Truck traffic diverted to poorer neighbourhoods: Report

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2012/05/03/truck-traffic-diverted-to-poorer-neighbourhoods-report

Residents across the city — including the wealthy — must share the burden of truck traffic, says a scathing report released by a Lowertown community group Thursday.

“It’s not OK to have trucks on certain streets like Island Park Dr., for example, but it’s OK to have trucks on King Edward Ave., on Rideau St.,” said King Edward Task Force chairman Marc Aubin, adding there’s a fair case for classism due to the concentration of trucks.

Policies by the city and the National Capital Commission “indirectly encourage the concentration of the entire region’s inter-provincial truck traffic onto residential streets in less affluent neighbourhoods,” reads the report.

“The vision for the national capital does not include trucks. Unfortunately, this has had the indirect result of diverting trucks onto residential streets in densely populated neighbourhoods.”

The city responded Thursday to the report.

“The city agrees that an alternative inter-provincial truck route needs to be found but this corridor serves a vital role to the movement of people and goods in and around Ottawa today,” said the city’s manager of traffic management Philippe Landry via e-mail, adding “currently, there are no plans to review the truck route road system.”

NCC spokesman Mario Tremblay also made a statement.

“…The NCC parkway network constitutes a small proportion of the overall transportation network in Canada’s capital region, with a corresponding minor impact on the regional accommodation of commercial traffic,” said Tremblay, noting “there is no evidence to support the statement about traffic diversion onto residential streets in less affluent neighbourhoods.”

No More Trucks on King Edward Avenue makes almost a dozen recommendations aimed at controlling truck traffic through the downtown core: using delivery-sized trucks only, banning trucks during peak hours, developing a permit system, banning all trucks carrying dangerous goods, setting strict emissions and safety standards, allowing trucks on more city streets, banning trucks in one direction, opening all bridges to truck traffic, and allowing trucks on NCC parkways.

Aubin hopes the city and NCC are paying attention to the report.

“We’re going to follow up in meetings with the city,” said Aubin.

The NCC likely won’t allow trucks on its scenic routes.

“The parkway network is distinguished from the ordinary municipal roadway system by virtue of design, absence of extensive signage and clutter, uninterrupted mobility, scenic corridors, and emphasis on the experience of the trip,” said Tremblay.

“The prohibition of commercial vehicles is among these valued unique characteristics of parkways and driveways.”

For 47 years, trucks have been using the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge as a temporary route between Ottawa and Gatineau, said Aubin.

“We’ve waited long enough for a bridge,” Aubin said.

The NCC is leading the planning of the inter-provincial bridge crossing environmental assessment study, which began in 2009, said David Salter, spokesman for transportation minister Bob Chiarelli.

The second phase is underway and a new round of public consultations is scheduled this summer.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

@ottawasunkroche

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