New Brunswick

Fredericton council votes to put Tim Hortons drive-thru traffic fix on hold

Fredericton City Council has voted to delay approval of a turnabout on the city's north side that would alleviate traffic jams caused by a Tim Hortons drive-thru.

Creation of north side turnaround would cost the city $40K

Drivers lining up for coffee are blocking a busy north side Fredericton intersection and access to other businesses. (Mike Heenan/CBC)

Fredericton City Council has voted to delay approval of a turnaround on the city's north side that would alleviate traffic jams caused by a Tim Hortons drive-thru.

Vehicles queuing for the drive-thru are blocking traffic on both Wallace Avenue and Main Street.

City staff proposed a $40,000 fix last week that was expected to get underway later this fall.

The project would see a turnabout at the south end of Wallace Avenue to prevent long lineups that trickle onto Main Street and halt traffic.

At Monday night's council meeting, staff said changes the city made to the flow of traffic in the area back in 2003, contributed to the problem.

The city recently banned left turns into the Tim Hortons downtown off Regent Street because of a backup in traffic. (Mike Heenan/CBC)

At that time, Wallace Avenue was built as a route for city trucks to access the snow dump. And the Tim Hortons drive-thru was moved from Main Street to Wallace Avenue. 

"It sent the queuing over to Wallace Avenue and not off of Main Street directly," said Sean Lee, assistant director of engineering for the city. 

"There was a business that was there. It was functioning the way it was intended to function. We came in with a street reconstruction and extended the street to carry commercial traffic, and it was also able to allow for this queuing off of Wallace Avenue itself."

Residents 'paying a penalty'

Coun. John MacDermid said he has concerns about whether tax payers should be paying for a new turnaround.

"Whose responsibility is it to deal with those unintended consequences? Is it the taxpayer or is it the users and the business owners?," MacDermid said. 

A concrete turnaround will be installed at the bottom of Wallace and Cityview avenues. This way, people who want coffee from Tim Hortons can turn around and get back up the street to make a right turn into the coffee business. (Lauren Bird/CBC)

"I think that's a larger part of the conversation. We need to figure this out because quite honestly, the way the drive-thrus are right now, the residents are paying a penalty for ease of access to businesses."

The issue will come before council again on Oct. 15.

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