You are on page 1of 18

Northampton Police Department Sergeants Office

The truck traffic in and around the area of Day/Bates Ave has been an ongoing issue for some time. This memo is based on my experience of enforcement and patrol in the area, as well as my understanding of measures taken in the past lead me to believe that there are two issues which are present that contribute to this problem. I believe that at least one of these issues can be addressed and would result in a reduction of truck traffic on Bates and Day Ave and also reduce many of the West bound bridge strikes to the railroad overpass at Main St and Market St. The first issue that is present that I do not believe can be changed, is the truck operators use of GPS direction devices. I have found that truck drivers delivering to the Coke plant do not draw this route with any consistency. Of all the drivers that I have stopped and talked with, this is the first time that they have drawn this route. This makes contacting the delivery source and having them warn the drivers ineffective. All of the truck operators that I stopped who were on Day Ave told me the same thing. They enter the address into their GPS devices at the beginning of their trip and follow the directions as instructed. I tested this theory. Entering Rt91 south of Northampton, I entered the address for the Coke plant in four separate GPS units made by three different GPS manufactures, a Tom-Tom, Garmin and a Magellan. Three of the units were newer than one year old. One of the Gamin units is several years old. All three of these units directed me to exit Rt 91 northbound at exit 19. They then directed me to make a left hand turn at the bottom on the ramp onto Rt 9 west. All four directed me to make right hand turn onto Day Ave and travel to the stop sign located at the intersection of Bates St then to make a right hand turn into

29 Center Street Northampton Massachusetts 01060

the Coke driveway. From the Bates/Day intersection, vehicles would be traveling in a westerly direction. It should be noted that Coke designed their driveway so that it is only accessible if the vehicle is traveling easterly. Realizing this, truck operators continue into the traffic circle and return to the drive and enter. I DO NOT believe that the GPS issue can be corrected. GPS cant know what type of vehicle it is riding in while giving directions. I believe that the best solution is better signage for the drivers. Signage could be posted in strategic locations that are both visible, and informative enough to draw the drivers attention and alert them to both the danger and the correct route. I have included images that assist in understanding the issue.

Image number 1 is taken on Rt 91 Northbound at mile marker 24.4. This is just prior to exit 19 which can be seen in the background. Possible solution A sign here indicating NO LEFT TURN for coke traffic or trucks over 13 in height at the base of the ramp

Image number 2 is taken on exit 19 near the top where the 11 sign is posted. Possible solution This sign should be more conspicuous and be clearer regarding the danger of trucks over 13 making the left onto Rt 9/Bridge St as well as the proper route for deliveries to Coke. It should indicate damage to drivers and alert them to continue straight at the base of the ramp. Images number3 through 7 are of the sign that is posted on the far side of the exit 19 ramp on the opposite side of the intersection. The Coke sign is less than one square foot in size. The blue sign above it indicates that industrial drive is straight ahead. Possible solution enlarge these signs and move them back into the shoulder of the ramp or onto the island at the base.

Page 2

Images number 3 and 6 display that regular vehicle traffic obscures this undersized indicator of the proper truck route. By the time that large trucks are able to see this sign and read it, they have already committed to a left hand turn and would severely disrupt traffic to change directions and continue straight onto Damon Rd. Possible solution see above Image number 8 in the low bridge warning on Rt 9 west/Bridge St directly after making the left hand turn from Exit 19. Images number 9 and 10 are taken on Rt 9/Bridge Street eastbound in the area of Clinton St with Day Ave in the distance. In image #9, the NO TRUCK sign is obscured behind green park and ride sign. Image number10 the NO TRUCK sign is small and barely visible as its posted AFTER Day Ave as indicated by the white compact vehicle exiting on Day Ave. Possible solution The sign should be more viable and placed on Rt 9/Bridge St BEFORE Day Ave Image number 11 is taken from the same location with the camera zoomed to the maximum showing the NO TRUCK sign as well as the park and ride sign that obscures it. Image number 12 Is taken from Rt9/Bridge St looking down (westerly) onto Day Ave. Truck tires and damage caused by them are visible on the curb and grass. The hedge on the right hand side of the photo, obscures the NO TRUCK sign which has been bent by a truck attempting to make the right hand corner. Possible solution placing the truck warning sign onto Rt 9/Bridge St where it would be possible to warn drivers before they have committed to the turn. Image number 13 the with sign attached to the lower portion of the utility pole is a warning of the low overpass ahead on Main St. Image number 14 is taken on Bates St looking easterly with the Coke driveway to the left. There is a NO TRUCK sign posted just past Bradford St.
Page 3

The same size and type signs that indicate Coca cola and Industrial Dr at the intersection of Damon Rd and Rt 9 are also posted on the Western side of Industrial Dr. The location of this sign is difficult to see until the driver has past the entrance to the industrial park.

Respectfully submitted

Sgt RJPowers Traffic Sergeant Northampton Police Department

Page 4