Lots of chatter recently about truck traffic in Ottawa’s core.
In case you missed it, there was a letter-to-the-editor war on the Sun op-ed pages between National Capital Commission chairman Russell Mills and Ottawa-Vanier MP Mauril Belanger.
Mills’ letter is in this group and he refers to the Belanger newsletter found here.
Belanger fires back with his own letter.
Mayor Jim Watson has been talking recently about the possibility of a truck-only toll tunnel between Hwy. 417 and the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge, essentially somewhere under Lowertown and Sandy Hill.
All the hubbub of discussion has prompted the Downtown Rideau BIA to get in on the action:
In response to Russell Mill’s recent letter and Jon Willing’s Tunnel article
November 20, 2013
Protect Kettle Island Corridor in TMP as future crossing option
We echo the concerns raised in letters from Russell Mills and Sandra Martin in the last two days regarding truck traffic on Rideau Street downtown. We are still awaiting a response from the Ontario Minister of Transportation, Glen Murray, to our letter sent to him on September 5, 2013 regarding the province’s decision to no longer support a new interprovincial crossing at Kettle Island. The Minister’s decision came as quite a shock since the province spent $2.3 million tax dollars to select the “preferred corridor”, only to reject the study’s outcome so lightly.
Any concerns regarding the “livability of communities” along the Kettle Island Corridor is not supported by facts. There is simply no possible rational comparison between issues of livability in the Kettle Island Corridor with setbacks between 80-300 meters from trucks, to the existing situation on Rideau Street in Downtown Rideau with setbacks of less than 1 meter between long-haul heavy trucks and tens of thousands of pedestrians, tourists residents, businesses and local heritage, tourism and cultural landmarks such as the University of Ottawa, Ottawa Art Gallery, Arts Court, Ottawa Convention Centre, Rideau Centre and the Westin, Novotel, Les Suites and Quality hotels.
Recent suggestions of a toll tunnel for truck traffic is an unworkable solution and only serves to delay. Tunnels in most jurisdictions have restrictions prohibiting trucks carrying hazardous materials and dangerous goods. Where do these trucks go? Remain on the surface of the existing route? How does this solve the existing problem? Can the government even impose a toll on interprovincial goods movement? Government policies throughout North America require alternative non-toll routes whenever a toll is implemented. Where will the non-toll route be?
Clearly this subject is complex and requires strong leadership committed to implementing and building a solution to remove truck traffic from downtown now! Until then, the City of Ottawa should remove the truck route from the downtown’s main street, Rideau Street, to provide immediate relief to the community impacted by the interprovincial truck route and protect the 15,000 employees, 400 businesses, 700 hotel rooms, 40,000 students and 6,000 residents who have suffered far too long.
Most importantly, the City of Ottawa should be including the Kettle Island Corridor, and all other available crossing corridors, in its Transportation Master Plan (TMP) going before City Council November 26, 2013, to protect options for future interprovincial crossings to resolve this 45+ year-old problem, once and for all.
Downtown Rideau Business Improvement Area