Hamilton truck route changes clear first hurdle

Verificient Technologies has selected Hamilton as home to its Canadian headquarters. Global News

A step has been taken toward stopping the movement of heavy trucks through downtown Hamilton and surrounding neighbourhoods.

Members of the city’s truck route subcommittee are unanimously supporting a “ring road” concept that would ban trucks larger than four axles from downtown streets, like Cannon, Barton, Main and King, except when making local deliveries.

Instead, trucks heading to and from the industrial bayfront would be required to use Burlington Street to access the local highway network, including the QEW, Highway 403, the Red Hill Valley Parkway and Lincoln Alexander Expressway.

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Wellington Street resident Leah Avery delegated in support of the move, which she says is about
putting vulnerable Hamiltonians ahead of the industrial profits.

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“Right now, living downtown means cycling next to a giant transport truck because they don’t want to add eight minutes to their route,” says Avery. “It means babies being woken up at all times of the day and night because giant trucks are barrelling past their nursery in residential areas.”

Robert Izkula, representing the group Truck Route Reboot Hamilton, is also supportive of the change, however, he worries that “it relies on enforcement for compliance, which has in the past proven to be ineffective.”

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The most significant opposition to the restrictions is from agri-food industries on the western end of the industrial bayfront, whose trucks would no longer be able to cut through the city core to reach Highway 403 and southwestern Ontario, adding distance and time to their shipments.

Larissa Fenn, representing the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority, warns that eliminating those in-city routes could create other problems, including “a chill on investment, disruption of supply chains.”

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“There is no ideal solution that’s optimal for everyone,” acknowledges Fenn, “so we have to find ways to successfully share the road.”

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The public works committee, and ultimately Hamilton city council, must still approve the changes.

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