Commercial traffic causes concern for residents

Penticton council looks to divert traffic to city's industrial area off of Warren Avenue

  • Dec. 29, 2011 7:00 p.m.

Penticton will rev up attempts to get revamped signage from the province, after City Hall received a petition signed by more than 140 people calling on the city to put the brakes on commercial vehicles allowed down Warren Avenue.

The petition states that residents don’t want to see Warren used as a commercial trucking route because industrial vehicles cause too much noise from the use of Jake brakes, squealing gear changes and the stop and startup sequences, in addition to safety concerns of those crossing the street as large vehicles barrel down the road.

“The City of Penticton spent thousands of dollars to upgrade Industrial Avenue as a ‘truck route,’ so why is this truck route not designated and used for same?” the petition states. “The ‘industrial area’ sign on the bypass should be located at Industrial Avenue not Warren Avenue.”

The petition also came with a diagram that illustrated the density of Warren Avenue: There are approximately 250 residents once the towers, multi-family units and residential facilities are factored in. It also pinpointed the location of community amenities like the Lions Park playground zone, pedestrian crossing for Parkway School, BMX track, baseball diamonds and Cherry Lane shopping centre.

Coun. John Vassilaki acknowledged the area has changed since it was first considered a trucking route. “Now there’s so much residential and a school there that now it’s not practical,” he said.

Coun. Garry Litke said the city’s transportation committee has reviewed the area before. It recommended what residents were calling for, and the city obliged with upgrades to Industrial Avenue. There was “significant push-back” from industrial users who didn’t want to lose a secondary access to the industrial area to the east of Main Street, he said, and commercial traffic flowed to other areas that hadn’t seen the vehicles previously.

Coun. Helena Konanz suggested the problem could be addressed at the source: changing the signage on Channel Parkway to indicate the truck route was up Industrial rather than Warren. “I think that would solve a lot of problems,” she said.

Staff indicated, however, that the provincial Ministry of Transportation must be consulted regarding highway signage.

Coun. Wes Hopkin mused that safety concerns may prompt the city to side with resident concerns, which didn’t get a warm welcome from others.

“The industrial area is increasingly important to the city’s tax base,” Mayor Dan Ashton said, adding that more than $200,000 was already spent on improvements to the area to address safety concerns. “I would challenge council to consider this one very carefully. I know this is going to take some thought.”

Hopkin, however, disagreed. “At the end of the day, this is going through a school zone and a residential area,” he said. “That simply has to take precedence.”

Coun. Judy Sentes moved that chief administrative officer Annette Antoniak work with ministry officials to relocate the sign. That motion was unanimously approved by council.