Special Report: Truck Routes

Tell Them to Truck Off

Taking the trucks off Dundurn North is a small inconvenience for truckers and a potentially life-saving victory for families who live with their faces pressed up against a minor arterial road.

By Jen Dawson
Published May 20, 2010

Let's tell them to truck off.

I'm talking about the trucks on Dundurn Street North, that narrow, noisy stretch of road that runs from Dundurn Castle to the King St. Esso and is by turns a congested bottleneck and an Indy-500 speedway.

'Tell them to Truck Off!' Download this poster as a PDF
'Tell them to Truck Off!' Download this poster as a PDF

The city estimates that Dundurn North carries 11,652 vehicles every 24 hours, of which 477 are "commercial vehicles."

Dundurn North is a two-way, three-lane road that rips through the heart of a dense residential neighbourhood. There are no stoplights or stop signs to slow traffic or permit safe crossing. It is a dangerous river of asphalt that our most vulnerable citizens must ford to reach important community destinations like Strathcona Elementary School, Victoria Park and downtown Hamilton.

But quite frankly, crossing Dundurn North is enough to scare an able-bodied, devil-may-care pedestrian like me at times. I've had a few close calls.

All but six of the buildings on Dundurn North are detached and semi-detached homes. Almost a third of these homes touch or cross over the city property line. Residents open their front doors and they're pretty much on the sidewalk.

Anorexic Sidewalk

And what a sidewalk it isn't. Measuring a mere four feet, ten inches wide, a third of which is lost to slope whenever there's a curb cut for a driveway or intersection, the sidewalks of Dundurn North are skinny to the point of anorexia.

Pedsafe, an office of the U.S. Department of Transportation, recommends that sidewalks on arterial roads are six to eight feet wide, with an additional four- to six-foot buffer between the sidewalk and the road.

That's a recommended ten- to 14-foot wide space between me and a big rig, versus the reality of less than five feet on Dundurn North You do the math.

This is no place for a truck route.

That's why area residents and the Strathcona Community Council - the neighbourhood association representing the interests of citizens living east of the 403, west of Queen Street, south of the harbour and north of Main Street - want Dundurn North removed from the city's truck route.

The time is now.

Chamber Lobbied for Dundurn Truck Route

The recommended truck route network comes to Public Works Committee on May 31. While the November 2009 recommended truck network did not have Dundurn North on it, the current version does.

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce caused the city's about-face, having lobbied to keep Dundurn North as a truck route.

The Chamber's argument is ostensibly about safety. Chamber reps believe that trucks coming off the 403 from Toronto onto Main St. near the Fortino's Plaza cannot safely negotiate the lane changes necessary to access Dundurn Street south of Main.

These trucks, the Chamber maintains, must be allowed to access the stretch of Dundurn St. south of Main by way of York Blvd and Dundurn North.

A few volunteers have been standing on street corners, counting trucks. Our preliminary survey of truck movements at King and Dundurn shows that the Chamber may be making a mountain out of a molehill. Eight out of every ten trucks coming from Dundurn turn right at King or left at Main and don't travel on Dundurn south of Main at all.

These trucks can travel up Queen, with its three lanes of one-way traffic and very little street-level residential development, and turn right onto King.

Traffic Engineering is Stalling

Traffic Engineering and Operations staff don't like the conflict, and they're looking for an excuse to stall decision-making. They recommend keeping Dundurn North a truck route until "the rapid transit project is defined," at which time "it may be possible to revisit this recommendation."

Last time I checked, Hamilton already had a rapid(ish) transit service. Just as there is a B-Line stop at King and Dundurn now, there will be an LRT stop at this location once Hamilton's east-west line is built.

Many passengers will have no choice but to walk along Dundurn St. to access this stop - a walk which, in its current state, is a social marketer's worst nightmare.

It is the anti-brand for a livable community.

Walk More and Fear Less

This is not the time to wait and see. This is the time to force the conditions that will encourage people to walk more and fear less.

In a way, it's not fair. Truck drivers, for the most part, are highly trained and considerate users of the road. They are a victim of circumstance. Their rigs are often big, and Dundurn North is a narrow urban street with only one lane in the direction that 70 percent of the trucks want to travel.

Some commercial vehicles, like courier and postal trucks, are defined as "trucks" but aren't much bigger than some of the monster pick-ups and SUVs that fly down the street.

That doesn't stop me from wanting trucks off Dundurn North. It's a small inconvenience for truckers and a potentially life-saving victory for families who live with their faces pressed up against a minor arterial road.

We'll work on getting a stop light next.

Join the Campaign

Join the Truck Off! campaign. Write a quick-and-dirty letter addressed to "Chair and Members of the Public Works Committee," and email it to Carolyn Biggs, city clerk, at carolyn.biggs@hamilton.ca by Monday May 24.

Let council know how trucks on Dundurn North affect you and your family and why you want them to Truck Off!

Jen Dawson is a local community activist and freelance writer. She is a volunteer with the Hamilton 350 Committee.

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By zippo (registered) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 17:51:20

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 18:17:44

Jen isn't trying to push the traffic into some other neighbourhood, and don't tell anyone who buys a home in a residential neighbourhood that they deserve to have transport trucks flying by all day. The trucks already have a place to go - our billion dollar freeway network.

Today I followed a Steelcare transport truck from Birch and Burlington st to York and Dundurn. Presumably he was headed for the 403. Burlington St, as you know, is a stones throw from the QEW, which now leads directly to the Linc/403 or Skyway/403. There is NO reason for transports to be using downtown as a shortcut when the city has spent a ton of money providing them a world class freeway network.

