(THUNDER BAY, ON) – 🌿Last night, shortly after midnight City Council voted to implement the Designated Truck Route Plan that would prohibit cross country transport trucks from using Arthur St. and Dawson Road. Trucks would be required to utilize the Harbour Extension(11/17) for thru traffic.
✔️I voted in favour of the DTR and here’s why:
🔹For starters, up til now the THUNDER BAY EXPRESSWAY has never been a real highway. By having the ‘bypasses’(Dawson Rd & Arthur St) we have been able to adopt it as primarily residential infrastructure. But it comes at a great cost, city neighbourhoods.
🔸COUNTY PARK/JUMBO GARDENS and ARTHUR ST. WEST is Thunder Bay proper. They are both high density residential areas with thousands of THUNDER BAY RESIDENTS. They have been enduring the transport truck congestion quietly for years. It is true that these roadways are long established truck-routes but to envision a CITY ON THE RISE it is important to assess and respond to infrastructure/safety issues as they arise. In this case, the facts speak for themselves.
🔹The HARBOUR EXTENSION has capacity. It is indisputable. It also has minimal driveways and good site lines throughout the route. This stretch of highway, though not perfect is engineered for long haul trucks; broad shoulders, wider lanes. The main concern for Council was how do we get the trucks there.
🔸The three sets of TRAFFIC LIGHTS(Oliver/John/Red River Rd) on the Expressway have been our biggest concern. However, these intersections are equipped with ‘advanced detection technology’ that maximizes safety for all vehicle traffic. I was sceptical at first but evidence has shown that they work. Our plan needs to consider both Expressway drivers and the community at-large. It is safe to say that the addition of these trucks to the TBE will mean more congestion. Drivers will have to remain attentive, calibrate their routes and share the road. It is not an impossible task. In the meantime, we add two more safe and livable neighbourhoods to our City profile.
🔹KAKABEKA FALLS is our strategic partner and ally. They will definitely see more traffic as a result of this decision. Being concerned about this I contacted the MTO and was assured that given new data their town council can apply for and initiate their own community safety plan, which could include traffic lights, crosswalks or other traffic calming infrastructure.
🔸The DESIGNATED TRUCK ROUTE means change. Commuters will have to adjust slightly but in doing a safety cost-benefit analysis the DTR is a win for Thunder Bay. If it falters we can make adjustments or cancel the plan entirely. We are not installing million dollar infrastructure. We are printing a few signs and doing some basic enforcement.
🔹This implementation will be CLOSELY MONITORED by every level of government. It will be an organic process in traffic flow management. We will be responsive, attentive and ACCOUNTABLE.
🔸City Council, traffic engineers and the dozens of experts that have looked at this will be riding these highways too. If it does not work it CAN BE UNDONE but after ten years of intensive research and consultation, we have to try.
Thank you for your continued support and please feel free to contact me about this issue or any other WARD ISSUES @ firstname.lastname@example.org OR telephone 251-2551.
By Brian Hamilton, City Councillor