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OPINION: Heavy truck traffic a problem for Summerside businesses

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Kim Barton

Guest Opinion

Salutations from downtown Summerside! Summer is here. The streets echo the sounds and smells of the ever-so-short season ... but hold on Downtown Summerside! What do I hear, see and taste rumbling down the centre (yes, the centre) of Water Street? Transport trucks, dump trucks and cement trucks utilizing the downtown core (and other Summerside infrastructure) in probability to bypass the construction at Granville and Highway 2. At the rate of speed these drivers plough past my storefront, I know well and good they are not making any deliveries. I have witnessed them not only driving in the centre of the road and driving at hazardous speeds, but have also seen a truck go through an intersection at a red light. These transport drivers have 18 gears to get through — they don’t stop “on a dime,” so if a pedestrian should be in their path, I would suggest the outcome would be tragic.

A challenge already exists at getting people in the downtown core (again). Downtown Summerside has been working hard at establishing a walking path for shoppers. They have put a lot of effort into creating a novelty environment downtown with painted benches, chairs, poster boards and more. They organized the first “Grub Crawl” a couple of weeks ago that was a great success at bringing people to Water Street again. Businesses are anxious to get their retail savvy on point for a successful summer season. This season, in many cases, supports businesses for the rest of the year, when business generally slows down. Certainly the noise, the dirt and the danger the transport trucks present is not conducive to outside bistros, people walking their pets (or children) or someone wanting to stroll the street to do some shopping at their favourite stores.

I have contacted the police. They suggested I contact my local councillor.

I contacted my councillor — and she referred me to the CAO of the City of Summerside.

He suggested calling the police. In consolation, he suggested that the construction project should be completed in a couple of weeks and concluded that our transport trouble would be all cleared up. If this is the case, it remains that my retail business (like most, being summer and tourists) remains negatively impacted. It should also be noted that policing remains within the confines of what is enforceable; if there is no posted deterrence, then there isn’t much police can do. Certainly the speed limit of 40 km/h is viable. However, I would bet my next lobster dinner that these transports (and other vehicles for that matter) do not abide by this posting. Would it be too much to ask, along with the 40 km/h speed limit, that consideration is made to have weight restrictions on trucks in the downtown core of Summerside?

Do we have to wait until something “tragic” happens for some action to be taken?

Kim Barton is the owner of The Hive Nurturing the Creative Self in Summerside.

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