Council favours trucker ban on Ellis

The days of heavy trucks using Ellis Street may be numbered.

The Kelowna City Council took one more step in its Monday meeting to ban large commercial trucks from rumbling along Ellis Street.

Councillors favoured a recommendation by Transportation and Mobility Engineering Traffic Technician Randy Olivera and approved a measure to move forward with the plan. The City will now ask for public feedback from residents, business owners and truckers on the proposal to drop the main north-south truck route in Kelowna. The plan recommends trucks coming into Kelowna from the W.R. Bennett Bridge on Harvey Avenue pass by Ellis, instead turning left (northbound) onto Gordon Drive to the industrial north end.
The City also must work with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, which must approve the installation of a left-turn light at the intersection of Harvey and Gordon. Currently, the intersection cannot safely or easily accommodate heavy trucks turning northbound. Discussions between the city and province on the matter have been ongoing.
The proposal is designed to make Ellis more friendly to pedestrians. Residents, especially those in new condominiums built along the street in recent years, have complained about noise and grime. Opponents of the measure, on the other hand, estimate it will cost the local trucking industry about $600,000 a year in operating expenses to use other routes to the north end. 
Truckers complain that they have already made many concessions. In 2010, the City amended the hours of operation along the truck route from 24 hours a day to daily between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Olivera said an average of about 400 heavy trucks a day use Ellis Street during those hours. 
Olivera said the soonest Ellis could be declared completely off-limits would be Fall 2013.
John Sleeper


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