Mission residents and businesses looking to silence the “thunder” of truck traffic downtown will be happy to hear there is some progress in council’s quest to do just that.
People have complained for years about giant commercial trucks rumbling down First Avenue, with concerns about the noise and safety.
“Anyone who has walked along First Avenue is aware of the disturbing noise and pollution from huge trucks, including logging trucks, that thunder through the narrow street in a rush to deliver their loads to wherever they need to go,” said Anna Bruic in a previous letter to the Mission Record. “This is not a place to stroll and enjoy the quaint little stores and coffee shops that border First Avenue. I personally stay away most of the time. I don’t like to listen to the noise and breathe the foul air.”
That kind of sentiment from shoppers concerns the Mission Downtown Business Association, which represents 150 businesses, property owners and non-profit societies. The group wrote the B.C. Ministry of Transportation in 2021 supporting the concept of re-routing heavy industrial traffic from the downtown area of First Avenue from Murray to Grand Street to the proposed Highway 7 bypass via the Murray Street overpass.
“This re-route will contribute substantially to a more pleasant, welcoming and enjoyable experience downtown through increasing both the actual and perceived safety of pedestrians, enabling more opportunities for members to effectively engage with pedestrians, and facilitating more community engagements in public events,” the association wrote. “The impact (truck traffic) has on local businesses cannot be understated.”
Mayor Paul Horn says that council now feels “encouraged” after a recent meeting with Rob Fleming, minister of transportation and infrastructure at the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference.
Fleming told council that MOTI staff are in the “design phase” for re-routing trucks off of First Avenue, a significant step forward, Horn told the Record. Council was also told that MOTI is completing repairs to the Murray/Glasgow overpass, Horn said.
Short-term asphalt patching is being replaced with concrete repairs that will be more durable and maintain a smoother surface, Horn said, adding there may also be funds available for painting. Council is pushing for that to be done at the same time.
“UBCM meetings rarely lead to specific agreements, but we left highly encouraged that MOTI was taking Mission’s needs seriously,” Horn told the Record. “We discussed a multi-phased approach that begins with repairing the Murray/Glasgow overpass and rerouting trucks. MOTI has committed to fixing the surface and is currently designing the ingredients for a truck route. They committed to assigning a senior ministerial staffperson to help us move forward with planning a more complete bypass in the future.”