Hamilton truck route plan to face more study as industry, advocates lock horns

A stalemate continues between industry and safe streets advocates as it relates to the movement of goods through Hamilton’s lower city.

The city’s truck route subcommittee has spent several hours listening to delegations in regards to proposed changes to the truck route master plan.

Ultimately, councillors voted Monday to send the plan back to staff for further study and to ensure that it aligns with Vision Zero, a strategy that aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

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A consultant’s recommendations, brought forward and debated by the subcommittee on Monday, would have banned the heaviest of rigs from some residential areas in a bid to balance economic interests with quality of life.

The recommendations would not have prohibited transport trucks from cutting through the downtown core, on streets like Wellington, Victoria, Cannon and Queen, as a means of travelling between Highway 403 and the city’s industrial bayfront.

“Residents will accept an outcome if they believe that the process was in keeping with the principles set out,” said Ward 1 Coun. Maureen Wilson. “They may not always like the outcome, but they deem it to be valid, and I think therein lies the challenge.”

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Safe streets advocates have been arguing for changes that would require trucks, heading into and out of the industrial bayfront, to use the Burlington Street corridor to access the QEW and Red Hill Valley Parkway, and ultimately the 403 and Highway 6.

They include Environment Hamilton’s Linda Lukasik, who describes tractor-trailers on downtown streets as “the elephant in the room.”

“How can we build a climate-resilient, inclusive Hamilton under these circumstances?” Lukasik noted. “How can we build the complete communities we have committed to build, with council’s really important decision to keep our urban boundary firm?”

Trucking companies and industry argued against forcing them to use the Burlington Street corridor to access the highway network that rings the city.

“In a time of rising inflation,” said Stephen Laskowski of the Ontario Trucking Association, “the City of Hamilton is establishing a truck route that will add cost, travel time, added GHG emissions.”

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Several residents with homes along Dickenson Road East in Glanbrook also appeared before the truck route subcommittee on Monday, calling on the city to prioritize the construction of a road to link Hamilton’s busy cargo airport with the Red Hill Valley Parkway.

They say an increase in truck traffic on rural roads across the south mountain has created a dangerous scenario.

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