There will be no new construction and no diversion of existing truck traffic in the city, according to Public Safety Commissioner Ronald Kim.
Kim addressed these concern at the Tuesday, Feb. 6, Saratoga Springs City Council meeting where residents fueled by concerns over a fictitious e-mail about a weigh station at Yaddo gardens that had circulated among public and elected officials commented on the recent announcement that the informal park and ride in front of the gardens is going to be paved.
`We are absolutely, positively, 100 percent not building a weigh station there,` said Kim.
Kim said with the equipment the Public Safety Department has in its arsenal, a weigh station isn’t needed. All of the equipment needed to inspect a vehicle is portable and can be carried in a small truck or the trunk of a car. In fact, Kim said, having the mobile equipment makes the enforcement of traffic laws and truck regulations much easier.
`What we do need, however, is a hard surface to conduct those inspections on,` said Kim, `and paving that site near the Yaddo will give us that.`
He added that he felt it was important to support and encourage the park and ride, as it reduces fuel consumption and pollution.
`I hope your discussion will be guided by what is in the comprehensive plan,` said resident Camille Daniels to the City Council last week. Daniels said the parking area in front of Yaddo is like a gateway to the Saratoga Springs community, because it is one of the first things people see when they get off the Exit 14 ramp.
Kim said if visitors hadn’t noticed the inspections by now, they probably wouldn’t in the future.
`We’ve been doing this for seven years now, not doing the weigh, but the truck inspection,` he said, reiterating that truck traffic from other parts of the city would not be diverted to the Yaddo site for inspections.
Kim said his department has been conducting inspections without a hitch for more than a decade in the Saratoga Performing Arts Center parking lot off of Route 50.
`Interestingly enough, Route 50 is also a gateway to this community, and we’ve been using that for 15 years,` Kim added.
After dispelling the myth of the Yaddo Gardens weigh station, Kim fielded more public comments on the nature of truck traffic in the city. Some residents asked if the city could simply deny access to some trucking companies. Kim pointed out that not only would this be detrimental to area businesses, but the action could also serve to relinquish what control the city now has over the traffic.
Kim said that if the city denied access to a trucking company they could petition the state because of financial hardship. The Department of Transportation, in turn, could mandate Saratoga Springs to allow access.
`Then we lose all control,` Kim said.
Commissioner of Finance Matthew McCabe asked if the city could use the DOT service station at Interstate 87 Exit 15 for truck inspection. McCabe said they could go up to Exit 15, which is within the city limits, according to Public Works Commissioner Thomas McTygue, and then turn around and come back.
Once again, Kim warned that the action may be too restrictive to the trucking companies, and that the city, in an effort to exert too much regulation may wind up with none at all.
`We can definitely look into it,` he said, `But once again, our ability to regulate where trucks go is somewhat limited.`
Kim said he will continue to listen to the public on the issue, and that his department will continue their efforts to make the streets of Saratoga Springs, and the vehicles that travel them, as safe as possible.
`All of this is for the purpose of doing what we can to make the trucks that travel our roads as safe as possible,` he said.
Kim could not say when the work on the park and ride would be completed.“