Good morning, Islanders.
This is another in a series of weekly morning notes to our subscribers and friends of ACK•Now. Thank you so much for inviting us into your inbox. Today we will give you a preview of the warrant articles ACK•Now filed with the town last week.
ACK•Now, as an organization, has been up and running for just six weeks — not a lot of time. We still have not convened all of our workgroups as of this writing. But despite our status as a fledgling not-for-profit, we did make a conscious decision to add two articles to the town meeting warrant for April 2020. These were two articles that the organization’s leadership felt could make a meaningful impact on the quality of life of island residents.
With the short runway up to the citizens warrant articles deadline, we recognized that these may require some work and tweaking before ATM. But we feel they are a good step forward that underscores the mission and vision of the organization. The actual language of the articles is at the end of this post, for your convenience.
One: A phase-out of gas-powered leaf blowers by Dec 1, 2020.
This article is an attempt to solve two problems. The lesser of the two is the environmental impact of smaller two-stroke engines for both landscapers and the people around them. The second and larger problem is noise. With a growing population on the island, we all need to be more sensitive to the impact our activities have on the rest of the community. Loud hand-held machines like gas-powered leaf blowers represent an unnecessary intrusion into the peace and quiet of a beautiful island and are a health risk to those who must operate them — especially given that better technology currently exists. Battery-powered blowers are powerful, long-lasting and 10-35 dB(A) quieter. ACK•Now will work to help landscapers with outreach to customers about the benefits and potential bylaw change so that customers can understand why there may be a cost pass through.
Two: A pilot program to gather data on commercial deliveries.
Until there is a viable, legal and workable way to limit vehicles on Nantucket, the solution to our traffic and parking problems is a basic one: take turns and share. We can’t all use the roadways of the island at the same time and expect to get where we need to go when we want to get there. So we need to make it possible for some operators to use the road when others are not using it. And vice-versa. To that end, we have filed a warrant article with the town to develop a pilot program to study commercial vehicle deliveries and their impact on traffic and parking. The measure also proposes a shift in delivery times for the largest trucks. The idea here is to use technology to track deliveries and measure times, locations and the impact those deliveries have on traffic. We are currently looking at various tech vendors to capture that data and happily, there are several good options from which to choose. Bottom line: the data in this area is nearly non-existent and if we are going to make any progress in making downtown accessible for everyone, we need the data. (And we plan to share the data with everyone.) ACK•Now will fund the pilot program and work out the logistics between now and town meeting so that it is equitable to all. Plus we’ll be engaging with both businesses and delivery companies to make sure the ultimate solution is workable.
We did not expect everyone to embrace these measures right away, but the folks we have talked to have been supportive and enthusiastic. We welcome questions and comments. Check out the article language below.
And have a great Monday.
2020 Spring Town Meeting
To see if the Town will vote to amend the Town of Nantucket Noise Bylaw in the following manner: Amend Section 101-2 of the Town’s Code of Bylaws to prohibit, on a Town-wide basis commencing on December 1, 2020, the use of gas-powered leaf blowers at all times of the day on all days of the year, by any commercial landscaper, commercial landscape company, or other entity engaged in the business of providing home and yard repair, clean-up, and maintenance services for a fee; or take any other action on the matter.
Explanation: Complaints regarding gas-powered leaf blowers by property owners and gardening contractors have been increasing as the use of these tools has also increased. The environmental impact of such gas-powered equipment has also become a growing concern. Finally, it appears that some local commercial landscaping companies have already adopted battery-powered leaf blowers as an effective alternative with much-reduced noise levels.
2020 Spring Town Meeting
To see if the Town will vote to direct the Select Board, as part of its administration of the Town’s public ways pursuant to Article 200 of the Town’s Code of Bylaws (the “Traffic Rules and Regulations”), to develop a pilot program between June 15, 2020, and September 15, 2020, for (a) tracking the level of compliance of certain Heavy Commercial Vehicles, as defined in the Traffic Rules and Regulations, with a vehicle body length exceeding twenty-one (21) feet (“Large HCVs”) with the Town’s Noise Bylaw; and (b) adjusting the hours of delivery by Large HCVs to the downtown core district to between 5:00 am to 10:00 am and 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm during such period for the purposes of reducing traffic congestion and gathering more granular data than is currently available on time of day, size and weight of vehicle, type of commercial use, and access locations of Large HCVs on the Town’s public ways within the downtown core district with the purpose of considering further regulation of the size of such vehicles permitted on said public ways (or a subset thereof), which public ways may be so accessed, in which areas, and during which hours; or take any other action on the matter.
Explanation: There has been a noticeable increase in commercial deliveries, especially from the largest heavy commercial vehicles, delivering in the downtown core district. ACKNow volunteers its time and resources working with the Town to put together the requisite analytical framework by collaborating with businesses and commercial delivery companies to put a pilot program in place for the summer of 2020, including adjusting delivery times for the largest heavy commercial vehicles in the downtown core district and identifying measurable factors that will determine the success of the pilot program and whether it should be permanently implemented. This pilot project is an opportunity to learn about one aspect of congestion and inform a long-term strategy to help alleviate commercial traffic in the island’s downtown core district.
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