Welcome to Hamilton: Best place to raise a child (as long as they don't get killed by a transport truck before adulthood)

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 18:42:44

I read this and thought it's only a matter of time until some crappy d-bag apologist came squelching around to drop a load of sludge (brought in by truck no doubt) on a citizen's efforts to make her neighborhood safer and friendlier for everyone.

I live in Durand and the author would be welcome any time. And don't let some random loser on the internet hiding behind a screen name tell you any different.

Also I printed off a poster and I'm going to post it.

Keep up the good fight! Don't let the bastards get you down.

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By Strathconer (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 19:01:41

Yes! Bring it! A policy as rude as trucks through a residential neighbourhood deserves nothing better than a rude, two word response: Truck Off!

Listen up, City Mall: the people of Hamilton have had enough of your community destroying ways.

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 20, 2010 at 19:31:06

Zippo, my folks have owned a house in the neighbourhood since 1963- and since then, more and more truck traffic has been accommodated on Dundurn, King and York. I'm pretty sure nobody told them this would happen when they bought their house, and nobody asked for permission when they widened streets and built highways to encourage this. So shove it.

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By cal difalco (registered) - website | Posted May 20, 2010 at 21:02:18

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 21:03:46

Ryan, I think there's something wrong with the poster link. I get a 404 error when I try to save or open it in Firefox and IE.

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By jelly's campaign manager (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 21:32:50

calm down matt.

i too read a bit of nimbyism in this article and i am very sympathetic to the cause of removing trucks from downtown residential/commercial streets. and i'm not talking about local delivery vehicles, i'm talking transport trucks heading through town.

there are SO MANY nice streets in this fair city ruined by truck traffic. i'm not going to bother naming any because anyone who has spent any time here will know of a half dozen in their area.

and this is my point. this is a lower city wide problem. traffic takes precedent over people every day. there is a warped idea at city hall that vehicles travelling across town as fast as possible will attract new life to the city.

so, jen dawson, while i agree that there should be limited truck traffic on your street i also think there should be limited truck traffic on my street, and on matt's street and on jason's street, and we should be supporting more than just one exception to the rule, we should be rallying to change the rule itself. make a poster proclaiming that and it will be up in front of every house in the city.

brought o you by the campaign to elect Matthew T. Bartholomew Jelly

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 20, 2010 at 21:51:28

Shove it, Buttrum! ;)

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By Here Here (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 22:03:47

Very well said & very important issue.

Our streets are too busy, too fast and have too many trucks on them...

I live in Strathcona & would love to let my son walk to school but will not let him walk down Dundurn Street North...we walk to Fortinos and I am always horrified by the speed of the cars & the number of trucks...

To the first letter writer...shame on you for thinking that one cannot hope for better for ones neighbors, neighborhood and childern...thank goodness all our neighbors are not like you...

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 22:13:36

The whole truck route thing is a joke.

Nearly ever major street is designated as a truck route.

The point of a truck route is to define certain roads that trucks should use to get to/from their destination, or get through the city. Trucks are already permitted to drive on any street, including residential streets, to get to their destination - so long as they get off, and back on a truck route as soon as possible. So really, we should only be defining major arterial routes where we want to focus truck traffic. Seems like people at city hall don't really understand this concept. Instead they declare nearly every major street a truck route for some inexplicable reason - basically giving the trucks free reign to drive wherever they want.

Why is it Concession (tiny two lane with meter parking on both sides and a "shopping district"!), Fennell, Mohawk, Stonechurch, Rymal, and the Linc, are all on the truck route list? They all go east/west? Why don't we designate, say two of them: the Linc, and Fennell as Truck routes? Truck drivers can still use the other roads to get to/from their destination, so long as they take the shortest route possible.

By designating all these streets as truck routes all we're saying is this: Heading to Upper Ottawa/Mohawk? No no, quite alright, don't worry about driving along Mohawk, head down fennell if you want, or rymal, or stonechurch, or the linc, or drive along concession street if you'd like. As long as you get to your destination, we don't care how you get there. Use any of our east/west streets! The same is sadly true of our north/south streets: Garth, Upper James, Upper Ottawa, Upper Sherman, Upper Gage, Upper Wellington, Upper Wentworth ALL on the truck route! Why do we even bother having a list? We've listed nearly every North/south route on the mountain except West 5th!

I've used a mountain example because people assume this is a problem unique to the lower city, but it's really not.

This "truck route" is out of control, and should be SERIOUSLY cut down. Remember the purpose of the truck route: To force trucks to use dedicated routes through our city, and deviate from them only as little as necessary to get to/from their destination.

Naming every major street is a useless way to run a truck route. It's easy to concil approve a list of streets, but I have a feeling if they saw a map of this "truck route" they would realize that it's gone too far and provides no protection for residents at all.

Jen, I hope you win a victory here, I really do.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 20, 2010 at 22:35:57

UrbanRenaissance wrote:

Ryan, I think there's something wrong with the poster link.

My bad, I changed the PDF file name but forgot to update the URL. It should be fixed now.

In response to the more nuanced claim of NIMBYism from jelly's campaign manager (better just to ignore zippo's obvious troll):

Of course the problem is city-wide, and Dundurn is just one of many streets that have no business being forced to accommodate a steady stream of through truck traffic; but to suggest there's something wrong with people living in a neighbourhood besieged by trucks organizing to improve their circumstances flies in the face of everything I've ever been given to understand about community engagement.

