Traffic Laws and Unintended Consequences

vinyl-decal-sticker-8006If you were to drive east down Fifth Avenue from Bank Street, you might notice this sign (or you might not, it’s not really that noticeable, but you’re totally supposed to notice it). In case you don’t speak red-circle-with-red-slash, the sign dictates no trucks. Big, heavy trucks–construction trucks, delivery trucks–aren’t supposed to go down this road. Right at Bank Street, there are some restaurants and businesses, but further along it’s just residential units (except for the fire hall way at the end). It’s a wide street and can lead to the QED or the Queensway, so it makes sense to keep it from becoming a truck thoroughfare (since we know what that can lead to).

Does anyone think this will actually keep trucks off of Fifth?

One block to the south is small, residential one-way street. It’s a block and it leads to another short, narrow residential one-block street. That street connects with Fifth. These two streets–Regent and Howick, respectively–don’t have one of those nice picture-of-a-truck-in-a-red-circle-with-a-red-slash-through-it signs.

Regent is a street with at least 5 to 10 children (who often play outside), at least that many dogs and also a number of cats. There’s on-street parking on one side that fills up quite quickly and eternally. And children play. And people live.

And because Fifth Avenue–the wide street with traffic lights and multiple businesses–won’t allow trucks to enter from Bank Street, the trucks are tacitly encouraged to take Regent to Howick to Fifth, driving on roads that are not meant for vehicles of that size or for excessive traffic loads (unlike Fifth).

Fifth Avenue is considered part of Ottawa’s (woefully neglected) bike infrastructure. In addition, there is a plan to use it as a shuttle route to get commuters into the new Lansdowne village (because that’s how you build an authentic urban village, bus people in!). I image these are the justifications for trying to keep trucks off of Fifth, but it’s clearly not working.

The traffic measure the city has implemented does not keep trucks off of Fifth, it merely forces them onto even less-ideal streets before they wind up on Fifth, anyway. The city needs to either bar trucks from Regent and Howick, or let them back on Fifth.

Or they could just get these inappropriately-large vehicles out of our urban, residential neighbourhoods.

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