THE CITY has been given a petition signed by nearly all of the businesses along the western section of Keith Ave., asking it to re-open the closed Frank St. level rail crossing.
Closed to vehicle traffic by CN June 11 under the orders of Transport Canada for safety reasons, the Frank St. crossing is a needed outlet for the transportation of goods and material, the petition states.
Copies also went to Skeena – Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen and Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin.
The closure of the Frank St. crossing on the western end of Keith Ave. means trucks and other vehicles have access to Hwy16 and the rest of Terrace only by using the Kenney St. level crossing and the Sande Overpass to the east.
“The closing of Frank St. leaves us doing business on a one-way dead end street with limited and congested access,” the petition states.
“Closing Frank Street, without an alternative. also has the undesired effect of significantly increasing traffic on both the Kenney level crossing and the poorly designed Sande Overpass.”
The crossing was ordered closed after a train nearly hit a logging truck blocking the tracks June 4.
The problem is that there is not enough room between the tracks crossing Frank St. and the intersection of Frank St. and the Hwy16 for a longer truck to wait until it is safe to turn onto the highway.
The result is that back sections of longer vehicles sit on the tracks.
Petition signers noted that both the Kenney St. crossing and the Sande Overpass are “virtually unworkable and certainly not designed for commercial traffic, especially the levels that we are experiencing and which will only get busier.”
“The residents of the Southside also deserve safe unfettered access to their residences and do not deserve to have large trucks carrying dangerous goods [go] past their homes. Firelighters have expressed concern about being able to promptly access the Southside in case of a disaster or traffic tie ups on the two remaining access points.”
The city has been told it can have Frank St. re-opened but only to short vehicles and if there is enforcement of a ban on long trucks.
Petitioners also noted that the closure comes at a time of a commercial and building boom on Keith Ave., the result of an economy that’s improving following years of decline.
“We, the undersigned, urge the immediate re-opening of Frank Street while a long term solution such as a new crossing can be designed and built with proper consultation,” the petition states.
Terrace mayor Dave Pernarowski met with Cullen and Austin June 15 to discuss the issue.
A long-term option is another overpass but both CN and the provincial transportation ministry have told the city that’s not needed.
They’ve also said there’s no money to build one in any event.