Two weeks ago, a transport truck was turning at the corner of Rideau Street and Waller Street. It was 6 am on Friday, February 21, and a pedestrian was about to die. The truck, presumably not seeing the person crossing the street, ran the woman over and continued on its way. It was a hit and run, but according to police it was more likely attributed to negligence rather than malice. The driver probably didn’t even know what he or she had done.
A while ago, I wrote about the failure of the Kettle Island Bridge project. All levels of government had agreed to it, and it would have been a boon to lowertown and the Rideau St. area. Sadly, Ontario cancelled. Yes, there is talk of a tunnel under downtown, but nothing is confirmed. Large transport trucks still rumble down Rideau Street, cutting through sections of downtown and lowertown.
It’s a problem of which most are aware. The trucks do not fit on the roads. Rideau and Waller are not designed for trucks. King Edward Avenue has been turned into a massive scar, destroying neighbourhoods in order to fit these trucks. But there’s really no reason for the trucks to even be there.
Oh sure, there are reasons of sorts, excuses really–poor Quebec infrastructure, lack of bridges, whatever–but none of those are actually justifications. Rideau and the surrounding streets should not be used as shipping lanes for massive vehicles taking goods that are not from Ottawa to places that are not in Ottawa. So, there is a simple solution: get the trucks off Rideau Street.
Ban them. Just ban them. The city has the power to do this. Merivale Road has long had protection from commercial vehicles. The same can be done with Rideau Street. There are very few downsides to this.
The big downside would be getting supplies to stores and businesses on Rideau. Of course, we could easily accomplish this. Exemptions would work. Banning trucks from the McDonald-Cartier Bridge at the end of King Edward would help. Most trucks aren’t doing local deliveries, they’re just passing through. That’s what needs to stop, not the occasional delivery on Rideau Street.
There is a cost to this, of course. Trucking companies and their clients will see costs increase, but that’s not really the concern of City Hall or the people of Ottawa. Our lives are not subordinate to someone else’s cheap freight. Our city has not been constructed to subsidize private corporations. The increased cost of doing business would not be an <i>additional</i> cost to these companies; it would be an expense they could no longer socialize. It’s a price that they would have to pay themselves. It is only fair that they stop passing this price along to the residents of Ottawa.
Especially since the price is the life of one pedestrian, at least.