Lincoln mayor on truck bypass project: We need results for the sake of our citizens
A long-awaited report regarding truck safety in Beamsville is expected to be before councillors this summer, but in the meantime local politicians want to see something happen.
Whether that’s a staged approach or simply better communication with residents, whether it be good news or bad news, remains to be seen. However, for several members of Lincoln council, it’s time to do something.
“We really need to come up with some results here for the sake of our citizens,” said Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton.
Two years ago, councillors passed a motion regarding truck safety in town. The epicentre for concerns is downtown Beamsville, where trucks climbing or going down the escarpment frequently manoeuvre the tight quarters of the downtown on their way to Ontario Street and ultimately the QEW.
The long-term solution remains a new escarpment crossing that will connect to Bartlett Avenue in Grimsby.
However, that remains years in the future and requires a mountain of study and planning.
“Residents of Beamsville cannot wait for the major long-term Niagara Escarpment Crossing Project … to be designed and constructed before action is taken regarding trucks in the downtown urban area,” a staff report to committee of the whole reads.
Town staff identified a temporary solution through its transportation master plan, which would see traffic rerouted to Bartlett Road and Durham Road in Beamsville.
Current work into that bypass option has seen the town, along with the region and consultants IBI Group, mostly working with stakeholders and assessing what kind of upgrades will be required to make the bypass routes viable, and what potential issues they could cause.
That background work will continue in the coming months, with staff also looking at things such as railway crossings, street lighting, and analyzing the issue of trucks using town roads to bypass the Ministry of Transportation inspection stations.
Staff will also have to figure out how to let drivers know about the new routes when they become a reality, and enforcement.
“We’re developing what will be our signage strategy and our enforcement strategy,” said Director of Public Works Dave Graham.
Graham said staff will also look at ways to phase in changes so some improvements can be seen sooner rather than later.
And, according to the report, staff will be providing regular updates, using platforms like speakuplincoln.ca to keep residents up to date.
Better communication was something a few councillors stressed.
“People are asking what the hell is going on. I think we need to communicate,” said Coun. Tony Brunet.
Easton supported a staged approach and also better communication, saying the town needs to be straight with residents, when it’s good news or bad news.
One councillor, Greg Reimer, pumped the brakes a bit on the truck traffic debate, reminding his colleagues that it will be impossible to solve every perceived issue.
Local quarries, the massive construction boom and local food and wine businesses all mean trucks are going to be a fact of life.
“We just need to remember that some of those things aren’t going to change,” he said, adding he stressed the importance of truck safety.
Graham said a report should be forthcoming at a meeting in July or August.
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