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Ayr, Ont. residents seek relief as trucks squeeze into downtown core – Truck News

The residents of a small town in western Ontario fed up with trucks squeezing into their tiny downtown streets want the heavy commercial vehicles banned or diverted from the area.

Ayr resident Jeff Gilchrist told TruckNews.com that the trucks cannot make these turns safely on the narrow streets without driving on sidewalks or traffic having to back up to let them through. He added that trucks have also damaged the cenotaph at the corner of Northumberland and Stanley streets.

“This is dangerous,” he said. “The drivers honk and yell at us to back up. One guy told me ‘You should appreciate us more’.”

Two trucks on a narrow Ayr road.
A truck rolls by on the wrong side of a narrow two-way street to pass a parked commercial vehicle in downtown Ayr, Ont. (Photo: Jeff Gilchrist)

Region of Waterloo councillor Kari Williams has tabled a motion to be considered next week on the planning and public works agenda to study solutions, including a truck ban in the downtown area.

“I’ve seen the damage to both trucks and infrastructure. It isn’t safe for pedestrians or for truck drivers if they can’t make the turns,” she said. The study would help both residents and the trucking industry that services the area’s farms and gravel pits.

Damage to infrastructure

Williams’ motion notes that there have been numerous safety issues, disruptions to businesses and residents, physical damages to township infrastructure that include a monument, roads, sidewalks, and utility poles, as well as damage to the trucks.

It adds that there is limited space for large vehicles of varying types to navigate downtown Ayr as well as limited areas to stop and park.

Truck wheels on the sidewalk
A truck commercial vehicle uses the sidewalk to make a tight turn on street in Ayr, Ont. (Photo: Jeff Gilchrist)

Williams wants the region’s staff to consult citizens and businesses and explore interim measures such as posting signage warning oversized vehicles of the limitations of the downtown route using Swan Street, Stanley Street and Northumberland Street, speed reductions in high traffic pedestrian areas, and work with local industry to ensure communication to provide information to truck drivers of the limitations of the area.

Residents planning to move from town

Gilchrist has been living in the small town for a year but is ready to move. “I just bought this house. I’m going to finish my renovation and we’re probably going to sell the house because of this.”

He added some of his neighbors are also planning to move. The sounds of trucks hitting the curb or the median keep him awake in the middle of the night. He estimates more than 500 to 600 trucks go through the downtown core every day.

Williams added that residents are okay with smaller trucks making local deliveries, but in the past couple of years the number of bigger and heavier commercial vehicles are driving through the town. She said there are better routes for trucks that might take a couple of extra minutes to drive.

The region’s planning and works meeting is set for April 24.


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