The people living in Strathcona and dealing with the multitude of policy blunders there - from the walkability fustercluck at King and Dundurn to the inclusion of Dundurn North as a freaking truck route - have a direct and personal experience of these failures, not to mention a deeply personal stake in alleviating them, which leaves them uniquely qualified to advocate for the necessary changes.

I don't know how well you know this neighbourhood, but the Strathcona Community Council (SCC) is active, energetic and proactive in their efforts to represent and improve their community. One thing is for certain: they're no blinkered NIMBYs.

Any self-respecting community council or neighbourhood association as affected by truck traffic as Strathcona would do the same - and I have no doubt the SCC would be willing to support a broader coalition to reform the city-wide approach to the truck route plan.

Please - when we're all being screwed over, the last thing we should be doing is fighting amongst ourselves. Submitting to divide-and-conquer only guarantees a win for the narrow business interests that are smashing our neighbourhoods across the city.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2010-05-20 21:37:42

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By jelly's lackey (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 22:39:29

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By jelly's barber (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 22:48:22

oh, but wait... if we just limit the truck traffic from dundurn north instead of trying to change the truck route system as a whole, doesn't that mean the trucks will still travel in the same directions and just take other, less restrictive streets, making their truck traffic problems worse?

yes, suzie, it will.

but what about all the children who live on those streets? what about all the little children who live at 44 queen street north?

oh honey, they live in a high rise apartment building, they don't count. it's not "street level residential" if you don't own a proper house you don't deserve truck free streets, don't you remember the christmas play they put on at your school?

well, i suppose so. but why, mom?

because they are poor honey, and they always get shit upon, and if we don't teach you that you might end up like them.

the end.

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 20, 2010 at 22:52:55

For the record, I have absolutely no clue what's going on here. Lol.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 23:00:20

Matt, with a campaign team like this, you're a shoe-in for mayor!! Lol

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 20, 2010 at 23:02:33

Hey, I'm not running unless there are 100 other people on the ballot.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 20, 2010 at 23:04:11

oh, but wait... if we just limit the truck traffic from dundurn north instead of trying to change the truck route system as a whole, doesn't that mean the trucks will still travel in the same directions and just take other, less restrictive streets, making their truck traffic problems worse?

No, suzie, it won't.

Traffic is not static; like anything else, it responds to supply. If you increase the supply of lanes, traffic will increase to fill it; and the reverse is true: if you reduce the supply of lanes, traffic will reduce as well.

Every traffic engineer learns this in school, but they throw it away five minutes after they finish school and get a job in a city planning department.

Trucks drive through the city today because they can. They drive through the city because it's faster to drive through the city than it is to take the highway around the city. You know, the ring highway completed by the Red Hill Valley Parkway that was supposed to take the truck traffic so our neighbourhoods could get a break.

Think about it: in what self-respecting city anywhere in the world can you drive through the city on downtown streets faster than you can drive around it on a bypass highway? It's an embarrassment.

Traffic isn't static; it's dynamic, and it responds to incentives and disincentives.

The Chamber and the City say the trucks drive up Dundurn because they have to, so we should go on allowing them to do it. I call bullshit. The trucks drive up Dundurn because they can.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 23:10:46

kind of ironic to have this discussion taking place the same day we posted a blog about Ottawa. Strange. Anytime I've been to Ottawa I haven't had to walk on 4 foot wide sidewalks with 5 lanes of blasting trucks. The Byward Market would have been so much more enjoyable had they signed truck routes through the area and narrowed the sidewalks to ridiculous levels (I hope our new Farmers Market has sturdy glass. It's going to do a lot of rumbling and rattling)

Strange how in Hamilton we consider it acceptable to have transports leaving the NE industrial district to cut through residential and former retail streets downtown to get to the 403, even though Burlington St/QEW/Red Hill or Linc all connect to the same 403 in less time and with no stoplights. Oh I forgot. We time the lights for these trucks too. Not only do we allow them downtown, we ENCOURAGE it with some of the worst decision making and traffic engineering a first world city can possibly muster up.

I still say we need to convert downtown Dundas, Ancaster, Stoney Creek and Waterdown to 4 and 5 lane, one-way freeways with timed lights and urge trucks to use those streets. Watch how fast change would happen. Unfortunately, this blight largely only occurs (in it's one-way/timed lights fashion) downtown and as we all know, us losers downtown don't matter.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-05-20 22:11:52

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By peace IN (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 23:25:15

Wow, some real ass clowns on the boards tonight. (or more likely just one ass clown with a bunch of sock puppets) Dude if you've got time to criticize someone for trying to get trucks off a residential street that a bunch of kids have to CROSS to get to school or to the park, you've got time to do something useful with your life.

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By jelly's trainer (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 23:44:13

i agree with you to a point ryan, but the problem in this situation is grossly excess lane capacity on cannon/ york. dundurn is simply the last resort to head south to get to the 403. with 4 lanes of traffic feeding these bottlenecks, there is enormous pressure on a few small streets to take the burden of trucks crossing an almost entirely residential area from caroline to breadalbane.

what i am suggesting is keeping them out of this area entirely. if you look at a map, there is no good spot for these trucks to cross this neighbourhood or the also predominantly residential neighbourhood bound by cannon/york and barton west of bay. the real solution is having truck traffic use the 5 lane highway designed to move truck traffic from the industrial areas in the north end to the QEW from which they can easily access all directions, burlington street.

and i agree, this is the promise of the red hill, the silver lining. truck free downtown!

