Opinion: Proposed remedy for city truck traffic earns support
For over 30 years, we, as a community, have attempted to alleviate the serious problems surrounding the ever-increasing size and quantity of trucks passing through our beloved Vergennes on its Main Street, Route 22A. Incredibly, after all of our cumulative efforts, someone comes forward, casually, with an enlightened, albeit partial, solution to the problem. Our enthusiasm for the proposal is unequivocal. We wish to add our wholehearted support for Vergennes Mayor Bill Benton and the city council’s efforts to relieve the longstanding and ever-increasing truck traffic dilemma in downtown Vergennes.
As Vergennes residents, as well as residential and commercial property owners along Route 22A, Main Street, Vergennes, for over these same 30 years, we feel that we are uniquely positioned to offer our perspective on the nature of the truck traffic problem and to respond to their proposal, as presented.
We have observed, first-hand, the ever-present rumbling and destructive vibration to the Vergennes Opera House/City Hall, to the Bixby Library, to the residential and commercial buildings of the extensive National Historic District, as to our own historic home and rental property at 125 Main St., directly across from the Opera House/City Hall.
We have observed our schoolchildren narrowly avoid the trucks barreling through our narrow city streets as they make their way home through our residential community each afternoon.
We have observed neighbors and visitors to our community defy the trucks as they attempt to make their purchases within the commercial center or attempt to communicate while attempting to partake a relaxing meal with one another over the ear-splitting cacophony of truck rumblings.
We have observed, mid-winter, multiple chemically laden oversized trucks with hazardous materials skidding back down the Main Street, returning onto the bridge over Otter Creek with its incline of 10 percent, in violation of the 7 percent standard of safety.
As a result, we have held our breath each time a fire truck or emergency vehicle wails its terrifying call, fearing that this time a truck driver has had a misstep, resulting in spilled pollution throughout the city center, or an explosion of volatile fuel, exterminating a portion of our populace.
Along with hundreds of other residents, we have taken our turn to count the enumerable numbers of trucks laden with flammable and toxic chemicals illegally travelling in caravan through our residential street at all hours of the days and nights.
Over the years, we have participated in the enumerable fact-finding studies and in resultant proposals for traffic calming, alternative routes and restrictive measures to minimize inevitable human and material destruction of our community.
We have offered solutions for naught.
Today, Mayor Benton and the City Council have come forward with a proposal that makes sense for this time and place. It is not a total solution, but it is progress and has the potential for implementation. For this reason, and for our trust in their judgment, we lend our names and support of their proposal.
We strongly encourage our entire Vergennes community to turn out on March 1 and to do the same.
Faith and Stephen Terry
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