Trucks Use Bridges

An expanded inspections plaza, moved farther down Front Park, will speed the inspections process and minimize truck and car idling at the Peace Bridge. Trucks, incidentally, use bridges, and advances in clean diesel technology in recent years, starting with the total introduction of ultra-low sulfur diesel a few years ago, means that the trucks now are far cleaner than they were at any time in history. 

Andrew Cuomo is in a position whereby he has to act in the best interests of the state – not one certain activist group or neighborhood organization or city or county or region. He’s determined that speedier, more efficient inspections are important for everybody. 

The bridge isn’t going anywhere, and the status quo actually does more harm to people than it needs to. If you want asthma rates to decrease on the west side of Buffalo, I don’t know why you’d want to retain the current, antiquated inspection plaza and not want some sort of change. 

34 comments

  • Is this post funded by the Diesel truck Lobby of America? Let’s start with “clean diesel”, an oxymoron just like “clean coal”. There is no “clean diesel”,  even with reduced emmissions diesel is still dangerous to health. “Trucks are now cleaner than any time in history”, sounds good but the vast majority of trucks are not the “new technology” types but the old heavy polluting models. It will take 20 to 30 years to replace these older models, enough time for another generation to suffer from asthma and other diesel related diseases.

    Diesel exhaust contains a mix of over 400 different fine particulates and organic compounds, 40 which are classified as toxic. Diesel exhaust contains 100 times more soot than gasoline exhaust and is responsible for the bulk of air pollution along our highways. Idling trucks produce significantly more fine particulate ( the most dangerous) due to incomplete combustion.  Children and the elderly are most affected by diesel exhaust.

    Diesel truck plazas are not compatible with densely populated areas, it is that simple. The health and well being of citizens trumps the rights of the for profit trucking industry. There is no benefit to hosting a diesel truck plaza and no reasonable argument to expose thousands of people to a well documented heath threat.

    • Not to be glib, but someone should have thought of that before they built the Peace Bridge where they did. Particulate is easily managed with new filtration and urea injection technology. Diesel is one of the predominant alternative fuels in use in Europe, and they’re hyperanal about emissions.

      This isn’t a “diesel truck plaza” – it isn’t a Pilot truck stop, but an international inspection barrier to entry to the United States. There’s no alternative to it right now, except for closing the bridge or banning truck traffic. This despite the fact that, as the post indicates, expansion of the plaza will actually keep the traffic moving and reduce idling trucks, thus diminishing any ill health effects therefrom, and that most – if not all – truck traffic across the bridge is pre-screened to reduce wait times here.

      If those thousands of people didn’t want to live near a major highway, they shouldn’t have moved near a major highway. I know that it’s chic to suggest – sometimes overtly, sometimes implicitly – that this is taking advantage of a poor community, but I don’t see anyone shutting down the Williamsville toll barrier anytime soon, either.

      • The neighborhood of course predates the Peace Bridge, also there is no way the builders could have forseen the volume of truck traffic seen today. As for new filtration and urea injection technology, to my knowledge no such process is planned at the Peace Bridge.

        Expansion of the plaza is intended to attract more trucks (and revenue) so any improvement in wait time will be negated by increased volume.

        Most people in this neighborhood did not choose to live near a bridge or highway, many have roots that go back generations.  Others have invested in their homes or do not have the means to move away.  Finally the Williamsville toll barrier is not equivalent, stopping to pay a toll does not equate to waiting in a long que to pass customs.

        • The filtration and urea injection is in the truck engines and would need to be implemented as a governmental regulation. 

          Have you tried to get through the Williamsville tolls on a Friday afternoon in summer? It makes the Peace Bridge look like a joke. 

          Setting aside the coming to the nuisance argument, if increased truck traffic moves smoothly and efficiently through a new barrier configuration and onto the 190 and speedily out of the neighborhood, everybody wins.  Have you tried to negotiate the clusterfuck that is the current barrier recently? Maintaining the current configuration is madness, given the concerns you cite.

          • I haven’t seen much on filtration but urea injection is only required on new trucks, not the 90% of older models that dominate the industry.