i truly believe, and i have thought about this a great deal, the local problems with truck traffic originate at two major points in the lower city: wellington and wentworth at burlington street. if trucks were not permitted to head south west past these points and were instead forced to take the designed route east towards the QEW most of the truck problems we are discussing would vanish.

the real capacity to limit is wentworth street north and wellington street north, then all these problems shift to a largely under utilized corridor, burlington street. i drive on burlington several times a week. not exactly bumper to bumper, and the speed limit is very strictly enforced (for some reason). (and, i know, you will ask what to do about the small industrial area that feeds queen street north, and i haven't a clue. i don't know how much truck traffic uses that route anymore. apparently the city wants to put a stadium down there or something so it will become mostly sidewalks and bus and bike lanes anyway)

truck traffic is a huge systemic problem and must be dealt with as such. pushing a bubble in the wallpaper down will only move it around. i believe we need to take back all of our residential areas, not just those who organize the best. if dundurn street wants trucks off dundurn the real solution is to get them off wellington and wentworth.

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 23:44:56

Nobody wants the trucks, but how do business' located in that area get their stock? Carrier pigeon maybe?
(In order to get onto King St., because it's one way, you may have to use Dundurn, or Lock St., or some of the other tiny narrow streets. Or you could get on the 403, and...still end up using one of those streets.)

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 20, 2010 at 23:48:51

Judging by my waistline, my trainer is doing a crappy job. ;)

But he has a point.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 23:51:51

Nobody wants the trucks, but how do business' located in that area get their stock?

FYI these aren't local traffic, they're just passing through.

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By jelly's brain trust (anonymous) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 00:02:31

peace in?
really? why be like that? i have a different idea as to how to solve the problem, and i wholeheartedly agree that it is a HUGE problem, trust me, i rant daily about trucks on city streets, and you automatically assume that i want to put children in harm's way? seriously? i call bullshit, peace IN. seriously. these are not tools we use to engage people in honest open debate to try and reach understanding of each others positions. it alienates and creates camps, sides and dogma. lay off dude. try understanding my point and responding in an intelligent way respecting the time and thought i have put into my comments. instead you reach for apparently the only tool in your chest, name calling. very mature. other than your widows and orphans point and your dislike for anyone who has any ideas different from the herd why do you think my ideas are incorrect? can you do that? can you engage in a dialogue about ideas?

all i am suggesting is that the problem is a little bigger than one street. i am all for community groups and involvement, but don't let the solution be part of someone else's problem. and you are kidding yourselves if you think it wont become someone else's problem. i have explained why in my earlier post.




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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 00:15:12

Quote from Jason:
"I still say we need to convert downtown Dundas, Ancaster, Stoney Creek and Waterdown to 4 and 5 lane, one-way freeways with timed lights and urge trucks to use those streets. Watch how fast change would happen. Unfortunately, this blight largely only occurs (in it's one-way/timed lights fashion) downtown and as we all know, us losers downtown don't matter."

Too late Jason. Ancaster has already designated most of the old truck routes as No Truck Zones. I can't wait to see those Sykorskis over dropping goods over WalMart.

The area's roundabouts have also made truck traffic dangerous for both trucks & others sharing the roads. I'm not going to debate the effectiveness of traffic roundabouts in controlling traffic (Thank God for Stop Lights, or we'd never be able to get into traffic!)but goods do have to be delivered, even if Nobody wants heavy trucks on their streets.

So you'd have to get rid of the stores too? I thought we wanted more business' downtown? The Fortinos @ King & Dundurn is one of the few food stores in the area. The Credit Union in the same plaza is one of the few banks.

I agree that the 'system' that the King/Dundurn plaza has for big truck deliveries is frightening at times, when a truck blocks many lanes on a blind corner of King St.. That intersection can be terrifying for pedestrians to cross, but it's not just the trucks, it's the speed, & volume of traffic on a large one way inner city highway.

Dundurn carries way more traffic than it should, but part of the problem is the way geographically that Hamilton is set up, with not many roads leading in & out of the core. Those one way major roads put the delivery trucks onto smaller side streets to get to their destinations.

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 00:24:06

The Kid works for a company @ King & Dundurn. They get their deliveries at 2 or 3 a.m. Maybe that's a solution, but would many companies/truckers want to do that?

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By miss delivery (anonymous) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 00:43:09

dear cityjoe,

local deliveries are exempt from the truck routes we are talking about. and thus local deliveries are allowed on streets not designated as truck routes.

so in conclusion, if a street is signed "no trucks" a truck may use the street if its destination is located on or is only accessible by said street.

this article is entirely about through traffic, that is trucks whose ultimate destination is not the street they are on but are using the street to go somewhere else.

thanks.

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By Dave Kuruc (anonymous) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 07:40:59


But Larry said this so it must be true:

"Our road system has improved tremendously since the new Red Hill Valley Parkway opened up just a few months ago. This roadway has taken trucks and cars off residential routes."

He also talks about Hovercraft service in Hamilton in his blogpost - so not sure what to believe. http://chrisecklund.com/larry-diianni/?p=81

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted May 21, 2010 at 08:04:59

Well, speaking of local deliveries ...

I enjoy a coffee and muffin at My Dog Joe on King West in Westdale before work some days - fresh coffee, bright sunlight, neighbours filtering past. It's predictably nice. Predictably not nice is the giant Sysco 18 wheeler which blocks my view every second visit, delivering buns and meat and such to the Subway next door.

Sysco sends a giant 18 wheeler to occupy three shop fronts while they deliver a few dolly loads of supplies because it's cheaper and because they can, not because the need to. If they had to, they would do the reasonable thing and send a smaller delivery truck - the kind most food-supply companies use.

