Fredericton latest Canadian city to grapple with drive-thru woes

The City of Fredericton will spend $40,000 to direct motorists around a busy Tim Hortons in the latest move by a Canadian municipality to curb traffic headaches and other concerns caused by restaurant drive-thrus.

At a transportation committee meeting this week, councillors approved the plan to construct a “traffic circle” at the end of the city’s Wallace Avenue and to introduce a bylaw banning left turns into the restaurant’s drive-thru.

“There are significant impacts on traffic flow on this major northside arterial as well as traffic and pedestrian safety concerns as frustrated drivers start making unpredictable movements to avoid queued vehicles,” the administrative report on the proposed changes says.

The New Brunswick capital is the latest Atlantic Canada municipality forced to consider the tension between public safety concerns and motorists’ convenient access to a quick coffee or lunch.

This summer, Paradise, N.L., rejected an application for a drive-thru restaurant planned near an elementary school after parents and community members raised safety concerns. A spokesperson for the town said the decision is being appealed.

Halifax, which is considering expanding limits already in place around new drive-thrus in the city’s downtown, was forced to contend with the issue this month after post-tropical storm Dorian hit Nova Scotia.

Officials asked drivers to stay home in the immediate aftermath of the storm, with Erica Fleck, the city’s assistant chief of community risk reduction, noting that hundreds of cars backed up at drive-thrus were impeding cleanup efforts.

South of the border, Minneapolis, Minn., adopted an ordinance last month banning the construction of new drive-thrus in all areas of the city. It said the ban is aimed to fulfil land-use, transportation, and environmental goals.

The Associated Press reported Minneapolis was the first American city of comparable size to enact a city-wide ban — but the move was not without pushback from retail developers. And the editorial board of the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper argued that banning drive-thrus would make life harder for busy families and struggling businesses.

Drive-thrus have become a reliable restaurant staple in North America over the last century. In-N-Out Burger claims to have invented the first two-way speaker box at its flagship California restaurant in 1948.

But in recent years, environmental concerns over emissions and the desire to improve quality of life in increasingly dense urban areas have led more municipalities to push back. And researchers have suggested that a ban on drive-thrus could make cities healthier and safer.

A 2018 study published in the journal BMC Public Health by public health researchers at the University of Alberta found 27 Canadian municipalities across six provinces had adopted partial or full bans on fast food drive-thru service between 2002 and 2016.

The bans were concentrated in Ontario, B.C. and Alberta, typically starting in larger cities like Toronto and Vancouver and later implemented by smaller municipalities nearby.

Reasons cited included community aesthetics and safety, traffic issues, litter, noise and concerns about air pollution. None of the municipalities identified obesity and chronic disease as a motivation, but the researchers noted that research into such bylaws could be “a vital part” of preventing chronic disease in Canada.

“Fast food drive-thru service bans are one policy option that may be considered as part of a comprehensive, multi-pronged strategy to promote healthier food environments and improve population health,” the authors wrote.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Security for empty nursing home is pricier than it would have been to knock it down

Provincial taxpayers have now paid more to mothball a former nursing home… Continue reading

Birds move into new wildlife hospital

Medicine River Wildlife Centre to host grand opening this spring

Man accused in Lacombe fatal shooting in court

Tyler John Campbell charged with second-degree murder for December 2019 homicide

Stolen catalytic converters recovered

Innisfail RCMP arrest two suspects

Canadians released from coronavirus-ridden cruise ship in Japan fly home

OTTAWA — A sixth presumptive case of COVID-19 has been diagnosed in… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: The 8 best quality online stores! Shop the ultimate sales

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

Gary Harris’s generosity helped shape our college, and our city, writes Joel Ward

I was deeply saddened to learn of Gary Harris’s passing. I first… Continue reading

A teen’s perspective: Ordinary Canadians are paying a price for railway blockades

The following is a letter by Alberta teenager Liam Smith to his… Continue reading

Diamond Princess evacuees arrive for quarantine in Canada

OTTAWA — A plane carrying 129 Canadians and their families who have… Continue reading

U.S., Taliban truce takes effect, setting stage for peace deal

ISLAMABAD — A temporary truce between the United States and the Taliban… Continue reading

China, Iran challenges top foreign-policy priorities for Canada, says Champagne

OTTAWA — No one should construe the co-operation between Canada and China… Continue reading

Alice Munro among Nobel prizewinners urging Trudeau to deny oilsands project

Canadian author Alice Munro is among dozens of Nobel prizewinners urging Prime… Continue reading

2010 leader John Furlong urges Vancouver to bid for 2030 Winter Games

While Vancouver celebrates the 10th anniversary of the 2010 Winter Olympic and… Continue reading

Most Read