            No reasonable argument can be made for locating a diesel truck plaza in a densely populated area.  Just because it is convenient or cost efficient for the industry does not offset the rights of citizens or risk to health.

          • You’re missing the entire point. 

            1. A new inspection barrier location & design will alleviate the health concerns you have; and 

            2. It’s not some discretionary plaza that can just be located away from the Peace Bridge. It has to be there, before traffic can depart the area. It just is. 

            If it sucks so badly now, God knows why you’d want to maintain it the way it is. 

          • 1. The new design is intended to attract more trucks to the Peace Bridge which will negate any improvement.
            2. The Peace Bridge was built for cars and local delivery trucks, it was not intended to be a truck terminal. Route trucks to Lewiston or better yet utilize rail where possible.

      • Hey maybe if we didn’t have so many DOT (Dickheads of Transportation) ripping apart trucks every other mile the truckers would be able to upgrade. Forget all of the scientific textbook nonsense cause the real world doesn’t work that way. The trucking industry is hard enough as it is and all of you idiots are on here spewing crap.  Diesel is 4 bucks a gallon. New rigs start at 150K. Thanks to the liberal mentality the industry is dieing a slow painful death. You all depend on trucks to make your fairytale lives possible appreciate it more.

  • Anyone who purchased their home after 1927, the year the bridge opened, knew that the bridge was there.  Don’t like living near an international border crossing? Don’t buy a house there. Simple. 

    What people are doing it akin to, as a friend put it, buying a house next to a gun club, then complaining about the noise. The bridge was already there. Live with it, or live elsewhere. Stop holding the community hostage because YOU don’t like something that preceded you.

    • This isn’t just a nuisance like the noise from a gun club but a well documented and serious heath threat. The “community” is not being “held hostage”, a truck plaza provides no benefit to the host community. It is the residents of this neighborhood that are being held hostage by the PBA and trucking interests.

      • So, typical NIMBY. If it doesn’t help ME, then I must stop it!!

        The bridge isn’t going anywhere. It’s not closing. Don’t like it there? 

        Move. 

        • I don’t live there, I live in Black Rock, it doesn’t “help ME” one way or the other. There is no problem with the bridge, it is the diesel trucks that are the problem. When the Ambassador Group proposed a trucks only bridge here in Black Rock I researched the issue carefully. Like I said, diesel exhaust is not just some NIMBY nuisance, it is a very well documented danger to health, not maybe, not could be, but fact. If this was proposed in an affluent suburb it would not even see the light of day.

          • Well, the trucks aren’t going away either.

          • Most of the cargo could be transported by rail, we subsidize and enable the trucking industry while ignoring the true costs to our health. Rail is much more efficent and much less polluting per mile per ton.

  • This project has been tickling the behind of the Prospect Hill neighborhood for
    generations, and now the governor wants to facilitate a full scale rape of the
    environment.

    What good is a commercial crossing anyway when THE VAST
    MAJORITY OF THE TRAFFIC PASSES RIGHT ON THROUGH? And there are ALWAYS MUCH
    LONGER DELAYS AT THE LEWISTON BRIDGE. No one debates expansion there, although
    because of prevailing winds there that force emissions down into the gorge, the
    health hazzard to the environment is erased. This is a safer, sane location for
    commercial bridge expansion; one with the potential to bring real economic
    benefit to the region with its proximity to multiple forms of commercial
    transport (rail, air, etc).

    And no matter how efficient diesel engines
    become, there is NO ACCEPTABLE LIMIT OF EXPOSURE TO FINE PARTICULATE
    EMISSIONS!

    The governor and all the other elected and appointed
    officials and member of the public at large who support a truck plaza and duty
    free store at this location are ignorant fools! NOWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD are
    they building commercial crossings in densely populated urban areas. ONLY IN
    BUFFALO!

  • MOVE THE TRUCKS, NOT THE BRIDGE!

  • MERGE THE BRIDGE COMMISSIONS!

  • Jesus Christ! I agree with you.

