The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA), working in cooperation with the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Manitoba Trucking Association, is asking the City of Thunder Bay to reconsider the policy option of designating Dawson Avenue and Arthur Street a community safety zone and rather lower speed limits and introduce photo radar to bolster enforcement these new speed limits.
When OTA appeared before Council in January, some city staff declared that Thunder Bay would not be given the authority to introduce photo radar in the immediate future. However, says Ontario Trucking Association president Stephen Laskowski, OTA consulted with the Ministry of Transportation, and that does not appear to be the case.
During OTA’s deputation on January 21, city officials were asked by council to clarify the ability to designate the Dawson Road/Arthur Street route a community safety zone and install photo radar to enforce lowered speed limits. In summary, city officials stated that Council would not be able to move immediately on such a policy as provincial regulations pertaining to this matter had not received final approvals and that it was thought this policy concept was being limited to a City of Toronto pilot program. Based on these facts, city officials concluded the introduction of photo radar would be a prolonged process and would not provide the city with a more immediate solution to solving its ongoing commercial vehicle safety issues in the area.
Since that Council meeting, OTA has contacted Ontario Ministry of Transportation officials and have received the following information:
The Highway Traffic Act has been amended to allow municipalities to implement photo radar within a designated Community Safety Zone. The associated regulations for ticket processing are not yet in place. The current target date for the implementation of the regulation is the end of 2019. The City of Thunder Bay is able to participate in the regulation preparations as part of the operational framework development group that is being organized through the Ontario Traffic Council.
OTA has written all council members to share this information and is strongly encouraging the City of Thunder Bay to work with the Ontario Traffic Council to establish Dawson Road/Arthur Street as a community safety zone and install photo radar as a solution to improving road safety in the City of Thunder Bay.
“For over a decade, OTA has been told that the commercial vehicle safety issue the City of Thunder Bay wishes to resolve is truck speeds along Dawson Road/Arthur Street. The proposed new truck route does not resolve the issue of truck speeds, but the OTA proposal to designate portions of the current truck route a community safety zone, enforced by photo radar does,” said Laskowski.
OTA is also examining the multitude of conflicting reports regarding truck counts in the area and the impacts to local traffic by the proposed new truck route. OTA will be issuing a report on the proposed truck route to council before their next meeting.