Public meeting for truck bypass, downtown improvements provides options

·4 min read

NORTH PERTH – The downtown core of Listowel continues to be a problem that can’t be solved easily. On Wednesday, June 15, the municipality hosted a public meeting for community members to come and review what it has uncovered regarding Wallace Avenue South and the proposed truck bypass plan.

The Wallace pilot program, which converted the southbound leg of the road to a one-way, with an emergency lane for EMS, northbound, will return to council for a final decision to be made. The trial benefitted flow through the Main Street/Wallace Avenue intersection and queues were reduced. There continues to be delays for traffic travelling from south Listowel to the north and although some on-street parking was returned, some remains removed. Although the all-way stop at Wallace and Elma works well, traffic on Elma and other side streets have increased.

The North Perth Transportation Master Plan (TMP) study has investigated the efficacy of a truck bypass plan that will redirect commercial trucks away from the downtown core, unless making local deliveries. Trucks affected by this proposed plan are class seven to 13 trucks, under the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Vice-president and Chief Development Officer of Paradigm Transportation Solutions Limited (PTSL), Gene Chartier, says that the reason for the cut off at class seven is because certain vehicles – like a common dump truck – is class six.

PTSL is consulting the municipality on the proposal. It has conducted studies regarding the numbers of trucks passing through and possible routes. What’s maybe surprising is the amount of trucks doing “internal” trips in town.

According to PTSL’s origin-destination study on May 10, trucks coming up Highway 23 54 per cent of the time remain within town. Twenty-three per cent continue up 23, 11 per cent go east on Line 86, and 12 per cent go west on 86. Trucks heading southbound on Highway 23 stay within town 65 per cent of the time. Seventeen per cent continue on 23, 12 per cent travel east on 86, and six per cent travel west on 86.

Trucks heading westbound on 86 stay internally 59 per cent of the time. Twenty-nine per cent of the time they leave on 86. They go south on 23 five per cent of the time and north on 23 seven per cent of the time. Trucks heading eastbound on 86 stay within town 52 per cent of the time and continue on 86 34 per cent of the time. They head north on 23 two per cent and south 12 per cent.

Chartier says that the study videotaped stations at the four exit points and matched trucks that came in and out over a 12-hour period. He says it is conceivable that other times of the day might have different percentages – or that there were mistakes made in matching trucks. Furthermore, some trucks might have left at other points in Listowel. Overall, they believe it is a fairly representative sample of the trucks that come in and out of the city.

The proposed plan has detailed possible routes for the bypass – on Line 84 and Perth Road 147 to Line 86 and Line 87 to Road 165 and Road 149. The investment into the bypass will be more than signage and enforcement, as Chartier said.

“In all likelihood, it will be a bigger investment,” he clarified. “Because not all of the roads are up to a standard that can regularly accommodate trucks. This is really to set the foundations for a future plan of improvements. If at the end of the day we end up with one of the routes that is showing, then part of the implementation plan will be to say ‘you need to reconstruct this road from this leg to this standard.’ But since we haven’t decided where it’s going to go yet, we can’t.

“We don’t have that ability to say exactly which roads need to be upgraded or where.”

The TMP report will be prepared for North Perth council’s consideration later this summer, though no date is set.

The full presentation can be seen at www.northperth.ca/en/our-community/construction-projects.aspx?_mid_=23426.

Connor Luczka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner

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