OTA weighs in on proposed Thunder Bay truck ban

TORONTO, ON – The Ontario Trucking Association is asking Thunder Bay, Ontario to consider safety zones and photo radar rather than banning truck traffic on several routes.

The comments made in a letter to Mayor Keith Hobbs and city council come as the municipality debates a ban on trucks using routes such as Dawson Road and Arthur Street. A proposed bylaw would require those bypassing Thunder Bay to use Highway 11/17 and 61.

The debate has emerged on and off again over two decades.

“The association would once again like to remind council of the possible unintended safety consequences of such measures and reintroduce a proposed solution that includes community safety zone designations and the use of photo radar,” said Stephen Laskowski, president of the OTA.

The association is also asking whether the proposed truck routes have been built to handle the additional commercial traffic volumes. While some intersections have been improved, there may still need to be signal changes.

“As a road safety partner, we want to avoid at all costs the deterioration of existing safety conditions. The proposed bylaw should not create more safety problems for the public than it resolves,” said Laskowski.

The province’s largest trucking group is also asking for an economic analysis of the bylaw and the proposed truck route.

It isn’t the first time the group has weighed in on the issue. In 2012 it had recommended designating portions of the routes as community safety zones to help control speeds.

“The Ontario Government’s Bill 65, the Safer School Zones Act, will soon allow municipalities to introduce photo radar in community safety zones. Such a measure would not only allow the City of Thunder Bay to lower speeds in the appropriate areas, but enforce these speeds. This would seem to be a good compromise in ensuring that these historic trade routes remain open, while addressing the need of local constituents to slow traffic down in these areas,” said Laskowski.  

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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