Fredericton councillor calls for more enforcement at Tim Hortons drive-thru

A Fredericton city councillor is pushing to reduce a downtown traffic backlog caused by drivers trying to get into a Tim Hortons drive-thru during morning rush hour.

Between 7:30 and 9 a.m. a Fredericton councillor says, there's a huge backlog in traffic on Regent Street

A Fredericton city councillor is hoping to address the daily traffic backlog on Regent Street caused by drivers waiting to get to a drive-thru coffee shop. (Nathalie Sturgeon/CBC)

A Fredericton councillor is pushing for police help to reduce the morning traffic snarl caused by drivers waiting to get coffee at a downtown Tim Hortons.

Every day between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m., cars have to line up at the bottom of Regent Street behind people waiting to get into the Tim Hortons drive-thru, Coun. Stephen Chase said.

As a result, he said, the corner of Regent and King streets is one of the most common places for car crashes and near-misses in the city.

"People are really breaking the law when they're in that traffic lane," said Chase, who is also chair of the city's public safety committee.

"The problem manifests itself during the worst time of the day."

Chase took to Twitter to express his concerns about the long lineup of vehicles.

Coun. Stephen Chase says people don't pay attention to signs near theTim Hortons on Regent Street telling drivers not to park or stop on the road. (Nathalie Sturgeon/CBC)

"This is really a safety issue," he said.

Chase said he plans to address the issue at a public safety committee meeting.

He said he understands police officers can't be everywhere at once, but he's hoping to increase their presence and have them issuing tickets.

"We can't have an officer there all the time writing tickets," he said. "They couldn't write them fast enough to deal with the number of cars."

He's also calling on drivers to obey the law and hopes the city will promote awareness of the issue through social media.

"People think it's OK, and as long as they think it's OK, they're going to continue to do it."

Chase said the area is well-marked with signs that say "No parking" and "No stopping." 

But drivers seem to ignore the signs.

"This has gone on too long," Chase said. "We have to take another look at it and try to find a better solution."

A tall order

The short Tim Hortons drive-thru lane was approved by the city more than 20 years ago and has been a regular subject of complaints.

"This is going to be a real challenge to fix," Chase said.

Chase said the lineup of vehicles is a safety concern for the city. (Nathalie Sturgeon/CBC)

Although he's not blaming Tim Hortons staff, he said Regent Street wasn't part of the coffee shop's initial approval, and city councillors continue to get complaints from drivers and residents in the area.

Alycia Bartlett, a spokesperson for the Fredericton police, said the force plans to talk to councillors and the city about the morning traffic jam.

"Until that happens, it would be premature for us to comment at this time," she said.

Tim Hortons did not respond to a request for a comment.

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