City OKs new truck route plan; more streets off-limit

HAMILTON, Ont. — It’ll be a little harder for trucks to get around the Steel City after council approved a new truck route plan, which bans large commercial vehicles from some roads.

Despite protests from the Ontario Trucking Association and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, the city made last minute changes to the plan that includes keeping trucks (straight trucks and cube vans too) off of Kenilworth Avenue, Upper Ottawa Street, Concession Street and Dundurn Street North for an 18-month trial period.

The Centennial Parkway was also supposed to be included to that list, reports the Hamilton Spectator, but it will remain a truck-approved route until First Road is updated to handle commercial traffic.

The OTA expressed concern when it learned late last month that City Council’s Truck Route Sub-Committee wanted to remove those streets over the recommendations of city staff and a consultant team, which originally drafted the changes.

Geoff Wood, OTA’s VP of Operations and Safety, points out that the original plan by the experts had already excluded trucks from more than 30 streets. The OTA was comfortable with those restrictions — "they did a good job and it came down to a happy medium that addressed the issues of industry and residents," says Wood — but the Sub-Committee added the four additional routes at the last minute.

The OTA says it isn’t entirely sure why city Council went against the recommendations of staff and consultants, but it’s suspected that political interference by NIMBY-types played a big part.

On the bright side, Wood says that keeping Centennial Parkway in the truck route network is a small victory.

Meanwhile, community groups insist the restrictions don’t go far enough and that most of the downtown core should have been declared off-limits to commercial vehicles.

Restocking downtown businesses from of a fleet of Priuses would make for an interesting experiment, though.  

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