Companies - like people (they are people) - adapt. They take advantage of opportunities ("let's send a giant truck to a little sub shop in a residential area because we can lower our costs") and they adapt to restrictions ("Ok, send a panel van and push the prices up a little bit when we renew our contract - we'll just blame it on they city").

Comment edited by moylek on 2010-05-21 07:11:03

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 21, 2010 at 08:17:41

So you'd have to get rid of the stores too? I thought we wanted more business' downtown?

How on earth do you think other cities do it? Do you think, say, New York or Boston or Montreal or Portland allows 18-wheelers to roll through their downtown? They don't, and somehow their downtown businesses manage to survive.

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By peace IN (anonymous) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 08:40:23

"i have a different idea as to how to solve the problem"

Nothing wrong with that, but you don't have to NIMBY bait to explain it.

"you automatically assume that i want to put children in harm's way?"

Where did I say that? Right, nowhere.

"these are not tools we use to engage people in honest open debate to try and reach understanding of each others positions."

But sarcasm and NIMBY baiting are?

"all i am suggesting is that the problem is a little bigger than one street."

Look through the comments, no one disagrees with you on that! But we have to take this city back one street at a time. Or should the people suffering Dundurn just keep quiet until every other street gets freed of trucks, except they're also supposed to keep quiet because otherwise they'd be NIMBY's and we end up making no progress?!?

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By frank (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 08:43:37

Awww Moylek! You stole my second point! In most major cities around the world it's not an 18 wheeler that rolls up to deliver the goods. It's a far smaller truck...

Ryan wrote: "Think about it: in what self-respecting city anywhere in the world can you drive through the city on downtown streets faster than you can drive around it on a bypass highway? It's an embarrassment."

EXACTLY! I watch Top Gear, a British motor enthusiast show (yep I'm a gearhead) and I regularly see the streets of London in the show. Narrow, mostly pedestrian friendly with small "lorries" making deliveries. A bike lane shared with buses (which they absolutely hate because the bus drivers are ignorant) and bumper to bumper traffic on 2 lane roads. Sometimes you see the 2 lanes in each direction separated by grassy medians and other times streets so narrow you can't drive two cars beside each other but they're still not one way... The downtown streets are by and large cyclist friendly and slow moving. They have crosshatched intersections to stop bozos from blocking them on reds (which happens far to often here) and lots of speed cameras. They once did a race through London using a speed boat on the Thames, public transit, a bicycle and a vehicle...The car DIDN'T win!

The problem isn't necessarily the streets themselves it's the way they're built/connected/utilized. Take Burlington Street...anyone drive down it regularly? how about on Wednesday after work? Some truck driver must have had a load shift on the loop to TO bound QEW and tipped over closing the ramp...what if that was some other local street? It's potholed, the bridges themselves are starting to come apart... That road should be well maintained and kept as truck access to the waterfront area, Wellington and Wentworth should no longer be one way and that would discourage trucks from using it as a bypass route...

For those of you worried about deliveries to businesses...here's a plan for you! Use the airport lands to build warehouses for the various chains...in fact, business idea for you...offer a warehouse much like the Ippolito warehouse on the 403 North Service Road in Burlington with daily or every other day delivery service at night with smaller trucks...that's how it's done in other cities! You'll be at the front of a new wave of service.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 08:45:31

where the heck is the zookeeper. This is ridiculous.

Anyone with a functioning brain should be able to come to the following two conclusions:

  1. Local delivery trucks aren't the big problem here. It's the trucks carrying coils of steel barreling down Main St that are the problem (unless there is a new steel plant in the Stelco Tower that I'm unaware of).

  2. Local deliveries in the lower city should be made by smaller delivery trucks and not those mega 18-wheelers one commenter spoke about at Subway in Westdale. It's insane for the city to allow a massive truck like that to rumble through densely populated neighbourhoods.

Maybe other cities have a vast network of underground truck tunnels that I've never seen, but somehow all the stores and shops in downtown Ottawa or NY or Portland manage to get their goods without 18 wheelers speeding by 24/7.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 08:47:02

Frank...off to the loo with ya. LOL

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By then you win (anonymous) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 09:03:49

Funny how every time RtH publishes something openly critical of the city's business lobbies we get a rash of attacks from anonymous troglodytes. "First they ignore you, then they ridiculte you, then they fight you..."

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 09:04:44

ho hum. another day, another transport truck flying off the road in the middle of the night.

http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/articl...

Anytime I'm on the 403 through Hamilton where the speed limit is 90km I'm always amazed at the transports doing 120-140. Barely able to navigate the curves, yet they keep on blasting through. I have to hold the wheel tight to make the curves at 115 and I'm not in a truck!

And of course, instead of dealing with the problem of unsafe driving, we hear all these stupid ideas from the Spec and city hall about how we need more traffic capacity in the west end to take the overflow when this happens. Great planning Hamilton. Let's now start making our neighbourhood planning choices based around the assumption that trucks will continue to flip over on the 403 and drive like speedsters. No point in city council or the Spec ever suggesting that trucks be banned from the left lane like in many other North American jurisdictions, or given a lower speed limit along with those speed inhibiting devices installed on the trucks. No sir, let's blame Westdale and west Hamilton for not having gobs and gobs of extra roadway just sitting empty so the trucks can keep breaking the law and causing chaos and we just brush it under the carpet for them.

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By Rene Gauthier (anonymous) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 09:27:46

Well well well!

Leave you guys for 12 hrs and all hell breaks loose! Let's look at it on both sides.

