Transportation

Transport Truck Loses Trailer on Urban Expressway

By Jason Leach
Published March 19, 2009

Ah, maybe this is why other cities have trucks use freeways instead of destroying urban neighbourhoods with pseudo-highways:

St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church was spared today after a trailer broke free from a truck and ended up on the church's side lawn.

The bizarre accident happened near the corner of Victoria Avenue and Main Street East at around 2:30 p.m.

I always thought it was because those cities valued street life. Granted, it's tough to have vibrant street life with the constant threat of being flattened by a transport truck looming.

slaps forehead

Oh well, at least nobody was hurt. No kidding - nobody is walking on Main Street unless they absolutely have to.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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By C'Mon (anonymous) | Posted March 19, 2009 at 22:04:39

This could have happened on a two-way road, this was an accident not exclusive to one way roads. Stick to a smart argument for a two way conversion, not one based on convenience and rhetoric.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 19, 2009 at 22:17:50

hmmm, let's see. Since I've lived downtown I've personally witnessed 3 trailers fly off and end up on city sidewalks on our lower city 'freeways'. A year or two ago, the BMO at Bay/Main was smashed up by rolling steel coils off the back of a transport. Of course this COULD happen on any street, but the fact is, it shouldn't even be possible on these downtown streets. The trucks should be signed to use our freeway network. Other than the expected sprawl, we were always told by city hall that Red Hill would finally allow all these shortcutting trucks on Cannon/Main etc.... to get out of downtown. Big surprise, nothing has changed. I was walking along York and had I been 2 blocks ahead of where I was, would have been squished like a pancake by one of these things. We have more than enough highways now. It's time to take back our downtown streets for commerce, people, business, vibrancy and livability.

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By omro (registered) | Posted March 20, 2009 at 04:17:54

Are there any cities which have by-laws or enforcement to prevent vehicles over a certain size from using certain roads which could be applied in this instance?

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By BE (anonymous) | Posted March 20, 2009 at 09:15:23

Yes. That would be every other city in Canada.

I think there is only one sign in the core that directs trucks to use an alternate route. It's just North of where this accident was. Trucks are prevented from turner left onto King St. and traveling West to get to the Hwy 403. They must take Cannon St instead.

That's the only truck route that I can think of.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted March 20, 2009 at 09:18:13

Omro, the city does have bylaws which prevent trucks from using certain streets and roads, you see the signs occassionally.

I often wonder where they start from, and where these trucks start, and where they end up going. It's a relevant question to determine whether or not we can encourage them to use other roads, and which other roads would be most appropriate.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 20, 2009 at 09:52:10

I don't want to sound like I'm harping, but living where I do this is a constant problem. I've made it a pet project of mine over the years. A few points to clarify and answer some of the above questions:

  1. Yes, truck routes are common everywhere. Hamilton's only truck restriction downtown is on King from Welling to Queen. From Queen to the 403 it's just as bad as Main and York.
  2. I've personally followed trucks on occasion over the years just to see where they are going. The vast majority are headed to the NE industrial district. In fact, of all the trucks I've followed (I know it's not very scientific, but it's my only choice considering the lack of care at city hall) I've never seen one end it's destination west of Sherman. Most went much further east, some all the way to Eastport Dr, right next to the QEW!.
  3. We were told during Red Hill/Linc construction that we'd finally be able to retool the truck routes to get them off downtown residential and commercial streets.
  4. To the first poster who said this could easily have happened on a two-way. I'm not so sure. I've sat at Victoria and Main and watched these guys turn. They fly around that corner into the far left lane on Main. If Main was two way, they'd need to slow right down and make a very slow, safe turn in order to keep to the right on Main. A trailer wouldn't have enough speed to come off and start rambling towards buildings and people if this turn was being made onto a two-way.
  5. Think of great places you've visited - Byward Market, Ottawa. Quincey Market, Boston. Old Montreal. Hess Village, Hamilton. Gastown, Vancouver. And of course any number of towns and cities in Europe. Imagine turning those places into 4-5 lane, one-way freeways with timed lights and non-stop transport trucks. That's what we've done here. There is no reason why any trucks headed to our industrial area can't use the Linc/Red Hill/Burlington St, or 403/QEW/Burlington St. I have a friend who drives truck and he says Hamilton is the only city they shortcut through. They wouldn't dream of doing it in TO or London or Ottawa. I asked him why. He responded "all those one-way streets and timed lights".
  6. Please email your councilor and the mayor about this huge safety issue. The Chamber of Commerce is pretty much useless as they'll never support anything that involves improving the livability and business success in Hamilton if it means redirecting traffic or some basic traffic calming. But council is worth contacting. They should have a vested interest in making Hamilton a great place to live and do business in.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted March 20, 2009 at 12:26:07

The neighbourhood associations of the affected neighbourhoods (and BIA's) need to make this issue a top priority. Here in Westdale, our neighbourhood association, working with our councillor, was able to put a stop to Mac's heavy construction vehicles using our narrow residential sidestreets. The fact that the King St. truck route didn't conform to the city's current truck route standards even though it was still technically legal helped the case, but it was still a huge battle because of Mac's enormous clout.

By all means email your councillors, but this issue will take a very concerted and united effort on behalf of the affected neighbourhoods and BIA's. It's an important step in reclaiming our streets as public spaces.

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By sickofcannontrucktraffic (anonymous) | Posted March 20, 2009 at 13:34:17


I can honestly say that heavy industrial trucks have no place on city streets.

The actual streets can't handle them. They all drive way too fast to "beat" the lights. They add nothing to our city. Someone one day will get seriously hurt.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted March 20, 2009 at 17:44:40

The argument most likely to get attention is how much extra money the city has to throw away in order to maintain the roads as heavy trucks have a significantly higher impact on road wear. Limiting trucking to a few corridors would allow the city to focus on upgrading the structure of those few streets and having lower maintainance costs in the long run.

http://pavementinteractive.org/index.php...

The estimated damage from heavy traffic is the ratio of vehicle weights to the power of four (so a 5 tonne truck will do about 625 times more damage to the road than a 1 tonne car).

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By LL (registered) - website | Posted March 21, 2009 at 00:35:06

Earth to city hall: are you listening?

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By Mikeee (anonymous) | Posted March 21, 2009 at 19:28:10

Let's see this is a working city, for the most part. Therefore transportation routes are needed. The last I heard Victoria Ave. was a main thoroughfare through this city. If we want to have jobs in this city we are going to have truck traffic. Expressways around and through the city help alleviate some of the problems but they do not always take the trucks where they need to go. Not all streets can be pedestrian friendly.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 21, 2009 at 23:53:15

yea, Hamilton should calm down. We have way too many pedestrian friendly streets in this city. It's pure gridlock.

Thank goodness we have all these one-way expressways or our economy wouldn't have been such a tremendously booming success story over the past 4 decades. I'm sure our economy is the envy of Canada.

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By Mikeee (anonymous) | Posted March 22, 2009 at 14:12:02

Get real, 99% of the streets in this city are already 2 way, so using your criterion they are pedestrian friendly. Wellington and Victoria are always going to be 1 way just because the way they are configured at the base of the escarpment. Not all streets have to be pedestrian friendly.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 22, 2009 at 14:18:52

using 'my criterion' or that of any urban design group on earth, I'd say that the list of pedestrian-friendly streets in Hamilton (we're talking main streets here) is very short:

Locke, James, John, King (Westdale and International Village only), Ottawa North, Concession, Barton (from James-Gage only).

That sounds like about 2-5% of the streets in Hamilton.

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