Until an industrial road is built around Port Alberni, truck traffic should be directed down Third Avenue—or so say concerned Anderson Avenue residents.
Almost a dozen Anderson Avenue residents came to city council on Monday night to protest more trucks being sent through their neighbourhood.
“We have more than enough truck traffic already,” said Anderson Avenue resident Vicki Drybrough.
“Dump trucks, fuel trucks, tanker trucks, logging trucks, chip trucks, scrap trucks and lumber trucks to name a few.”
In the summer, that traffic increases with campers, RVs and trucks pulling boats and trailers, Drybrough added.
“Last Thursday morning, I parked along the Anderson/ Argyle intersection from 8:02–8:45 a.m. and 425 vehicles went through that intersection that school children use. And you’re going to put logging truck traffic there too?”
Compounding the issue, Drybrough added, is the lack of stop signs and sidewalks along Anderson Avenue.
“There are only two stop signs on Anderson Avenue,” she said.
“One is at the crosswalk where little kids cross to get to Maquinna Elementary and the other is at the crosswalk young children now use when walking to E.J. Dunn Elementary.”
The lack of sidewalks, she added, means more children waiting for buses or walking to school must walk along the edge of the street.
It wouldn’t be such a problem, Drybrough said, if all truck drivers followed the rules.
“While there are a few who have been driving our streets for years, obeying the speed limit and making as little noise as possible, all drivers are not created equal,” she said. A couple of months ago, a driver of a loaded logging truck failed to check his brakes and had a runaway from Ship Creek onto Third Avenue, she said.
“Fortunately, no one was hurt,” Drybrough said, adding that it could have been much worse.
“Can you imagine if that truck had been travelling down Anderson?”
The lack of stop signs and the speeds easily built up by truck drivers have earned Anderson Avenue the monicker “Anderson Avenue luge,” Drybrough added.
Sometimes, that speed leaves trucks unable to stop on time, she said.
“Two weeks ago I saw another professional driver who was going too fast down Anderson Avenue jam on his brakes and come to a stop a third of the way into the Maquinna school intersection,” she said.
“There were two kids in the crosswalk.”
Drybrough said that while she understands that truck traffic means jobs, the trucks should go down the route originally intended for them.
“If they are directed to use Redford, 10th and Anderson, they will be plotting a route where they have to make multiple lane changes, right and left hand turns that take them into oncoming traffic lanes, all the while watching out for pedestrians, people in motorized wheelchairs, school children and others,” said Drybrough.
“If they use Third Avenue, they stay in one lane all the way through, other drivers always know where they will be and because there are two lanes in each direction, they’re able to pass and continue safely on their way.”
Drybrough feels the struggles of businesses on Third Avenue but says they are not comparable to those of the residents on Anderson.
“I sympathize with the businesses on Third Avenue but by directing the logging truck traffic on Anderson you have gone from just a handful of people unable to drink coffee on the patio to hundreds of residents unable to use their porch, patio, deck or garden,” she said.
“Businesses are only open 9-5, we’re subjected to noise from 4 a.m. onwards.”
Coun. Sharie Minions told Drybrough that it wasn’t council’s intention to send more trucks down Anderson Avenue.
“Part of what’s been talked about in public is certainly that we’ve said we’d like to increase Anderson Avenue truck traffic but I don’t think that’s anybody’s intention here,” Minions said, to audible relief from the residents.
Instead, Mayor Mike Ruttan said that the city is considering a waterfront industrial route due to it being less expensive than a ring road.
“We’ve acquired most of the land for that one. A big part of it is already built, it just needs some upgrade,” said Ruttan.
“It’s something that’s doable for us financially… the other one is longer term, much more expensive and would involved significant cooperation with two senior levels of government.”