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Lockport may limit trucks in city; Revisiting concept of alternate routes

After a break of several years, city officials again are discussing the notion of rerouting big trucks off city streets.

But Mayor Michael W. Tucker acknowledged: "I don't know where they'd go."

In the 1990s, the Lockport Bypass shifted Route 93 out of the city and relieved some of the north-south truck traffic. But Route 31, an east-west route, continues to run right through the city center.

The talk was triggered by constituents who live on East Avenue, part of Route 31, and by several unusually large trucks that hauled enormous tanks and pipes through the city last week, Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said.

When East Avenue was repaved, the city discovered that even though it's part of Route 31, East Avenue is not a state arterial road, Ottaviano said.

"Technically, this is our road. We could put weight limits on it," Ottaviano said.

Alderman Kenneth M. Genewick, R-5th Ward, said he sought a truck traffic study from the University at Buffalo Engineering School last year.

However, UB replied that the city lacked enough data on truck traffic volumes, which would be needed to file a report on where the new truck route should be.

"It's very preliminary, if and what alterations there may be," Genewick said.

Ottaviano said the story of trying to change truck routes isn't new.

"It started during the [Mayor Thomas C.] Sullivan administration," Ottaviano said.

He sat on an exploratory committee, and then-Police Traffic Capt. Thomas W. Fiegl suggested some new routes.

"We got so far as to get an engineering firm," Ottaviano said. "I don't know why, but it just kind of stalled."

"We would like to take the truck traffic out of the city," Tucker said. "We wouldn't do that without talking to the town [of Lockport]," Tucker said. "The city roads are just narrower than the town roads."

Another Route 31-related issue is the practice by some truck drivers of cutting off West Avenue onto Ohio Street via Crosby Avenue, a short residential street."

"We need to put a stop to that," Tucker said.