Transportation

Make King West a Truck Route: McMaster

By Jason Leach
Published September 25, 2007

If you live downtown, pay attention to this unfolding story.

McMaster University wants a truck route along King West through Westdale Village to the school's Sterling St. entrance. This route also passes through the George R. Allan School street crossing.

The current language in the by-law regarding King West designates this street as a truck route. Local residents and organizations are pushing Council to revise the by-law to restrict trucks to Main St W. and Cootes Dr.

This is a huge issue for urban residents in Hamilton. In my neighbourhood this is by far the most talked-about issue that faces us each and every day ­ trucks that should be on highways are roaring past homes, schools, parks and shops.

Many in the Strathcona neighbourhood and others nearby, are planning to organize to have Cannon/York/Main/King designated for local deliveries only. Right now it is common to see transport trucks from the far northeastern reaches of our industrial core traveling on Queen, York, Dundurn, King and Main Streets.

The opening of the Red Hill Expressway will provide a ring around the city for trucks to use.

I find it a little scary that residents are being forced to push this hard in Westdale to stop King West beintg designated a truck route.

This is some of the most prime real estate in Hamilton with some of our most exclusive neighbourhoods. If council allows trucks to roar through this area, the lower income areas downtown have no hope of seeing our antiquated truck routes changed.

I've been to many cities and Hamilton is the only one that allows industrial truck traffic to fly past our downtown market, library, commercial streets and residential neighbourhoods.

Timed lights, one-way streets and an insane amount of extra lane capacity are the main reasons truckers continue to use our downtown core as their highway.

Tomorrow's vote should be a no-brainer, but either way it will carry huge ramifications for other neighbourhoods looking to address this issue.

Stay tuned. There is certainly more to come on this.

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 peter (anonymous) | Posted September 25, 2007 at 21:13:49

welcome to the hammer! i walk cannon and york everyday and it's one 18-wheeler after another. please do the right thing...for once!

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 25, 2007 at 22:23:13

we re-arrange our pictures every month and make sure mirrors are fastened properly on the walls....and we live 2 houses in from York. I can't imagine living right on York or Cannon. This city is still acting like it's 1950.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted September 26, 2007 at 10:38:08

I think it'd be killer to take the four lane plus race track we call York/Wilson, and turn it into a one lane each way with boulevards and a nice centre median...parking areas and some decent looking buildings alongside the road. Anyone know what the life span for businesses along York is? They even look gross. I can't wait til the Red Hill is done and Centennial gets less traffic. Maybe we can do something to make it a much nicer road once that's done. Anyone know of any plans for it?

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted September 26, 2007 at 12:04:02

Do you really think a highway like Red Hill causes a road like Centennial to get less traffic? Makes sense, but empirically wrong. The decrease lasts only a few years, then induced traffic fills the gap.

This is especially the case with a butt-ugly road like Centennial that people will not care to reclaim and fight for.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 26, 2007 at 13:20:13

In spite of the Spec's attempts to paint this as a he said/she said issue between mean-spirited Westdale residents and the plucky little University, in fact it was city staff who identified this remnant truck route as an error and asked council to reword the bylaw to eliminate it. If council votes to accept the staff recommendation, it will be a very good thing for this dense, walkable neighbourhood, as well as for the many cyclists and pedestrians who use this stretch of road. However, I'm not sure how much of a precedent it would set for the removal of a long-established truck route.

You have one advantage over us though. If you decide to pursue a ban, the opposition you would face would be more a more disparate group of trucking companies, business groups, etc., as opposed to the mediaeval city-state we're up against here in Westdale.

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By OLDCOOTE (registered) | Posted September 26, 2007 at 15:37:27

What's astonishing is that the intial vote on this proposal was deadlocked at 4-4, and then deferred. You're right Jason, this is a no-brainer. And apparently, 4 of the council have no brains.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 26, 2007 at 22:09:00

4?
I'd jump for joy if we could ever get a council that had only 4 with no brains. Things would finally get going in this city.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 27, 2007 at 01:27:24

The motion passed tonight with little debate. It included a 'compromise' that will allow limited truck access to the Sterling St. entrance via Forsyth Ave., northbound only, and just until the end of January '08. Mac spin doctors were visibly and audibly displeased with the suggestion that they had been party to the 'compromise', so it will be interesting to see if they abide by the new bylaw or proceed with their threatened law suit. I think it was Russ Powers who pointed out that enforcement will be crucial as the truck drivers just "do whatever they want".

Mac will also be required to file a truck management plan with the city, as well as monitor their truck traffic. Mac is not known for honouring agreements it has entered into willingly, let alone dictats like this. I'm not holding my breath on their compliance. They'll fight this I'm sure.

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By OLDCOOTE (registered) | Posted September 27, 2007 at 12:32:39

question highwater...you seem well versed on this issue. If trucks will enter the campus via Forsythe, how will they exit it?

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 27, 2007 at 13:21:21

I'm not an insider, I'm afraid. I was in attendance at last night's council meeting, along with many other members of the community, and only know what I read in the motion. It did not make specific reference to an exit route. I can only assume that the intention is for the trucks to exit via internal roads, as they were originally intended.

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