By Rideau-Jock Councillor David Brown
Residents will know by now that getting the trucks out of Manotick is my top priority as your Councillor. In previous articles in the Manotick Messenger, I outlined my progress to date and hinted that more progress was coming in June.
On June 22nd at the Transportation Committee, I presented staff with an inquiry. The inquiry discusses the issues with trucks in the City’s rural south, particularly in Manotick, and how policy to date does not provide an adequate solution. The inquiry asks staff to do three things: to present a plan to remove trucks from Manotick, to present considerations for conducting a truck route review City-wide, and to compare that with considerations for a similar review in the South end of the City with a focus on reviewing areas with bridges. We expect to hear back from staff in the following weeks.
What does this mean? First, and most importantly, staff will present an actual plan – a list of measures that must be funded and accomplished – to satisfy the condition of removing trucks from Manotick. This will provide a clear target so that I can work with my colleagues on funding an actual plan. It moves the goal of getting trucks out of Manotick from a theoretical idea to a tangible policy objective. Moreover, it will start the debate on truck routes more broadly so that, if the first option fails to move fast enough, I have other options to pursue to remove the heavy trucks.
With all that in mind, I wanted to use the rest of this column to outline what that inquiry is. The following is the full text of that inquiry:
Many of the fastest growing communities in Ottawa are in villages in the rural areas of the City. Moreover, many large warehouses and other businesses have begun operating in the south end of the City. This growth has led to increased commercial vehicle activity, particularly in the form of large transport trucks. Despite the significant degree of change in use patterns, these trucks navigate on designated routes which have not been comprehensively reviewed in many years.
Indeed, the last time in which comprehensive work was done to assess the City’s truck route network was in 2005. However, even this process was not a full truck route review; instead, it was a process of harmonization following amalgamation. This means that the amalgamated City of Ottawa has, in effect, never had a comprehensive truck route review.
This has led to serious challenges for many communities. Truck traffic has been routinely identified by residents as a major impediment to community wellbeing in Ottawa’s rural villages; this is perhaps especially true in Manotick. When excessive numbers of large vehicles transit local streets, there are major impacts related to business development, climate change, health, equity, and other concerns of high importance to the City that merit regular study. Moreover, truck traffic in rural villages was identified many times as part of ‘As We Heard It’ reports that staff produced in support of the updated Transportation Master Plan.
The major and acute issue in the City’s south end is a limited number of bridge crossings over the Rideau River. This has led to a significant and disproportionate increase in truck traffic pressures on very specific roads at and around bridges.
Policy 10 of the TMP Master Plan discusses the City’s approach to conducting a truck route network review. The direction which Council has approved is that the City’s truck route network will be updated following “the implementation of solutions to address interprovincial truck traffic in the downtown.” However, this does not account for the increase in truck traffic in the south end of the City, nor does it account for the increased traffic’s impacts on residents in those communities.
With that information in mind, can staff provide their advice as to the following questions:
- What measures would be necessary to remove Manotick Main Street between Bankfield and Century and Bridge Street between Manotick Main Street and River Road from the City’s Truck Route Network?
- What would be the costs, staffing requirements, timelines, benefits, and drawbacks associated with conducting a comprehensive review of the City’s Truck Route Network prior to the implementation of solutions to address interprovincial truck traffic?
- By way of comparison, what would be the costs, staffing requirements, timelines, benefits and drawbacks associated with conducting a limited review of truck routes in the City’s south end with a focus on where the truck routes interact with bridges across the Rideau River?
Featured Image – Manotick residents held a protest on Bridge Street last September regarding the high volume of trucks rolling through the village every day.