Trucks whizzing down Main Street in Springville have become a concern for residents and merchants, with many calling the noise and safety risks unacceptable.
Main Street, the east-west Route 39 that runs off Route 219, draws heavy truck traffic, much of it from the many gravel pits in the area.
"It gets so bad in summer you have to go inside to have a conversation," said Joseph Emerling, a local merchant.
Emerling and others now are seeking a crosswalk at Main and Mechanic streets, about midway between the two traffic signals on Main. Emerling also proposes a portable stop sign in the middle of the street or a flashing yellow light pedestrians could push to turn red.
"Especially in summer, we have a nonstop barrage of trucks coming in," Emerling said. "The common sense thing to do would be to install a crosswalk. The center of town is the perfect spot for it."
"At 35 to 40 mph, a fully loaded 10-wheeler is pretty dangerous," he added. "People don't even feel safe crossing at lights, with the right on red. It's just a matter of time before somebody gets run over. A crosswalk would really slow traffic down that races through town."
Emerling recently distributed petitions to local shopkeepers to gauge public support. So far, he said, no one has refused to sign.
Although the speed limit on Main Street is 30 mph, trucks come speeding through at 40 mph or more, residents say. The truck traffic not only is loud and annoying, but also makes crossing Main Street difficult and even dangerous, they say.
A safety factor also comes into play, James Cafferty said. Some trucks don't cover their loads with tarps, allowing gravel to fly off.
"It's threatening the well-being and the quality of life in the village," he said.
"Just because you have a state road going through your Main Street doesn't mean you have to be held hostage by these trucks," Emerling said. "We have a right to have a downtown without trucks racing and dirt flying."
Ultimately, many residents would like the state to designate a different route as a truck bypass, leaving Main Street to bear the lighter traffic. Last year, various informal counts by residents showed as many as 40 large trucks in an hour travel Main Street.
But when the Town of Concord asked the state Department of Transportation last year to consider the situation, state officials said Route 39, as a state road, must be open to trucks.
"Excluding trucks from state highways does not happen," James Barnack, the DOT's regional traffic engineer, recently said. ". . . But for a crosswalk, all they would have to do is contact us and we would look into it."