DOT will not reconsider commercial vehicle ban on Onondaga Lake Parkway

Low bridge on Onondaga Lake Parkway / file photo

Sen. John DeFrancisco's office says the New York state Department of Transportation will not reconsider a plan to ban all commercial vehicles from the Onondaga Lake Parkway.

On October 5, Sen. DeFrancisco sent a letter to Commissioner of Transportation Joan McDonald asking the DOT to reconsider.

In the letter, he wrote,"That 'solution' makes little sense. The danger sought to be avoided is large vehicles striking a low bridge. To ban all commercial vehicles from the parkway, even those that could not possibly strike the low bridge, such as pick-up trucks, commercial vans, and the like, is overkill, to put it kindly."

Earlier this week, Commissioner McDonald told Sen. DeFrancisco the DOT would not reconsider the plan.

"It's a bad decision, and it's a bad decision not to rescind the bad decision," Sen. DeFrancisco said in a statement today.

Some people who live and work in Liverpool are also concerned about the plan.

Chris Wojtalewski, owner of the Chris' Flowers Etc. in Liverpool, says she doesn't use a commercial vehicle for deliveries, but her vendors do.

"It's going to make Old Liverpool Rd. very congested, especially for all my vendors who deliver flowers to me," says Wojtalewski. "Now they're going to have to go up Old Liverpool Rd, when a lot of them just have a cargo van when generally they'd be able to go up the Parkway, and it's not a height issue."

A spokesperson for the DOT says it's a safety issue, and it didn't make sense to just ban some commercial vehicles. He says the DOT is working on signs right now to alert commercial drivers of the changes, and it's likely the new restrictions will be in effect by the end of the year.

In addition to the commercial vehicle ban, an over-height vehicle detection system is now fully operational on the Onondaga Lake Parkway. The system has laser beams that will detect when a vehicle that is too large is heading toward the parkway bridge. It triggers a flashing message on signs that are set up and alerts Onondaga County 911.

The DOT's new plans are in response to a Megabus crash on September 11, 2010, that killed four people.

Do you agree with the state's decision to implement these new measures? Do you think it would help? Should all commercial vehicles be banned from the Onondaga Lake Parkway? Post your comments below.