The folks on Dundurn do have a legitimate concern. All those trucks going through a largely residential neighbourhood has a lot of catastrophic potential. And perhaps there will come a day when Dundurn will be closed off for a tragic reason. Nobody wants that to happen, but the indications are that the time bomb is still ticking and the that nothing has happened yet gives no one any solace, just more anxiety.

But here's the bind. First of all, historically that stretch of Dundurn was part of the former King's Highway 2. Secondly, how is a truck that has been diverted from downtown via Victoria/Wellington and Cannon/Wilson supposed to get on and off of Main/King? What choices are there?

Let's not forget the biggest challenge in moving anything around Hamilton. Our city is fraught with geological obstacles. If it's not the mountain, it's the creeks and bays around us.

One more thing here to understand folks. Debate is not a NIMBY issue, but the feeling of a dark cloud over the Dundurn area, wondering when fate will have its day and with whom? That is what is eating the residents the most. Unlike our rural counterparts, the situation is right there, in their faces every day.

This city needs new ideas on how to overcome these challenges, but moveover the city needs new leadership and new faces in city council that would be better suited to meet these challenges head-on.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted May 21, 2010 at 09:32:50

I wouldn't actually worry about trucks on Dundurn North? Why? Because truckers know that time is money, and the traffic on Dundurn North is so catastrophically bad that no moderately smart trucking company is going to send a trucker down that lane.

Honestly, I think the city should be looking into some way to pursue legal action against the province for their pathetic negligence with respect to the 403/QEW. The road is painfully over-capacity which is what's forcing all the traffic through Hamilton's downtown. But of course, the Provincial government's ability to give-a-crap seems to diminish linearly as you get further away from Toronto. If the 403/QEW were actually usable, there wouldn't be trucks on King/Main... they take that route because rush-hour traffic backs things up so far that the 403 is backed up past Aberdeen. This makes both the 403 and the Linc worthless to any smart driver at rush-hour.

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By frank (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 09:38:44

@Jason...or rather his comment... I find it sadly hilarious (if that's possible) how it's the roads that are the problem when accidents happen and not the drivers of the vehicles themselves.

As for being a gearhead...I think it's fine to be a gearhead and be in tune with my community preservation... I believe you'd find a lot of gearheads who are in the same boat as me if someone took the time to have a proper discussion with them. There's nothing like working on a muscle car in your driveway as the kids play in the background. Just cuz I like cars doesn't mean I can't like my community or be supportive of proper transportation planning slower moving streets. In fact I'd go as far to say that those twits who race their rice rockets around aren't gearheads. I'd actually love to see a raceway built up by the airport. I think it'd be fantastic... Track days for average joes, drag races for the speedsters...all kinds of fun!

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted May 21, 2010 at 09:51:48

@jelly's trainer (anonymous)

Yeah, I have to say - the pedantic speed enforcement on functionally industrial roads like Burlington street speaks volumes about police priorities.

The only reason to put speed traps there is because they're locations that drivers feel they can go fast because it's visibly _safe_ to do so. In other words, they're good places for a speed trap because they're money-makers.

Places where there are actually real dangers associated with speeding (like the King/Main corridor, or Queen street) seem to be bereft of speeding enforcement.

Oh, and as for the Steelcare/Transcare trucks, keep in mind that Steelcare has a major transloading facility & warehouse at the Aberdeen&Longwood rail-yard, where steel gets taken off of rail and loaded onto trucks. So not all those trucks you see coming out of the West end are coming from the expressway. Not that it really changes things - that location has access to the 403 going in both directions (up to the Linc and around the Bay).

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 11:51:33

People who read the last big RTH piece on the truck plan may remember how I feel about all these damn trucks, let's just say I'm not a fan.

To all you people calling Strathcona NIMBY's because they want the trucks out, what will you have to say about it if we do nothing and sooner or later a truck finally kills someone?? It's not like they're trying to stop a methadone clinic, they're trying to stop freaking transport trucks driving down their streets where their kids are suppose to be able to play.

Play at the park you say? Tough titty I guess for all the folks living west of Dundurn who have to play Leapfrog past all the trucks on Dundurn just to get to the park.

Oh yeah and good luck trying to find a stop sign or a traffic light, there ain't any. Maybe they should just walk half a mile out of there way and cut down to King to cross before walking back up the hill to get to the park, that's fair.

Or they could tell the trucks to Truck Off and take their community back.

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By frank (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 11:52:03

@PXTL, I could care less if they put speed traps in places to make money as long as they're in places where speed is a safety issue as well. Bottom line is, you shouldn't be flying along whether YOU think it's safe or not!

As far as traffic goes, I don't think you understand what Ryan says... The idea isn't to make the ring roads faster by adding capacity, it's to make the urban streets slower. The faster route should be the way around, not through. Combine this with the desire to lower the overall reliance on personal (1 person in a car) kind of vehicle use and the logical conclusion is slow down urban routes.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 11:52:10

re: Steelcare truck. I followed it from Birch and Burlington St to the west end of downtown. I don't know where it's trip originated - further east along Burlington St is my guess. Whether the location was the 403 or the Steelcare plant on Aberdeen, those trucks should be using the QEW/403 to get there, not downtown neighbourhoods.

Debate is not a NIMBY issue, but the feeling of a dark cloud over the Dundurn area, wondering when fate will have its day and with whom?

