Campbell presents truckers’ perspective on street redevelopment to council

Rob Campbell
Rob Campbell addressed council Monday with a truckers perspective about the redevelopment of Beckwith Street. Photo credit: Sally Smith.
Posted on: March 26, 2019

Again, amidst honking, hollering and barking dog, Smiths Falls council welcomed two delegations to chambers Monday night. Rob Campbell of Campbell Trucking brought a different perspective to councillors about the Beckwith Street Redevelopment Project, for which Councillor Dwyer, in the chair, thanked him.

Campbell, a resident of the Town, said he has spent many years looking over the big white hood of a truck, driving both up and down Beckwith Street having passed his A Licence on his eighteenth birthday.

His contention is that traffic needs to be kept moving on Beckwith as it’s a King’s Highway whereas other smaller towns have county roads running through them. “There’s no other place to put those trucks,” he adds, citing examples of the ease of driving on Beckwith with angle parking versus through other small towns i.e. Perth with parallel parking. There, he says, every time a car parks, stops, backs in, it interrupts the flow of traffic. “If they’re good at it, it only takes 15 seconds,” he says. But in Smiths Falls, he continues, with angle parking it’s a mere drive-in and park, no stopping.

He did allow that getting out was a bigger problem.

The issue for truckers is pulling a 70 ton gross load — the stopping and starting, combined with street lights, might mean “shifting gears six times” to “lift the truck up” and get to the light. “With angle parking, the truck keeps moving.”

Campbell also acknowledged there would be no bike lanes with angle parking, but questioned how much money bicyclers brought to the town anyway. “Bicyclists aren’t big spenders. They’re not out for a big meal and beer at lunch…they’re out for a bike ride.” His suggestion was to route bicyclers down Maple, install bike stands for cyclists when they wanted to get off and tour the Town.

Councillor McGuire, obviously interested in Campbell’s presentation, said he’d love to drive around in a truck, to which Campbell immediately extended an invitation — “Come on out, boy!”

McGuire continued with stats from an Ontario bicycling study; bicyclers spend up to $250 per person per trip versus car trips at $171 per car per trip. He pointed out that long-distance bicyclers when cycling 100 clics a day use a lot of calories, so spend money. “They have to buy accommodation and food.” So getting cyclists to go through downtown would be an economic benefit for shop owners.

Mayor Pankow added that the possibility of parking lanes, or bays, on Beckwith for either pick-up trucks or compact cars “may be part of the configuration to accommodate all vehicles.”

Troy Dunlop, Director of Public Works and Utilities, explained that the Town’s lights and control systems are antiquated. “We are using 1980s hardware trying to move 2019 traffic.” The redevelopment design calls for new traffic signals at “Elmsley, Main and Russell, which will dramatically improve our ability to flush traffic through at peak hours.” But he did admit that in the summer “when the swing bridges are up, there’s going to be delays. That’s the reality of a busy, successful downtown.” Dunlop agreed that a “sit-down” with Campbell and Jim Bell, Manager of Traffic Operations for the Region of Ottawa-Carleton, and on the Smiths Falls design team, plus the traffic engineers, would be beneficial.

Article by Sally Smith

16 thoughts on “Campbell presents truckers’ perspective on street redevelopment to council

  1. Dawn Quinn

    Great presentation By Rob Campbell , different point of view , different set of eyes . Thanks to Rob Thanks to Home Town News

  2. Dave Metcalfe

    Cyclists don’t spend that kind of money on average unless they’re the ones wearing the trendy gear. I hate to say it but that’s just ‘fake facts’.Councillor McGuire is just drinking the Mayor’s Kool Aid. Mr Campbell’s suggestion to re-route cyclists to secondary streets is a great & safer idea. Side street bike racks sound great too. Mr. Campbell mentioned the traffic lights … why aren’t they co-ordinated through town right out to Golf Club Road? They sure frustrate drivers & visitors. By the time you get downtown who’s in a mood to shop? And that Abbott St swing bridge should NOT be used during peak hours. That’s a commonsense fix NOT an EGO-PROJECT

  3. olive mickle

    Thanks Rob for bringing the truckers point of view to council. As you pointed out the town has 3 Kings highway going thru it. It is a major hub for transportation of both large and wide loads. Keep up the good work.

