Proposed changes to a truck route in Hamilton, Ont. Face opposition from residents and trucking companies as the issue makes its way through the city’s planning process.
A related master plan – placing significant limits on trucks over five axles, as well as travel around the city center – is coming back to staff for further consideration before returning to a subcommittee in March.
The rules would apply to any truck or trailer with a gross vehicle weight greater than 4,500 kg, and vehicles would only be allowed to use the “shortest route” outside the designated truck route during traffic. local deliveries.
“The Hamilton truck route will add an average of 17 km per trip, or about 15 to 20 minutes per day,” said Ontario Trucking Association president Stephen Laskowski, referring to comments from members traveling to the west of Hamilton. “Add time, add kilometers, you add costs…. Extend the journey, we are burning more fuel. We burn more fuel, you create GHGs.
“These are not roads that the trucking industry likes to take because we like to go. It’s because our customers ask us to go there, ”he said.
Laskowski was among dozens of delegations at a Truck Routes subcommittee meeting on November 29, with residents and community groups widely opposing trucks in residential areas – citing concerns about quality of life , emissions and security.
Hamilton recorded 13 truck-related deaths between 2014 and 2018, including six involving pedestrians.
“The Council recently took the bold stand of controlling urban sprawl. How is blocking industrial truck traffic through the rural community compatible with respecting urban sprawl? Asked Tanya De Jager, one of the many locals questioning Nebo Road’s plans.
“We walk past the Amazon building and we couldn’t count the number of truck docks. Is the committee trying to do by turning rural two-lane roads into truck-only roads? “
“You allow operators to use our neighborhoods as shortcuts. Destroy our infrastructure. To pollute our lungs, wake us up from sleep and put our people at risk, ”said resident David Colacci.
Robert Iszkula, representing the Truck Route Reboot Community Group, said he saw no need for the problem to become a “battle” between industry and residents. “What we are asking is that transport trucks requiring highway access to the industrial area and ports be directed only to Nikola Tesla Boulevard and Burlington Street,” he said. “These roads were built for that. Allowing heavy trucks to use our downtown roads is putting too much pressure on them.
“There is simply no other route”
Hugh Loomans, Sylvite’s president and CEO, admits the trucks driving through downtown even drive him crazy.
“There is simply no other route. It’s frustration, ”he said. “As you get into a heavy truck, cross the Lincoln Alexander Parkway, down the Red Hill Valley, back to Burlington and the West Harbor, I think it takes a lot over 15 minutes.”
Bunge North America noted in a written submission that adding 15 to 45 minutes per round trip between Pier 11 and 403 could add $ 20 to transportation costs in each direction.
Challenges have also arisen with plans to further limit the movement of vehicles with more than five axles.
“The introduction of axle restrictions on major connectors in the regional network is a major concern as it unfairly penalizes agricultural users,” said Larissa Fenn, director of public affairs at the Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority.
Rather than taking 12 minutes to cover today’s 7.8 km routes, the proposed restrictions could see trucks travel 26 or 37 km between Pier 10 and the foot of Highway 6, he said. she declared.
“The limitation to five axles effectively eliminates our ability to operate in this area of town or use west / south roads to access freeways in that direction without first taking a more roundabout route east,” said Mark Hebert, National Director of Transportation. at P&H Milling Group.
All but one of its vehicles have more than five axles. And Hebert noted that axle restrictions will also increase congestion and delays around the port.
The problem is not unique to the agriculture-focused fleets that service the terminal.
“Many companies like ours, which primarily haul household products, often use tandem and tridem trailers,” said Steve Foxcroft, vice president of Fluke Transport. “The impact of this additional axle is in no way unfavorable to what we are trying to achieve on the master plan for truck routes. “