It was almost me a few years ago while walking to The Staircase. A transport headed south flipped over and landed on the sidewalk 100 feet in front of me. It was pretty scary. Had I been a minute earlier, I'd have been squished. 3 months later, I'm walking along York to Dundurn Park when all hell breaks loose behind me. I turn around to see a truck loaded with steel coils flipped onto the sidewalk where I had just walked 30 seconds earlier. Again, just dodged fate by mere seconds. My neighbour walking with their small son on York also had the same thing happen, half a block ahead of them. And who knows how many other stories are out there that never get told. Someone WILL get killed someday, and the city WILL be sued and held liable due to blatant negligence in the face of imminent danger, despite being warned hundreds of times by local residents.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-05-21 10:52:42

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By Jen Dawson (anonymous) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 12:16:44

@ all renditions of the jelly anonymous poster (I'm eagerly awaiting "jelly belly" let me tell ya):

I am with you regarding the need to take a holistic, overarching view of truck routes. It isn't fair to make one street's victory another street's nightmare and if I felt that Queen St. would suffer from accommodating some of Dundurn N.'s trucks, I wouldn't suggest it. Queen St. is in my neighbourhood, too. I'm also on the Strathcona Community Council Exec, and if we're successful in removing truck traffic from Dundurn N. and Queen St. N. is noticeably impacted, I'll be the first to start campaigning again.

It's unfortunate that in status quo Hamilton the holistic view holds no weight. We ultimately get to the bigger vision by hammering away at things, slowly gaining ground through a series of small victories. Is it the way I want it? No. Is it the way it is? Yes.

@ jelly’s barber specifically:

I do have to take issue with the "little Suzy" post, however. It sounds like you're suggesting my article is about rich versus poor, homeowners versus renters. I'd like to clarify: Dundurn St. N. is by no means "better" than Queen St. N. in terms of calibre of resident or quality of building stock. If you’ve walked the street, you’ll know that’s true. And simply because it has "street level residential" does not mean that everyone on Dundurn N. owns his or her home. Actually, the opposite is true. Many of the homes on Dundurn N. are duplexed, tri-plexed and quad-plexed.

In a way, the children at 44 Queen St. N. are more fortunate than the children living west of Dundurn N., since 44 Queen kids don’t need to cross Queen St. to get to Hess St. Elementary school and they have controlled intersections to help them cross major downtown streets safely.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 12:29:27

Hi Jen: I live on Dundurn and you are correct that many of homes are rentals. Maybe part of the problem lies in the fact that the suburban areas of the city have more represention on council, lack of proportional representation.

Sort of sad you know that areas like Ancaster, where the money is can have truck routes change to no truck routes, yet they howl like mad, when the people downtown try to change things.

Lots of poor people live downtown, thus their voices are ignored.

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By FenceSitter (anonymous) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 12:29:54

The solution is simple.

1) 40Km/Hr on all main streets in Hamilton unless otherwise posted.

2) 30Km/Hr on all residential streets

3) Zero tolerance

For all vehicles.

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 21, 2010 at 12:37:47

I'd like to apologize for my very opinionated staff. Sometimes I think I'm the one working for them. ;)

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By Mikael (anonymous) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 12:50:02

I guess trucking companies aren't particularly bright then, because there ARE 18-wheelers stuck in the late afternoon pile-up between Dundurn & York to King & Dundurn almost every day.

The pedestrian problem, which is bad enough due to the narrow sidewalks, is made worse due to a complete lack of working crosswalks. On the aforementioned stretch there is but one crosswalk at Lamoreaux, but it has no traffic lights or signage to back it up, and consequently no motorist cares outside of the hours the traffic guard is haplessly scrambling to get kids from west of Dundurn to school in one piece. Teaching my three kids how to jaywalk safely is a welcome learning opportunity, but I wish I could do it by choice rather than by necessity.

I'm no city planner, but it seems to me that the industrial areas around the Spec and the former Camco site would make an excellent hub for moving goods coming in by truck or train onto smaller vehicles for transport to local businesses (Dundurn Plaza, Westdale, etc).

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 13:41:26

I assume that the residents of the area would have a better handle on it than I, but I'm in that area for several hours most days, frequently between 8:45 a.m. & 9:00. I'm in that intersection at least 4 times on the days that I'm downtown.

I think that your article ought to state that you are not talking about locally generated truck traffic, & not assume that we all know what you are speaking about. (When people mobilize, they have a tendency to assume that Everybody Knows what they have discussed within their group.)

I better get a lawn chair & a picnic cooler & just set for a day & count 18 wheelers.
: )

I have seen a few 18 wheelers on King St., not very many that I can recall on Dundurn, but you are right, most, if not all of them are on Dundurn North. Good luck getting some control over things! Yes, you ought to have a say in designating truck routes!

The student housing on Dundurn that is virtually Front Doors on the Sidewalk, is "newish", so why wasn't some consideration taken into account when they were built?

My whole family goes to the dentist & the accountant @ King & Dundurn. The sidewalks at that point don't seem any smaller that any others-? Do they get narrower further North?

The Tiny Timmy's on Dundurn N.(East side) not only discourages 'walk-in' customers, it manages to block the intersection with cars turning in & out of it's driveway. This creates chaos for pedestrians, & cars alike trying to cross that intersection or pass their drive-through entrance/exit. It's one of the worst set ups ever, & creates an ongoing hazard to everyone. Who allowed that to happen? Why does it not have a King St. exit/entrance? There is another Timmy's on the other corner. How many Timmy's do people need to fulfill their coffee & doughnut requirements?

