Pilot project aims to curtail drive-thru traffic snarls in Fredericton
Creation of 'turnaround' on north side is expected to get underway this fall and cost the city $40K
Coffee and doughnuts are about to get a lot more expensive for the City of Fredericton.
Drivers lining up for their daily Double Doubles at Fredericton's Tim Hortons on Main Street have been blocking the busy north-side intersection at Wallace Avenue.
At a transportation committee meeting this week, councillors voted to build a "turnaround" at the south end of Wallace Avenue to prevent long lineups that trickle onto Main Street and halt traffic.
The project is expected to cost up to $40,000 and will get underway this fall.
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"These lines are getting longer and longer," said Sean Lee, the city's assistant director of engineering and operations.
"At one point in time, you may have seen a queue of five or six cars. Now you see a queue of cars that [is] substantially longer."
Banning left turns
Once the structure is built, left turns into Tim Hortons would be against the law.
"What we're seeing is people who are lining up for Tim Hortons, are queuing back on Wallace Avenue and then queuing back actually onto Main Street and blocking off Main Street."
The new turnaround will help traffic move south to the end of Wallace Street, through the turnaround and back north to the Tim Hortons drive-thru.
"With this particular location, there was an option that was available that could help us try something," Lee said. "And we're trying this as a pilot to see if it's effective and hopefully it works."
Not just a Fredericton problem
Lee said the traffic jams are also having an impact on businesses in the area, including Fredericton Home Hardware on Main Street.
He suggested traffic problems connected with the location of Tim Hortons outlets aren't unique to Fredericton.
"I think this is a national-level issue," he said.
"Tim Hortons in drive-thrus across the country are experiencing situations like this."
Fredericton recently banned left turns off Regent Street into the Tim Hortons downtown because of a backup in traffic.
"People are interested in getting their coffees," Lee said.
With files from Lauren Bird