Monday, August 25, 2008

Drive all night for a greener planet?

While it's not on the front burner and most likely won't be seeing the light of the moon in the near future, the idea of shifting a lot of the truck traffic in Prince Rupert to night time is being discussed as a way to reduce our carbon footprint in the province.

The B. C. Climate Action Team came up with the plan to change our traffic patterns for the good of the planet as part of report on climate change.

Their findings which are a tad premature considering the volume of traffic to and from the container port, did however spur on more debate about a dedicated truck route from the Port to Ridley Island, which may avoid the downtown area completely and travel along the waterfront westward.

The Climate Action Teams discussion points made for a feature article in the August 11th Daily News.

Climate plan calls for more night traffic
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Monday, august 11, 2008
Pages one and three

A plan by the B. C. Climate Action Team could see more trucks leaving the Prince Rupert Port at night rather than day.

According to the Climate Team’s report, it would be better to have container trucks work at night driving through urban areas to avoid traffic congestion and idling at stops.

Jeff Burghardt, president and CEO of Prince Rupert Grain Ltd., said that the idea is a step towards environmental stewardship that the Prince Rupert Port Authority needs to examine.

“In terms of Prince Rupert this plan at this moment is not going to affect Second Avenue (because) the truck traffic is quite limited,” said Burghardt.

“But once we go to phase two we need to look at what are the proper access points to the terminal.

Right now the plan is in a model stage and port authorities and shipping industry members have yet to implement it.

Retailers like Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire would also have to give their consent because they would need to adjust their schedule when it comes to receiving goods.

“We haven’t received any specific reaction yet from retailers like Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire but they have been generally supportive of these types of endeavours. The trick is they don’t want to pay more for this type of thing. We have to show them a model that make sense economically for them to go along with this.”

Until phase two of the Prince Rupert port growth plan is realized there is little reason for Rupertites to get worried that their night out downtown will be ruined by truck traffic. However, Burghardt did say that the city already sees some night traffic and if the city wants to avoid it in the future a primary truck route would have to be created.

Burghardt said that the port users were hopeful by phase two a new route would be ready for use outside of the city’s core.

“The question is: do you build a new road access on Wantage Road or from Ridley Island? There has to be some consideration for the access from Ridley Island because phase two will bring us much closer to Ridley Island.”

Rupertites would not have to shoulder the burden of payment for upgrading Wantage Road, as the province would find the construction of a new access road from Ridley Island.

Currently the Fairview Container Port runs 24 hours when ships are in and the grain port on Ridley Island runs 18-hour days, from 8 a.m.-to-midnight.

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