With over 3,000 votes, the results of a Boston Herald web poll this week were decisively in favor of prohibiting hazmat trucks from Boston. The final results were 71% supporting a ban and 29% voting in favor of the truckers. These web polls are far from scientific, but this was a notable end result given the dramatic turnaround during the two-day voting period.
When the first 1,000 votes were counted, the poll showed over 70% in favor of the trucking industry, the exact opposite of the final result. This initial response was likely due to the promotion of the poll by the the Mass. Motor Transportation Association (MMTA). This trucking lobbying group sent out mass emails and placed the poll link on the top of its website (since removed).
In response to the trucking lobby’s efforts, NorthEndWaterfront.com sent out a special email notice from the North End / Waterfront HazMat Task Force to our e-newsletter subscribers in the middle of the polling period. Other North End / Waterfront and downtown Boston groups, residents and businesses also passed on the poll link. Eventually, the community response overwhelmed the trucking lobby in the poll.
Also this week, the Boston Globe editorial page published a piece supporting the ban:
EACH DAY, about 300 trucks with hazardous payloads including gas, diesel fuel, and heating oil use Boston streets as shortcuts to Interstate 93, according to city transportation officials. That poses unnecessary risks to densely populated neighborhoods, especially the North End and Charlestown. Trucks containing hazardous materials should have no business on Boston’s streets unless they are making local pickups or deliveries. (Read more)
While the public safety analysis should ultimately be the deciding factor for routing, it is always important to gauge public sentiment. In this case, it appears the public and the media strongly support the proposed ban of pass-through hazmat trucks from downtown Boston.
Public comments are still being accepted by State officials. The North End / Waterfront HazMat Task Force encourages all Boston residents and businesses to email firstname.lastname@example.org in support of the proposed ban of pass-through hazmat trucks in downtown Boston.