Drive-thru debate may soon come to an end
The city’s drive-thru debate may finally come to an end with a solution that doesn’t involve banning the popular pick-up window.
City councillors on Monday and Tuesday met with Tim Hortons representatives to discuss implementing changes to four busy drive-thru locations.
“They want to have a two-lane system and in some instances, a two-window ordering system,” said Councillor Pat Lorje, who met with a representative at the Avenue F and 22nd Street West location.
“They are convinced, and I think they are probably right, that this will make it a lot easier and cause less traffic backups,” she said.
The changes, which are expected to be implemented before the end of June, will also be introduced at the Cumberland Avenue South and Eighth Street East location, the Eighth Street East and Moss Avenue location, and the 22nd Street West and Fairlight Drive location.
“From a civic point of view, they’ve really gone out of their way to deal with the concerns that had been expressed about the traffic spillover,” Lorje said.
In March, city council received a report highlighting the persistent traffic issues at the Cumberland drive-thru – one of the busiest in the country. The report suggested that the city contemplate erecting a median on Cumberland Avenue South to prevent southbound traffic from turning left into the drive-thru.
The debate continued to simmer after Coun. Bev Dubois asked city administrators to undertake a drive-thru review during a city council meeting. Dubois singled out a busy University Heights Tim Hortons drive-thru, citing non-stop traffic and safety problems as a reason to perhaps explore banning the popular pick-up window.
“I would like to ask the administration to at least investigate the fact of not having drive-thrus," she said in March. "If you look, there are cars idling. Have we ever seriously looked at not having drive-thrus?" she said.
On Tuesday, Dubois, who also met with Tim Horton's national representative this week, tweeted "glad I brought drive-thru safety to the forefront & there will be changes soon."
So far, the suggested changes have received the support from a number of politicians including Coun. Ann Iwanchuk.
“I think they’re positive changes. Anything they can do to make the traffic flow better and to not impede other businesses in the surrounding area, that’s a very positive thing,” she said.
Iwanchuk said the double lane and window ordering system has already had success in Ontario where it’s been consumer tested.
The plan, which is also being considered for two additional locations, will now be reviewed by city traffic engineers and will be pitched to the owners of the Tim Hortons.
A Tim Hortons representative was not available to comment at the time of publication.