The Advocate reports on the aftermath of the truck ban. Before we plunge into the truck issue, let’s review the chief story of 2008. The price of gas. In recent weeks, we’ve seen gas prices fall so now they graze right at the $4.00/gallon mark for regular unleaded. Diesel, maintains its lofty near $5.00/gallon average. I lead with this because trucks run on diesel. And truck drivers are besides themselves on the cost of fuel. So much so that all sorts of technology, tire inflation and just plain driving more slowly have been employed by shippin companies eying that bottom line. I even wrote about this earlier in the summer. So before the People’s Republic of Rowayton gets all excited about the lack of trucks in route 136, let’s take a look at how the chief purveyors of trucks in the area have been doing, from the Wall Street Journal.
United Parcel Service Inc., after recording one of its steepest quarterly profit declines in a decade, said it is bracing for the economic slowdown to extend into next year and will impose a broad hiring freeze, deeper cost cuts and unspecified realignments of its delivery network
That was a 21% profit decline for the last quarter for UPS. FedEx posted similar and Tavio Hedley, staff economoist at the American Trucking Assoications (ATA) said to CNBC, “For many carriers, diesel has now surpassed labor as the number one operating cost.”
Hedley also said to CNBC that “the ATA recorded 935 trucking bankruptcies among companies with fleets of five or more trucks in the first quarter, the highest level since the third quarter of 2001.”
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are less Trucks on Route 136. Yet the Advocate reports:
Living at Highland Avenue and McKinney Street on Route 136, Sattler watched trucks swing around the 90-degree turn to the village center, sometimes seeing their tires lift off the ground as they careened around the corner.
“I would walk the kids to school in the morning, and at the same time the UPS trucks would come through. Occasionally during the holiday season, we would see up to 35 trucks in a row,” said Sattler, who joined a group of Darien and Rowayton residents called Stop Thru Trucks.
The State Traffic Commission banned through-trucks a year ago, after nearly two decades of trying to block trucks from traversing the waterside community.
“It’s great. It’s a whole new life,” Sattler said.
Residents complained that too many trucks were racing on their way to businesses such as UPS and FedEx on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and other trucking and hauling outfits in South Norwalk.
Some companies still are sneaking trucks through, but the ban is working, residents said.
“The change was immediate and very, very noticeable,” said Richard Truitt, who has lived on Covewood Drive for 20 years. “People are still walking around town, saying that this is an amazingly different place. The problem has totally gone away.”
Truitt said he counted 57 UPS delivery trucks one morning last summer from 9:10 to 9:40 a.m.
Besides UPS, the trucks that morning included dump trucks, garbage trucks, food delivery trucks, carting trucks and a crane truck, said Mike Barbis, commissioner of the Sixth Taxing District. A study by Stop Thru Trucks counted 138 large trucks going north by the village fire station from 8:30 to 10 a.m. one fall day in 2006, Barbis said.
“Every 20th vehicle would have been some kind of truck,” Barbis said. “You couldn’t sit here and have a conversation. They were flying.”
Meanwhile, residents along Route 136 east of MLK haven’t exactly seen a reduction of truck traffic. It’s interesting to note that while some residents of the People’s Republic of Rowayton were concerned about the traffic that garbage trucks would add to Meadow street, they have yet to be seemingly concerned about the number of other trucks along route 136 heading through the center of South Norwalk.
source: Advocate, Advocates of ban on trucks declare victory, By John Nickerson , August 11, 2008