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Cambridge, Ont., downtown truck ban cuts number of trucks by half – Truck News

The truck ban implemented last year in downtown Cambridge, Ont., is working, with hundreds of heavy vehicles diverted from the area daily, a report revealed.

“The introduction of the truck ban reduced the number of trucks by approximately 50-60%,” Kornel Mucsi, manager of transportation planning, transportation services, Region of Waterloo, told TruckNews.com.

Truck volumes were monitored between September 2023 and March 2024 at key locations and gradually a significant reduction was observed, according to a report presented to the regional council recently.

Picture of a street in downtown Cambridge, Ont.
(Photo: iStock)

The ban was introduced in October 2023 and prohibits trucks on Water Street from Ainslie Street South to Coronation Boulevard/Dundas Street; Ainslie Street South from Concession Street to Water Street; Myers Road from Water Street to Franklin Boulevard; and Concession Street from Ainslie Street South to Dundas Street. Exceptions are made for local deliveries.

Water Street south of the Delta saw a 56% reduction – from 1,210 to 530 trucks per day, according to the report. Water Street and Ainslie Street north of Concession saw the number down by 60% – from 1,090 to 440 daily. On Concession Street east of Ainslie Street numbers dropped 64% – from 630 to 230 a day.

“It has been reasonably successful with 60% compliance to date,” said Doug Craig, Region of Waterloo councillor. “It is hoped and preferred that compliance will increase by using better signage and education regarding these new routes as opposed to simply relying on police enforcement.” 

Education and enforcement

Mucsi noted that the opening of McQueen Shaver Boulevard attracted about 20-25% of trucks away from downtown streets. The reduction has been gradual since the start of the ban and has been leveling off.

He added that many of the trucks that are on downtown streets are delivering or picking up goods, but there are also truck drivers who are not aware of the diversion. Those could be further reduced by continued education and enforcement.

The report stated that while the existing signage and ongoing police enforcement resulted in a significant reduction of trucks on downtown streets, the current physical design of streets continues to provide shortcut opportunities for some truck drivers.

Truck drivers warned, ticketed

By mid-March 2024, Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) conducted 67 traffic stops regarding commercial motor vehicles in the downtown core, 54 drivers were issued a warning or provided education, 13 drivers were charged with the applicable Highway Traffic Act offence of disobeying a sign.

Officers noted some challenges at the initial stage of the enforcement regarding signage, specifically the lack of upstream directions given to truck drivers as they approached the restricted areas, the report noted.

The region’s staff received complaints from trucking companies on the additional length of the diversion routes due to the inclusion of Concession Street on the streets banned for trucks.

Redesigning streets

Region of Waterloo’s Mucsi said there are two approaches to influence driver behaviour – enforcement by police services and road design. “WRPS has been an excellent partner in education and enforcement. Enforcement by design could be an effective long-term approach. This includes redesigning the streets through future projects so that they become less attractive for cut through traffic and large vehicles,” he said.

Regional staff is monitoring the number of trucks at key locations. Future reconstruction projects, including the reconstruction of Ainslie Street and Water Street will consider elements of enforcement by design, according to Musci.

Aside from continuous police enforcement, the most effective way to discourage trucks from using downtown streets is to envision, plan and implement the redesign of downtown streets that focus more on movement by walking and cycling and less on movement by vehicles, the report suggested.

The region’s staff anticipates that ongoing enforcement may be required until physical design changes are made to Ainslie Street, Water Street, and Concession Street through upcoming reconstruction projects.


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