  • What I find too often missing from these discussions is concern for the expected life span of the 85 year old Peace Bridge itself.   I believe a scientific determination of the life expectancy of the bridge should be part of any discussion regarding what to do with the land on either side of it.  Just how long can we expect the bridge to be safe with the current and potentially increased level of traffic volume?  Are we embarking on a land based project next to a bridge that will not be safe to cross in 15 years? 

    NOTE:  I recall reading somewhere (don’t remember where) that the life span of bridges built with the materials and in the style of the Peace Bridge is between 80-100 years (this includes routine maintenance, stabilization and partial reconstruction).   Whether or not this bridge will be safe to cross in 15 years needs to be considered in all Peace Bridge related plans.

  • prospect_hill_homeowner

    Woah Nelley! This Bedenko guy is on somebody’s payroll . . . it’s fun to read his bosses’ version of reality.   Thanks for keeping me informed on the latest trucking industry propaganda.   Congestion at the Williamsville toll barrier IS the mirror image of the Peace Bridge congestion.  I live in the Peace Bridge neighborhood and regularly pass thru the Williamsville toll barrier.  Trite phrasing doesn’t convince anybody otherwise.  Hey Mr. Bedenko, the sewer authority is going to build a high speed sewage treatment plant in your back yard.  It won’t be a problem because the off-gassing will be easily managed with new filtration and urea injection technology.      
    I wouldn’t wish expansion of the Williamsville toll barrier or the installation of a new toll barrier on any one along the Interstate 90.  Not sure why anyone would wish for increased diesel truck exhaust pollution in my neighborhood.
    My favorite outdated and uninformed argument:   have no pity on the people living in the Peace Bridge neighborhood.  In fact treat them with scorn.  They knew what they were doing when they moved in.  To these folks:  a trip to the downtown library will be informative.  They have books on Buffalo history.  World history too.  The earth is older than 6,000 years and the lower West Side neighborhood existed before the Peace Bridge.   The constant parade of Toxic Ttrucks is a late-date phenomenon.  Love Canal on Wheels is an apt description of what exists at the border crossing today. 
    To Mr. Damien:  my fairy tale life does depend on trucks.  No self-delusion there.   My fairy tale life also depends on the US Military, but we don’t let the military strafe residential neighborhoods with napalm. That’s why we have laws . . . you know, to prevent such things.  It’s a quality of life thing.
    And how about Mr. Beecher . . . we Peace Bridge residents should move if we don’t like the destruction of our neighborhood.  Simple!  To Mr. Beecher:  Don’t like being a frustrated about the demands for clean air in the Peace Bridge neighborhood, take a day off from your anxiety, don’t complain about it.  Simple.
    This destruction and pollution does not have to happen.  Read what Peter Certo has to say . . . there are alternatives.  Good ones.  Excellent ones!  Sheesh, even Ron Rienas at the Public Bridge Authority knows that. 
     

    • Woah Nelley! This Bedenko guy is on somebody’s payroll . . . it’s fun to read his bosses’ version of reality.   Thanks for keeping me informed on the latest trucking industry propaganda.   Congestion at the Williamsville toll barrier IS the mirror image of the Peace Bridge congestion.  I live in the Peace Bridge neighborhood and regularly pass thru the Williamsville toll barrier.  Trite phrasing doesn’t convince anybody otherwise.  Hey Mr. Bedenko, the sewer authority is going to build a high speed sewage treatment plant in your back yard.  It won’t be a problem because the off-gassing will be easily managed with new filtration and urea injection technology.      
      I wouldn’t wish expansion of the Williamsville toll barrier or the installation of a new toll barrier on any one along the Interstate 90.  Not sure why anyone would wish for increased diesel truck exhaust pollution in my neighborhood.
      My favorite outdated and uninformed argument:   have no pity on the people living in the Peace Bridge neighborhood.  In fact treat them with scorn.  They knew what they were doing when they moved in.  To these folks:  a trip to the downtown library will be informative.  They have books on Buffalo history.  World history too.  The earth is older than 6,000 years and the lower West Side neighborhood existed before the Peace Bridge.   The constant parade of Toxic Ttrucks is a late-date phenomenon.  Love Canal on Wheels is an apt description of what exists at the border crossing today.  
      To Mr. Damien:  my fairy tale life does depend on trucks.  No self-delusion there.   My fairy tale life also depends on the US Military, but we don’t let the military strafe residential neighborhoods with napalm. That’s why we have laws . . . you know, to prevent such things.  It’s a quality of life thing.
      And how about Mr. Beecher . . . we Peace Bridge residents should move if we don’t like the destruction of our neighborhood.  Simple!  To Mr. Beecher:  Don’t like being a frustrated about the demands for clean air in the Peace Bridge neighborhood, take a day off from your anxiety, don’t complain about it.  Simple.
      This destruction and pollution does not have to happen.  Read what Peter Certo has to say . . . there are alternatives.  Good ones.  Excellent ones!  Sheesh, even Ron Rienas at the Public Bridge Authority knows that.  

