Saturday, July 9, 2011

Councillor seeks truck ban on Weston Rd.

A move to ban heavy trucks from Weston Rd. north of Highway 401 will only create headaches for residents of other streets, opponents say.
Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti secured enough support at the Etobicoke York community council to ban trucks 24/7 from Weston Rd. between Albion Rd. and Finch Ave. in the heart of his ward.
However, the plan will face opposition next week when it gets to city council, which has final say.
Community council went along with Mammoliti’s request despite a report from transportation staff that trucks will likely divert to Jane St. and Islington Ave.
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, who voted against the ban at community council, said traffic is like water: it will find the path of least resistance.
“If you were to stop all the trucks that take Weston Rd., they’re obviously going to take Jane or Islington or Kipling or Keele,” Holyday said, adding it’s bad for the economy to ban trucks.
“We are a big city and we do have a lot of commerce. It’s impossible to halt the commerce, in fact it would be totally detrimental to the economy to halt the commerce.”
Holyday will urge council to reject a 24/7 ban. But if it is approved, he will oppose Mammoliti’s “enormously costly” request to trumpet the ban by having the city send a letter to all property owners in his ward.
Mammoliti’s plan would definitely divert more trucks up Jane St., said residents of Neames Cres., whose back yards abut Jane north of Highway 401. They fear more truck traffic would put their homes’ foundations at risk.
“There must be a loose catch basin,” said 53-year resident Ted Gerry. “When a truck hits it at the wrong angle it literally makes the house shake.”
RamJeet Singh, who has lived next door for more than a decade, agreed. “If it’s a heavy load, the house vibrates,” Singh said.
Mammoliti’s move is purely political, said Councillor Anthony Perruzza, whose ward includes Jane St.
“That’s grand of Giorgio to chase a few votes on Weston Rd. but Jane St. is already heavily used. It’s as heavily used as Weston,” Perruzza said.
“It’s removing a problem from an area where he thinks he gets a few votes into an area where he thinks he doesn’t get any. The net benefit is a few more votes for Giorgio.
“And if you’re on Jane St., well too bad, so sad. You get more traffic, you get a few more trucks, because we want to turn Weston Rd. into a quieter street.”
Perruzza, who grew up on Weston Rd., said the five-lane thoroughfare runs through an industrial area serviced by trucks.
“Weston Rd. is a major arterial with buses and trucks. It’s bounded by a lot of industrial and commercial activity.”
Mammoliti said truckers should use Highway 400 but are trying to avoid the congestion.
For that reason, he said he’d support imposing a 24/7 ban on Jane St. as well to funnel truckers on to the 400.
In their report, transportation officials say major arterials like Weston play an important role in the movement of goods.
“Prohibiting heavy trucks on one arterial road can increase delivery times, emissions and the number of heavy trucks on alternate residential routes,” the report said.
With files from Tess Kalinowski
Streets where trucks are banned 24/7
Brimley Rd, 401 to Sheppard (Ward 41)
Brimley Rd., Eglinton to Ellesmere (Ward 38)
Bloor St. W., Jopling Ave to the Mississauga border (wards 5 and 3)
Dufferin St., adjacent to Yorkdale Shopping Centre (Ward 15)
Lake Shore Blvd. E., Coxwell to Woodbine (Ward 32)
Lawrence Ave. E., Mount Pleasant to Bayview (Ward 25)
Wilson Ave., Avenue Rd. to Yonge St. (Ward 16)
Woodbine Ave., Kingston Rd. to Lake Shore (Ward 32)
York Mills Rd., Bayview to Yonge St. (Ward 25)
University Ave., Dundas to College (University is the boundary between wards 27 and 20.)

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