the largely residential stretch and insists a town effort to push truck traffic onto 31 and 93 would not cause an undue burden for truckers.

“It’s nine-tenths of one mile longer to use Route 93 than to cut through (Upper Mountain),” Hodge said. “If it was 5 miles I’d say ‘OK,’ but it’s less than a mile and there are fewer stoplights.”

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