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W. Burdick St. residents favor restrictions on truck traffic

August 20, 2014 - Excessive noise. Foundation-rattling vibrations. Wear and tear on the road.

These are some of the ills the Oxford Village Council is hoping to cure via a proposed ordinance amendment that would impose weight and time restrictions for truck traffic on W. Burdick St.

The idea appears to have lots of support among residents who live along the street and spoke during a public hearing at last week's council meeting.

Alisha Hawrylyszyn Frank, a 2002 Oxford High School graduate whose family has resided in a historic home on W. Burdick St. for 22 years, said continuing to allow the current level of truck traffic is "unfair to the families that live here."

"They come barreling through starting at 4 a.m.," she told council. "This Saturday morning alone at around 4:10 a.m., I counted eight trucks (that went by) within minutes of each other."

Frank indicated she gathered almost 200 signatures from both village and township residents in favor of restricting truck traffic on W. Burdick St.

"This is something that people are very passionate about," she said. "We really want this to change."

Village officials are considering prohibiting trucks weighing more than 40,000 pounds, gross weight including cargo, from using W. Burdick St.

The current ordinance already prohibits trucks of this weight from using the village's major streets, but it makes exceptions for the east and west portions of Burdick St. along with five other streets including Washington St., S. Glaspie St. and Lakeville Rd.

Officials are also considering amending the ordinance to prohibit truck traffic from using W. Burdick St. between the hours of 11 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Exceptions for local deliveries would be made with regard to both the proposed weight and time restrictions.

Council approved a first reading of the proposed ordinance amendment and scheduled a second reading and possible adoption for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9.

Councilman Bryan Cloutier, who lives in an Ashley Way condominium off W. Burdick St., believes truck traffic is a severe problem and "something has to be done."

"Had I realized that the truck traffic was as intense as it (is) . . . I would never have purchased the place," he said. "If I were to ever (try to) sell (it), if anybody came during the high traffic period to look at my place, I'd be lucky to be able to get rid of it."

Resident complaints regarding excessive noise, particularly in the early morning hours, are one reason for the proposed restrictions.

"I'm retired. I did my time. I want to sleep in and these trucks are waking me up," said Dan Ruthenberg, who lives on Conda Lane and is president of the W. Burdick Condo Association. "I used to get up at 5 o'clock (in the morning). I don't need to do that anymore."

Ruthenberg told council the association's membership is also "tired" of being awakened by truck noise.

"These trucks are coming down Burdick St. starting at 4 o'clock (in the morning), one right after another," he said.

Erika Shanahan, who lives on W. Burdick St., said being awakened "every three minutes by a truck barreling down the road is very annoying."

Her "biggest problem" is with the gravel haulers, which Shanahan finds to be "the worst culprits."

"The delivery trucks, I've noticed, tend to go slower (and) don't seem make as much noise," she said.

Vibration from the truck traffic is also an issue for residents.

"It rattles the foundations of all these 100-year-old homes," Frank said.

"A lot of these homes in the area have stone foundations," explained W. Burdick St. resident Dale Frank. "Every time these trucks go through, the vibration is so bad that it's started to (cause deterioration in the foundations). It's just going to be a matter of time before these (homes) start collapsing."

But it's not just older homes that are impacted by truck traffic.

"I have a fairly new (condo) and I sit and listen to the walls adjust and crack," Cloutier said. "It's ridiculous that we allow it."

Preserving the portion of W. Burdick St. which the village recently spent $467,152 to have reconstructed and resurfaced is another reason for the proposed restrictions. Officials fear the wear-and-tear of constant truck traffic will shorten the new road's life-span.

"Now that we have a road that is in good shape, we need to protect our assets," Cloutier said.

"It's imperative that we get moving with this (ordinance amendment) as quickly as possible," said Councilman Elgin Nichols.

Oxford Township Supervisor Bill Dunn, who lives in the village, expressed his concern that restricting truck traffic on W. Burdick St. could simply move the problems elsewhere to places like Drahner Rd. or the Waterstone development.

"I just want you to consider that," he said. "Keep in mind that we all (have) to work together here."

It was suggested that truck traffic could possibly use other roads such as Oakwood Rd., which connects M-24 and M-15, or Dunlap Rd., which connects M-24 and Seymour Lake Rd.

Dunlap Rd. was used as a detour route for truck traffic from June 11 to July 30 during the W. Burdick St. reconstruction project.

Even though he was the one who proposed implementing weight and time restrictions on W. Burdick St., village Police Officer Dave Churchill told council and the audience that whatever is decided must be equitable to the truckers as well as residents.

"Let's not forget these trucks also need to use our roads," he said. "Some of these trucks are based here in the village or they're based in the township. They pay taxes here. (They) probably have a right to use to use the roads just like the rest of us."

"No matter what we do it's going to be some inconvenience to (the truckers), so if we could just try and look at something that's going to be fair, and I think that's what the council is doing," Churchill noted.

"Burdick Street is a major street and I don't think we should just stop trucks from using it," said Councilwoman Maureen Helmuth. "I think we just need to regulate when they're there and their weight."

Dale Frank noted the gravel companies should be part of the solution by weighing the trucks before allowing them to leave the pits.

"The truckers really don't care," he said. "They're overweight. They know they can get away with it."

One of the issues with the proposed ordinance amendment that will be addressed by village attorney Bob Davis is the portion that would prohibit "all truck traffic" on W. Burdick St. between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Some council members felt the proposed language was too broad.

Village President Dave Bailey said under this proposed ordinance language, garbage trucks could not collect along W. Burdick St. before 8 a.m. He also wondered how it would impact vehicles such as school buses and fire trucks.

"The problem with the wording is that, in my view, the time restriction relates to all trucks," said Davis, who will work on clarifying and defining that portion.

The attorney noted the village ordinance currently defines trucks as "vehicles weighing over 7,000 pounds and capable of transporting cargo."

With regard to Bailey's concern about fire trucks, the current ordinance, as it relates to weight limits on major village streets, specifically makes an exception for emergency vehicles.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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