      • “And anyone that moved to the immediate area after it’s construction came to the nuisance”, except diesel truck exhaust is not just a “nuisance” but a well documented ansd serious health threat. Examples of a nuisance (definition- an annoying thing) are an unpleasant odor or a noisy neighbor, not noxiou fumes that endanger the health and well being of residents.

        • No one knows what causes asthma, and asthma is triggered in different people different ways. To blame every West Side asthma case on diesel exhaust from idling trucks at the Peace Bridge defies logic, reason, and science.

          But what strikes me as particularly odd isn’t even the “coming to the nuisance” argument (such as someone moving to Maryvale then complaining about the airport noise), but the idea of urban living. Isn’t noise, pollution, and discomfort part and parcel of living in a city? If people want pastoral silence and an absence of sensory insult, then they should move to a place where they get the environment they seek. I realize that some people can’t do that, and I’m not advocating that we maintain a bad problem or make a bad problem worse. I’m expressly suggesting that a bad problem be alleviated by letting the traffic move rather than sit stagnant. That’s what the Peace Bridge Authority and the State are trying to do. They’re trying to make your situation better. So, why are you opposing that? This goes back to my earlier tongue-in-cheek post whereby we just demolish the Peace Bridge to make the neighborhood happy, at the expense of the entire Southern Ontarian and western New York region.

          • It is not just asthma, there are many serious health threats related to exposure to diesel exhaust. I did a lot of research when the Ambassador Group proposed a bridge here in Black Rock. Air quality near truck plazas has been shown to be among the poorest of any places measured. Idling trucks spew fine particulate that lodges deep in the lungs and also enters the bloodstream.  A simple search of ‘diesel exhaust danger’ will provide extensive and credible information confirming the real health and documented health threats associated with exposure to diesel exhaust.

            I live in the city, I tolerate many nuisances such as noise, traffic, business activity, etc. It is a false equivalency to claim those inconveniences compare to the real danger on concentrated diesel exhaust. I think you need to stop calling diesel exhaust a nuisance, the reality is it is a genuine and indisputable health threat.

            The PBA is looking first and foremost at revenue, trucks are the most lucrative part of their business. It is no coincidence they are aggressively pursuing more truck traffic.

          • Also asthma has been directly linked to diesel exhaust, there is no debate in the medical community.

          • I’m using “nuisance” in the legal sense, not the dictionary definition sense.

            I agree, they should move the traffic along and not have it idling. That’s why they need to expand capacity at the inspection barrier. Problem solved.

            You really want all truck traffic banned from the Peace Bridge?!

          • Expanding capacity is intended to attract more trucks which will just overwhelm the added capacity and defeat the supposed improvements.
            I think the Peace Bridge should be limited to local delivery trucks and long distance trucking should be diverted to other less densely populated areas. 

    • If you purchased your home in that area after 1960-ish, the bridge was already generating a lot of traffic, including large trucks. You knew what you were getting into before you signed the contract. If traffic and pollution were a concern, you shouldn’t have bought the home there. 

      This doesn’t compare to Love Canal. I own a home in the rehabilitated area of Love Canal. In this area, the homeowners had extremely limited knowledge of what was in the area before they bought there homes. The city of Niagara Falls kept is as secret as they could, and the warning was buried in the deed that you don’t see until after the sale. 

