News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 13, 2012

Shaky business: Downtown entrepreneurs say no notice given on ‘shaker truck’ activity

Lisa Trigg
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Downtown Terre Haute has a “whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on” this weekend.

The vibrations come from a “shaker truck” taking seismic readings of the ground to map what lies beneath the downtown and campus of Indiana State University.

Friday saw the start of the testing on Poplar Street as a white truck moved a few feet at a time along the south side of the road, sending vibrations into the earth while coils stuck into the soil sent the information to a remote sensing truck.

The vibrations were barely noticeable to motorists traveling the street, but the tremblors were quite evident in some buildings along the route.

“I went outside and I said, ‘Look, I own a glass shop,’ and I said, ‘If you break it, you can buy it,” Amber Glass owner Amber Smith said Friday afternoon after the shaking stopped. “They were just rattling everything in here.”

On down the street, the vibrations caused Harold Foster at Headstone Friends to open the store’s front door and see what the shaking was about.

“We didn’t get no notice they were gonna do it,” Foster said.

Wabash Avenue is the target for today’s testing. From Third to 14th streets, the city has posted signs along the south side curb warning of “no parking” during daylight hours so the shaker truck can pass through downtown. The testing could continue Sunday along Wabash, and is expected to run north along Seventh Street through campus.

Some businesses along the south side of Wabash were taken by surprise by the seismic testing.

Photographer Mic Orman at Mic’s Pics in the 600 block of Wabash said he had no idea the parking would be restricted today.

“Does President Obama know they’re drilling for oil here?”

“I was planning for my best weekend ever,” he said. “So if I don’t have it, are they gonna compensate me for my losses?”

But joking aside, he asked how ISU could get permission to check for oil fields on land it does not own, and he questioned how the city could decide to restrict parking, when no one can decide to re-stripe the on-street parking spaces.

Next door at River Wools, Martha Crossen said that parking downtown is always an issue for merchants, and she would have liked some notice about the parking restrictions because she would have sent notifications to her customers.

“I first learned about it in the newspaper [Friday’s Tribune-Star],” she said.

Jessica Aden at Lynn’s Boutique said the business had not been notified about the seismic testing or parking restrictions, either. At Boo’s Crossroads Cafe, owner Boo Lloyd said she learned about the parking restrictions on Friday when an employee noticed the signs along Wabash Avenue.

Lloyd said she didn’t think the restriction would hurt business during the daytime on Saturday, but there is a lot of on-street parking on weekend evenings.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at (812) 231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.