No-Left-Turn Ban at Colonel By Drive and Main Street Leaves Residents Puzzled

John Dance

Vera Akers, Montcalm Street resident, and Tom Scott, OOECA transportation and infrastructure chair, question why left turns will not be allowed at the reconfigured and fully-signalize Main Street - Colonel By Drive intersection. Photo by John Dance

Vera Akers, Montcalm Street resident, and Tom Scott, OOECA transportation and infrastructure chair, question why left turns will not be allowed at the reconfigured and fully-signalize Main Street – Colonel By Drive intersection. Photo by John Dance

Residents north of Highway 417 are pleased with the much-improved intersection of Main Street and Colonel By Drive (CBD) but, now that it is fully signalized and reconfigured, they are baffled why northbound Main motorists still will not be allowed to turn left onto the parkway.

“If the traffic is stopped in both directions on Colonel By, why can one not make a left turn onto it?” asks Montcalm Street resident Vera Akers. “What is the logic in this? Surely turning left there is a better option than driving south on Main, then turning right onto Clegg in order to be able to drive south on Colonel By.” A number of others have noted that, if left turns were allowed, the heavy traffic on Main Street would be reduced.

Also, Tom Scott, OOECA transportation and infrastructure chair points, out that a permissible left turn would be useful during the three year project when Greenfield, Main and Hawthorne (GMH) are under construction. “Just updating the gas connections recently caused huge backups in all directions as an example of how limited a driver’s choices can be for moving around in the downtown core,” Scott pointed out to City staff in an email.

“The light signals replaced are for pedestrians and cyclists only,” Sofia Benjelloun of the NCC told The Mainstreeter. “The intersection was designed to replace a similar traffic configuration, which never included a left turn on the intersection of Colonel By Drive and Main Street.”

“The intersection at Main Street and Colonel By Drive was designed to minimize the overall size of the intersection while maintaining all pre-existing vehicle movements and enhancing pedestrian and cycling connections from Main Street to the canal pathway network,” responded Bruce Kenny, the City’s manager of design.

“To accommodate vehicle movement from Main Street to southbound Colonel By Drive, a separate right-turn lane on Main Street would be required,” he continued. “This constrained area is not well suited to accommodate an additional turn lane.”

A number of residents do not agree with the NCC-City position, although some are pleased with the continued prohibition because they see it contributing to cyclist and pedestrian safety.

Akers suggests that, if high volumes of traffic on Main Street north would result in congestion, then perhaps the solution would be to prohibit left turns onto CBD during peak periods. Scott agrees, “An interim solution could be investigated by temporarily allowing left turns at this intersection with CBD, with data then collected about how much and how often waiting traffic fills that northbound portion of north Main, if ever.”

Given the City-NCC position, it appears that the left-turn restriction will remain in place unless the authorities can be convinced that its removal will be beneficial for traffic flows.

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