WE NEED PROTECTION FROM ROAD GIANTS
Take another look at this picture which looks like a trucking depot rather than a side street in Etobicoke ,
Once upon a time, Elsfield was generally quiet and empty after the parents and the kids had finished sloshing back and forth to Sunnylea, a junior school just across from the snout of that giant dump truck.But what happened the other day is what has been inflicted too often on older Toronto streets where monster houses are being created out of simple bungalows, or giant rigss try to escape traffic jams by taking a shortcut through the leafy peace.
It is not unusual for contractors to set up heavy housekeeping on a street so pickups and trucks of all sizes, skids of material, an outhouse and fences poison the ambience with obstruction, noise and dirt.
What you see above is West York Paving sending a gang around to finish a small short driveway for a swollen rebuilt house that no longer matches the neighbourhood.
Now the big dump truck, the pickup sandwiched behind, and a second giant dump truck towing a long flatbed trailer with several roller machines on it, arrived just before school ended on a street with no sidewalks that still had garbage bins on either side. There are another two trucks separated by a few cars from the first wall of vehicles, so half the street was filled.
It is a two-way street which you wouldn't know from the picture because all the red monsters are parked illegally, with the left or wrong wheels to the curb side. In addition, as can be seen, the first truck sticks out past the Stop Sign into Glenroy, which is the first east-west street for some distance north of The Queensway and is used too heavily as a result. A dangerous school zone!
The first trucks and the dump truck-flatbed combo monstrosity stretched for 200 feet or five houses and four driveways. Good luck to neighbour with tha metal wall. If the garbage trucks had tried to come down the street for this hour or so, they wouldn't have been able to get through,
What the careless workers of West York Paving created was a dangerous arrogant gauntlet for pedestrians and private vehicles.
All of this expensive machinery was there, with drivers hidden behind tinted glass, so one man working and one man watching could put a new surface on a driveway. All this equipment wasn't producing work but the drivers did get a long break.
The provincial transport minister which sets the rules for the weight, width and length of all trucks, especially these monster, has a confusing Internet site which, probably deliberately, doesn't state baldly without obfuscation when our dump trucks, tractor trailers and other industrial equipment are too wide and too long. But it looks like it is 14.65 metres or 48 ' in length for the basic kit, or some times 16.2 metres or 53', but then there is a special license deal for a few combos of almost 75 feet.
I pointed out once to a trucker delivering new Toyotas that his entire rig was longer than 75 feet. He shrugged and said he would be at this same spot every week, sticking out into a major artery, and no one had ever complained.
This just can't continue. It is plain that corporations will push every possible dimension in their vehicles. After all, even the typical lawn care equipment now has an extended pickup and a trailer that seems to grow every week. They often have to stretch over two driveways.
Just take a look at the lengthy rigs that deliver shingles which stretch to such an extent, I think you can see the curvature of the earth. They manoeuvre down small streets like drunken beetles. They even hang a machine off the back to move the bundles around, which just adds to the dangerous exoskeleton of jutting metal that can punch in your windows. .
I think it is plain that the police and the provincial authorities have to do a better job in sensible rules and enforcement when we have so many tractor trailers roll over like a sow in a pigpen. Every day or two, some highway is blocked by a collapsed truck. The cost of the resulting traffic jam to private drivers in time and money is enormous.
Outfits like Wal-Mart are now congratulated by supposed environmentalists when they use oversized delivery rigs. You see, it saves on gas (and hiring drivers), even if the goliaths pound the crap out of our roads and intimidate people into avoiding the 400 series of super roads.
Driving around this city is tough enough since we have a Wild West show every rush hour due to the the abdication of politicians and officials from common sense measures. A good start would be a real study into whether our trucks, even our delivery vehicles, have been allowed to grow too large.
It would also help if a paving company didn't send a couple of hundred feet of rolling scarlet machines just to finish a driveway that was smaller than the yawning hold of just one of the dump trucks.