The only big rig that is in that area with any frequency is the tanker delivering to the Pioneer Stn. on King @ Dundurn.
(One day there is going to be a huge explosion in that parking lot due to the tiny, very busy lot, a huge truck that overhangs the entrance, & large, fast traffic volume. That's something that you might want to consider too, esp since there are schools, stores, & a seniors' home very close to that gas station.)

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 14:50:20

local deliveries are exempt from the truck routes we are talking about. - miss delivery

Yep, as exempt as buskers are from tickets for loitering.

My Father-in-law drives an oil delivery truck in Hamilton and has been ticketed on more than one occasion. This isn't meant as support for trucks, just pointing out that laws can be loosely interpreted by the enforcers to meet "quotas".

I would like to see a reduction of truck traffic through downtown, the complete elimination of trucks using downtown as a "shortcut" (i.e., if you don't have business downtown you shouldn't be downtown) and a more sensible truck route plan.

Comment edited by Kiely on 2010-05-21 13:51:48

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 15:18:46

He also talks about Hovercraft service in Hamilton in his blogpost - Dave Kuruc

Oh man, too funny!!! An almost 40 year old hovercraft with multiple 3000+hp engines that burns hundreds of gallons of fuel an hour... WOO-HOO!!!

I predict epic fail due to inability to recoup fuel and maintenance costs alone.

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By rrrandy (registered) - website | Posted May 21, 2010 at 15:25:51

@Kiely - I think DiIanni must be closer to 60-years-old, but the fuel numbers look right...

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 16:20:38

@Kiely - I think DiIanni must be closer to 60-years-old, but the fuel numbers look right... - rrrandy

LOL

Good one : )

Comment edited by Kiely on 2010-05-21 15:21:25

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By notice for interested parties (anonymous) | Posted May 21, 2010 at 16:34:29

The City of Hamilton's Truck Route Master Plan will be presented to the Public Works Committee on Monday May 31 at 9:30 a.m. in the Albion Rooms A & B at the Hamilton Convention Centre.

A copy of the staff report that was presented to the Truck Route Sub-Committee on April 26 can be found at:
http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/57206FFF-11D8-4152-A9F0-C0673D45C98F/63138/STAFFREPORTTOTRUCKROUTESUBCOMMITTEEAPRIL262010.pdf

A copy of the recommendations that that will go to the Public Works Committee can be found at:
http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/57206FFF-11D8-4152-A9F0-C0673D45C98F/63136/UPDATEINFORMATIONFROMTRUCKROUTESUBCOMMITTEEDECISIO.pdf.

It recommends that Dundurn Street North from York Boulevard to King Street West be excluded from the truck route system for an 18 month period and that staff report back within 18 months on the impacts of these specific changes in consultation with the Ward Councillors and inclusive of any other feedback that may be received;

Other truck route study information is at http://www.hamilton.ca/truckroutestudy.

Members of the public are invited to bring a delegation to this meeting.

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By Donald J. Lester (anonymous) | Posted May 22, 2010 at 13:41:58

"Tell Them to Truck Off" Truckers and trucking companies don't care...if it adds time to their schedule, all it means is the their bottom line will increase...the consumer will pay more. That's living in the world of reality...so I wonder who's getting the thumbs up?

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 22, 2010 at 16:32:38

which is exactly why Cannon and Wilson should be converted to two-way with street parking during off-peak hours (ya right, in Hamilton we love live lanes right next to sidewalks). Trucks will stop using these roads when they are normal city streets.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 23, 2010 at 10:40:10

the consumer will pay more

The consumer should pay more for a product that was manufactured or distributed in a manner that causes more measurable harm.

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted May 23, 2010 at 14:15:05

The problem with scapegoating trucks is that most truckers over the age of 30 are much better drivers than average.

As a pedestrian safety initiative, I propose that Hamilton reduce speed limits to 40 km/h on any section of road with a sidewalk directly abutting the road, and 30 km/h on strictly residential areas with same, and of course enforce it.

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By frank (registered) | Posted May 25, 2010 at 10:03:12

Ted the problem with trucks is that if we build roads to handle them it's far more expensive than really necessary. In order for a road to handle truck traffic it's built differently than other roads. Roads in the city have no need to be one way and I believe the only reason they are is because people/politicians are afraid of change. Reducing the speed limit might be great however our city streets are supposedly 50km/h speed limits with timed lights at somewhere close to 65! Have you ever tried to go 50 on King or Main during busy times? It's pretty dangerous. Speed limits here aren't "limits" they're suggestions. In Europe, if a posted speed is the maximum it IS the maximum. I'd love to see speed cameras both listed and unlisted AT the speed limit (bet we'd be out of debt pretty quickly ;) ). I would love to see all 1 way roads switched to 2 way roads. I'd like to see ROW design changed to include full time parking lanes either side where necessary and boulevards where they aren't...

I drive Kenilworth Ave every day to get home. Want to know why it's still dead? The city allowing zoning changes so landlords (aka slumlords) can change storefronts to apartments without actually doing much work; 4 lane two way street with restricted parking at rush hours; property standards bylaws being forced to the limit; vacant properties with fences around them... Solution? Better bylaw enforcement, forbid changing storefronts to residential, put in full time parking lanes with bumpouts (metered if necessary) force absentee landowners to sell properties to investors and do some streetscaping...

Back to trucks... "if you build it they will come" that's a pretty well known quote right? it works the other direction as well - if you take it away eventually they will leave. So change Wellington and Wentworth to 2 way streets...same with King and Main, and give the streets a facelift. Make it far less profitable for haulers to use downtown streets in order to get places.

Comment edited by frank on 2010-05-25 09:06:47

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