Planning Board: County Should Bar Trucks From Some County Roads

BAN THE TRUCKSPlanning Board member Robert Thomas convinced the Planning Board to ask Somerset County to look into banning trucks from some County roads.

In the latest salvo against the widespread development of warehouses and their attendant truck traffic, the Township Planning Board wants Somerset County to disallow the big rigs on all or parts of some County roads.

At the urging of Board member Robert Thomas, the Board passed his motion to have Principal Planner Mark Healey contact the County Engineering Department to request a study of the County roads in Franklin, as well as in Hillsborough and Manville. The effort, the Board decided, should also include Easton Avenue in Franklin, already the subject of a County study.

Thomas also wants the County to allow Franklin to determine what routes truck can use as they travel through the township.

The key to this effort, Thomas said, is that it has to be regional, hence his inclusion of Hillsborough and Manville.

“There’s big-time warehouses and trucking all the time,” he said

Thomas said that towns in Middlesex County are working on such a study, and that Warren County has already de-designated some County roads for truck traffic.

Speaking of Cranbury, Monroe, Jamesburg, South Brunswick and MIddlesex County, Thomas said they are “looking to de-designating parts or whole County roads, looking at streets in the small towns that should not be subject to truck traffic, and they are looking to change the GPS in the National Transportation Network and actually develop routes that they want trucks to take when they’re traveling through their communities.”

“This is what Somerset County should be doing for Franklin, Hillsborough and Manville, at a minimum,” he said. “We can do all we want to do here and say anything at all about development and warehouses, but we cannot do it alone.”

Thomas, who is also the Zoning Board of Adjustment chairman, said he was told that the Planning Board merely had to ask Somerset County officials to do the study.

“I was told that if we ask them, they are open to doing this kind of study … to look at streets, county roads, intersections within those three communities that are being exposed to these warehouse applications,” he said. “But we have to request it.”

“We need a regional approach,” Thomas said. “We can’t get the state to go along with it, but we ought to be able to get Somerset County to do something.”

“I’m tired of hearing that we can’t de-designate County roads,” Thomas said. “They’re doing it in Middlesex County; Warren County de-designated 77 miles of County highways to prevent truck traffic, back in August.”

Healey said that he would call the County’s Director of Planning, Walter Lane, adding that the ask might be more persuasive with a formal resolution from the Board.

Having it as a formal motion of the Board makes it more effective,” he said.

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