Skoufis Access Route Letter | Traffic | Road Transport

ALBANY OFFICE: Room 821, Legislative Office Building, Albany, New York 12248 • 518-455-5441 • FAX

: 518-455-5884
DISTRICT OFFICE: 11 Main Street, Chester, New York 10918 • 845-469-6929 • FAX: 845-469-0914


Member of Assembly

July 23, 2014

Mr. William Gorton, PE
Acting Regional Director
NYS Department of Transportation Region 8
4 Burnett Boulevard
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

Dear Mr. Gorton:

Thank you for your office’s assistance in researching the regulations pertaining to truck
access route designation in New York State. Since reviewing the documents received via
email on July 8, 2014, and since discussing the matter with local elected officials, I am
formally requesting a review to de-designate Route 17 (Thruway Exit 15A to Woodbury) and
Route 32 (Woodbury to New Windsor) as access routes.

As you know, many northward-bound trucks with 48” x 102” trailers – the state standard –
get off the Thruway at Exit 15A (Sloatsburg/Suffern) to avoid the toll plaza in Harriman.
These trucks then travel up Routes 17 and 32 only to return to the Thruway at the Newburgh
entry. Many trucks traveling south do the reverse. While I understand safety is the only
factor the Department of Transportation (DOT) considers when de-designating an access
route, I would like to point out a number of other important concerns:

 Filling pot holes and other maintenance becomes increasingly necessary with significant
truck traffic on Routes 17 and 32, causing damage to the cars of area residents and
costing the state significant resources.

 Congestion is already a tremendous issue all along Routes 17 and 32 and trucks that
should be staying on the Thruway needlessly contribute to the traffic.

 Many community downtowns are located along Routes 17 and 32 including, but not
limited to, Sloatsburg, Woodbury, and New Windsor. With constant truck traffic, many
types of economic development are not possible (e.g. outdoor cafes or restaurants).

 Truck noise has an impact on property values located along Routes 17 and 32.
Consumer Affairs and Protection
ALBANY OFFICE: Room 821, Legislative Office Building, Albany, New York 12248 • 518-455-5441 • FAX: 518-455-5884
DISTRICT OFFICE: 11 Main Street, Chester, New York 10918 • 845-469-6929 • FAX: 845-469-0914

 Not only is the state paying for increased maintenance on Routes 17 and 32 but it is also
losing revenue at the Harriman toll plaza.

Most important and most relevant to de-designation, this classification of Routes 17 and 32
is a clear safety hazard. In a July 1, 1991, DOT memorandum as well as a subsequent
memorandum explaining the qualifications of an access route, it is specifically stated that an
access route must have lanes no less than ten feet wide. As you can see from the enclosed
letter from Sloatsburg Mayor Carl Wright, who I recently had measure the lanes in his
village, there are many areas of Route 17 where lanes are considerably less than ten feet
wide. This is an apparent violation of Federal Highway Administration and New York State
access route regulations and should warrant the de-designation of these roads.

There are also many crosswalks, school bus stops, and significant pedestrian activity along
Routes 17 and 32, none of which should be subjected to constant truck traffic. Furthermore,
given the aforementioned activity along some areas of the roads, I believe trucks carrying
hazardous materials pose a real danger to my constituents should there be an accident. All
of the above safety hazards are compounded by “off-tracking” of trucks around turns along
the two routes.

In addition to the enclosed letter of support from Sloatsburg Mayor Carl Wright, the following
affected local elected officials in the 99th Assembly District support de-designation of access
route status: Cornwall Supervisor Randy Clark, New Windsor Supervisor George Green,
Woodbury Town Supervisor John Burke, and Woodbury Village Mayor Michael Queenan.
We strongly believe that, except for local deliveries, trucks should be kept on the Thruway
where they belong and that our communities not be subjected to the many, significant
negative repercussions explained in this letter – all to avoid, at most, a $5.75 toll.

Thank you very much for your attention to this important matter and I ask that you please
keep me apprised of the process and review moving forward.


James Skoufis
Member of Assembly

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