      The bridge has been there in full view for two generations. 

      This is nothing more than classic NIMBY. 

  • I have to admit I am a little floored and disappointed at the position you are taking here Alan.  To blame the victims that live on the west side for living there for their health issues is completely uncalled for. If they bought a house there they deserve to get respiratory illness because the Peace Bridge is there? Saying that the the Peace Bridge isn’t the cause?  I mean… really?  Then you say this “progress” needs to be completed to alleviate a problem it’s supposedly not even causing. 

    What happens if/when this project is completed and they find the air quality to be bad?  What are they going to do then? Knock down more neighborhoods and build more parking lots and booths?

    This isn’t about what’s best for the west side.  This isn’t even about what’s best for Buffalo.  It’s what’s best for Erie County taxes and NYS and it’s authorities, both the PBA and Thruway (where a 50% hike in truck tolls await them) and its best for Duty Free America.

    Anyone whose actually walked these streets can see the “blight” in this target area is 100% manufactured. And it’s disgusting that our politicans are rewarding this behavior with their endorsement.  For Cuomo this is about pride and reputation.  This is about him coming in and pushing this down our throats because no other politician could. He wants to say he’s fixing Buffalo and you can see it in his face.

    I live in the area. I am not sure where I stand at this particular moment because as usual there is no concrete plan to show us but a line of politicians and the PBA telling us the “this is a done deal.”  It never is and I don’t expect it to be this time either.

    • I don’t “blame the victims”, but I don’t know why I have to repeatedly repeat that reconfiguration of this plaza will improve the complained-of situation, so opposing it defeats the purpose of health improvement. I never said it’s not causing “respiratory illness”, because that can include many different maladies. I’m sure some people are annoyed by the fumes, and I’m sure some people are sickened by them. I think it’s an open question whether asthma is caused by them because the causes of asthma are not scientifically known. The fact that not everybody is affected is significant. 

      So, having already repeated several times that moving & expanding the plaza will alleviate the issue of idling trucks (presumably idling cars cause nothing to anybody, right? It’s just trucks we’re complaining about), I ask you – if the status quo is horrible and making everyone asthmatic with an unspecified radius, what do you propose? Do we get rid of the bridge altogether? Is the 190 an issue at all, should we get rid of that? Should we cover the 190? Should we ban trucks and move them all to Q-L Bridge? 

      Opponents have let us know all about the problems and what they oppose, but they don’t seem to have a lot to say about what they propose. 

  • At minimum a plan should be presented to the public and openly vetted for its impact.  To the best of my knowledge the current plan has not been presented to the public.  A government agency should held accountable to the public.  That goes double for a half foreign government agencies.

  • Incidentally, if you, too, are “so wondering why @artvoice hosts a blog that consistently advocates against the best interests of Buffalo residents.” I’d suggest to you that (a) I don’t; (b) everyone disagreeing with me has posted horror stories about the deleterious effects of idling diesel, yet provided absolutely zero solution to it – EXCEPT TO MAINTAIN THE SUPPOSEDLY HORRIBLE STATUS QUO. 

    Thanks for reading, though. Let me know when you have the balls to use your own identity, which you so carefully protect so as to avoid betraying the financial and other motivations behind your positions. Coward.  

    • Alan- I offered solutions, divert long distance trucks to Lewiston and allow local delivery to continue using the Peace Bridge. Or better yet use rail where it is feasible and stop enabling the heavy polluting and inefficient trucking industry. We need to put the rights of residents ahead of the convenience and profits of the trucking industry. I realize this would require some increase in costs and some inconvenience but the threat to health outweighs such trivial concerns. All citizens should have the right to be free from dangerous pollution regardless of their status or wealth. My son published a paper while at Yale Law School titled ‘Not in Anyones Backyard? The Non-Distributive Problem With Environmental Justice”. His basic premise was that the poorer neighborhoods are most often the host to heavy polluting and undesirable industry and developement. I think this applies to the truck plaza, no other residential neighborhood would accept this, especially the more affluent. 

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