Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The morning paper caused a very spirited discussion at the breakfast table. We have to do something to keep warm now that the snow is here, I guess.

On the front page there was an article about a trucking association which is planning a demonstration in Skaneateles on November 28th, the kick-off of our annual Dickens celebration (and shopping spree.) Supposedly 400 trucks will drive down Route 20 and arrive in the middle of the village just in time for the opening ceremonies at the Sherwood Inn.

The protest concerns the Governor's (and others) attempt to ban truck traffic in Skaneateles that is just passing through on its way south or north. The trucks currently jump off the Thruway at Weedsport and careen (my word - guess which side I'm on!) down the back country roads to arrive in Skaneateles at the light on State and Genesee (aka Routes 321 and 20). They turn left, go up to the light at East Lake Road and fly down the lake to Homer where they pick up Route 81 and continue south.

For years the village and town have wanted this practice stopped. These are trucks that do not belong on the small, two-lane roads for miles and miles. It's a safety issue much more than an aesthetic one. I have been on East Lake in the winter and there are freak snowstorms that create white-out conditions. It's hard enough for cars, but with a truck breathing down your back it's even harder. Last year Alex hit a wall of snow on his way up from Manhattan and promptly went off the road. Thank goodness no truck was following!

In the summer the trucks zoom down East Lake past camps close to the road. Kids, dogs, joggers all use the side to play, walk and run. Cars have to back out into the road. I'm amazed there haven't been more accidents.

The article quoted a driver - "Since when do we tell people where they can drive?" To the truckers it's a matter of livelihood. Coming off at Exit 15 and getting on 50 (?) miles down the road saves miles and therefore money in both tolls and gas. Why should they go around and through the city of Syracuse? The entrance to 81 is dangerous as well right at the university with an odd merging system that makes me hold my breath and hope noone hits me every time I drive there.

Bob's point was the libertarian side. How can we tell the drivers no, don't come into our village? Who really has the priority here? The truckers pay more for that Thruway every year than cars. We need them and the goods they bring. If they can save a buck, then we save a buck down the line as consumers.

I sincerely hope that there is a way to compromise. The truckers will meet with Mayor Bob Green to find one, but they may not be well-liked if they disrupt the festivities. But then again, Charles Dickens would have appreciated a fracas. Imagine Scrooge taking on a truck with his cane? Queen Victoria being held hostage? Come to the village on the 28th and see for yourself. And stop in to my open house on Knightsbridge on the 30th, while you're visiting....