Hilldale enacts anti-idling rules

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

From an article by Deidre Green in The Capital Times:

Hilldale Shopping Center is the first mall in Wisconsin, and one of the first in the nation, with anti-idling rules for trucks.

Tim Metcalfe, co-owner of Metcalfe’s Sentry at Hilldale, heard about the amount of waste diesel trucks emit while idling, and decided to do something about it. He led a campaign to prevent idling trucks from spewing smog.

“Outside of Metcalfe’s Sentry alone, we had trucks idling for a combined 15 hours every day. By simply requiring them to turn off their gas, we’re basically preventing nearly 110,000 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere yearly,” Metcalfe said in a press statement.

The group lobbying for restrictions on unnecessary idling is hosting a press conference at Metcalfe’s Sentry on Tuesday at 2 p.m. to report the amount of fuel the rule will conserve once it goes into effect.


thereyago said...

As an owner/operator of a semi truck I read with interest the article on anti idling at Hilldale. I found that the use of a picture of a different facility to be quite deceptive to the impact of Mr Metcalf's rules about idling. I also found the stenography on display to be an example of bad journalism. Just because Mr Hulsey says "Studies show that premature deaths from air pollution outnumber murders" does not make it true. In the larger sense this article failed to examine why trucks are idling at this location in the first place. I also found the portrayal of the idling bans to indicate a lack of research on the part of the reporter. Wal-Mart has had idling bans nationwide for years. The difference is that Wal-mart invested in outfitting every truck in their fleet with APUs. This led to a dramatic cost decrease in the units, better service and a monumental shift in perception of this technology.

It maybe comforting for local politicians and business leaders to think that an authoritarian approach is the best solution but as a professional driver I don't think that the enforcement of other idling bans such as the statewide bans in California, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York have been particularly effective. The local officials, Mr Metcalf and the reporter portray this story as an example of leadership though the costs and discomforts of this type of legislation fall on the weakest and smallest fish in the food chain, the driver. I think that Mr Metcalf, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Department of Natural Resources, as well as Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Dane County Board Supervisor Brett Hulsey should look in the mirror and take some realistic steps to acknowledge the moves the state has taken on this issue as well as make some proactive steps that would be more effective and far reaching for the environment and spread the costs.

In a more liberal approach Mr Metcalf should examine and figure out why trucks have to be idling for so long at his facility. I think that the state, county and business leaders that care about this should be publicizing the existing money and grants available for Auxiliary Power Units on semi trucks that allow drivers to be rested without idling the truck. It is grandstanding to pretend that other officials have not addressed this issue. I also think that if they really care about the environment they should put their money where their mouth is and reward the companies and owner operators who invest the 8000 to 10000 dollars to have these systems on their vehicles. The best way I can think of that would reap benefits for years both in noise pollution and carbon without compromising driver comfort and safety would be to give priority in contracts to the drivers and companies that have APUs. I think that Mr Metcalf, the state and people in general expect to get something for nothing with this legislation and they should be willing to pay by giving business to the companies and drivers who also care about the environment instead of playing wack a mole sending police to harass professional drivers that transport our goods nationwide.