PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Despite concerns from neighboring Lanesborough, Pittsfield will ask the state Legislature to prohibit heavy commercial trucking along the northern corridor of Peck's Road and Highland Avenue.
The City Council on Tuesday voted 10-1 to ordain a second reading of a petition by Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Simonelli that would attempt to deter the current use of these residential streets as a kind of bypass for commercial trucking.
"I was under the impression we were talking solely about Highland Avenue," said Ward 6 Councilor John Krol, who voted in opposition.
"We're already starting to get some feedback from Lanesborough, it's already an uphill battle," said Krol, motioning to amend the act limiting it to only Highland Avenue, suggesting the removal of the now controversial Peck's Road aspect might make it more likely to pass.
"I don't know why Councilor Krol was under the impression that Peck's Road was not mentioned," said Simonelli, who defended his petition as initially put forth.
Addressing concerns that this might interfere with some nearby businesses, Simonelli emphasized that the ban "would not exclude normal deliveries, normal businesses that have a need to go through there. This specifically is set up to exclude the tractor trailers, the out-of-state vehicles that have no need or reason to be on those roads."
Simonelli said he had also spoken with some people in the Churchill Street area who were worried that they will now bear the brunt of the truck traffic.
"I don't see that as happening," said Simonelli, noting that if the commercial truckers were blocked from using Peck's Road, they would have to undertake more narrow, rural routes such as Potter Mountain Road to access Churchill from the north. "I don't see that as an option whatsoever."
"The major push for this petition was Peck's Road. Highland Ave was tied into it because of the fear of people coming down and cutting through from Valentine Road," said Simonelli.
While a costly formal traffic study has not been undertaken to measure exactly how much truck traffic there is on these streets, Councilor Christopher Connell, who helped vet the issue on the Traffic Commission, indicated the anecdotal information they'd heard convinced them a problem does exist.
"We all agreed with this petition," Connell reiterated, opposing the move to amend it.
"My goal here with the amendment is to make sure that we have something that is palatable, and basically understanding the dynamic here, having something that possibly would pass," said Krol.
The amendment failed 10-1, and with a subsequent 10-1 vote the council authorized the city clerk to send the act to the Legislature for a ban of both Highland and Peck's Road from the Lanesborough line to Valentine Road.
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