  4. Virginia Anderson

    I totally agree with Rob Campbell regarding trying to parallel park while holding up large trucks! This would cause major hold ups! Glad he brought up the fact that Beckwith street is the Kings highway.

  5. Bill Bastian

    That’s great that they spend that much on food and accommodation, but much are they going to spend on shoes, clothing and other goods, and how bikes visit town compared to vehicles? It seems to me that a senic bike route along the canal would benefit the town more. I would like to se a breakdown of real numbers of visitors not just some staff sighting numbers someone else collected, after all you always find stats to support your argument, doing the work yourself and asking ALL the questions is the only true way to get the right answer.

  6. Sharon Boyce

    Bicycles would still be welcome in our town with angle parking. As stated by many, the bike lanes could be routed on Maple or Elmsley, even George Streets and not impede traffic!

  7. Bill Dales

    Rob’s pure speculation about what cyclist will or won’t do or spend is proven incorrect with facts in the article. I know the trucks don’t stop downtown for a big lunch and a beer.
    Trucks have to gear down and stop when someone is slowly backing out of angled parking because they can’t see what’s coming.
    I looked up the location of Rob’s residence and business and it shows that both are located in Rideau Lakes not Smiths Falls, but this article reports him as a resident.
    Perhaps the information isnincorrect and needs to be updated.

    1. Barb Lavier

      While you’re googling addresses maybe check out the councillors who do not live in town. I can guarantee you that Rob’s 100+ lot subdivision pays more taxes than a single home would generate.

    2. Vince Hamilton

      I would have to say that Rob Campbell might be more of a ‘resident’ than some members of council.
      Especially since he owns a vast amount more property, very successful business and has won the Chamber of Commerce award. And all of these assets are located in and around the locality of Smiths Falls.
      I don’t think many would question Rob’s knowledge and common sense about traffic, whether it be trucks, bicycles or automobiles. It could clearly be understood that he could match and exceed the expertise of ANY on council regarding any application of the aforementioned modes of transport or, in fact, modes of parking.

    3. Kim Hamilton

      Bill, just to update your misinformation: Rob owns a quarry and a subdivision in Ridea Lakes, but doesn’t live there.

    4. Kylie

      As opposed to council making grandiose plans built precisely and solely on that same speculation about “what cyclist[sic] will or won’t do?”

  8. maria

    I don’t know you Bill Dales, but, I do know Rob Campbell…he does own property in SF. my understanding is that your sister who is on council lives in Rideau Lakes and I have not heard of property she owns in Smiths Falls? Have you personally driven one of mr Campbell’s trucks, how would you know how to drive it, they drive differently then other forms of transportation. I don’t think a truck like theirs is similar to a 18 wheeler which is even more difficult to drive, or a bus. You need to perhaps update your info. Oh and ha ha, I am going to be interested in seeing the revenue from the cyclists. Perhaps you can update us on that too,


    Mr Dales I feel that I must correct the information that you felt necessary to post .You surely would have found out ,if you had truly done due diligence in taking the time to investigate ,that Rob Campbell does own a great amount of property in this town and probably pays more tax to this town than a lot of council does ..Furthermore as you have stated PERHAPS YOUR INFORMATION IS INCORRECT AND NEEDS TO BE UPDATED ..

  10. Kylie

    Bill Dales – still waiting for you to correct your own misinformation posted here. It’s almost as if the mayor and some members of council have a campaign of misinformation going on, which it seems now includes family members of council spreading false information to further control the narrative.

    1. Bill

      I have not had any direct communication with anyone on council. Not even a simple conversation.
      This includes my sister. So you are spreading gossip and lies about conspiracies?
      I simply pointed out that Rob is not a resident of Smiths Falls. He has a vested stake when he gave his presentation.
      It was not a personal attack on Rob, merely pointing out certain mistakes.
      I live in the downtown core.
      Go ahead and point out my misinformation you elude to instead of directly pointing out.
      Rob said what cyclists would spend and the article quoted evidence to the contrary.
      Rob does not reside in town.
      Obviously he believes this change will affect his trucks when they are traveling through town, therefore that could affect his business. He has every right to speak and I have the right to respond
      He was presenting from the perspective of his trucks therfore his business.
      You can go ahead and pick out my inaccuracies.
      But if you are accusing people of conspiracies and hidden agendas pull out the proof and quit speculating and surmising.

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