Moratorium | Traffic at Tim Hortons prompts drive-thru crackdown

Traffic at Tim Hortons prompts drive-thru crackdown


The ubiquitous Tim Hortons drive-thru, a daily pit stop for many Canadians on their way to work, has brewed a controversy in Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital city.

Municipal politicians in St. John’s have passed a motion that prohibits the establishment of new drive-thru operations unless businesses can prove to the city’s traffic department that vehicles won’t spill out onto public streets.

Mayor Dennis O’Keefe said while there wasn’t much public pressure calling for the legislation, it came about because of safety concerns arising from traffic lining up along drive-thrus and spilling out onto roads.

“We have had incidents where fender benders have resulted,” O’Keefe said in an interview Tuesday.

“Inevitably … something tragic is going to happen if it’s allowed to continue.”

O’Keefe said the resolution passed Monday doesn’t target any specific business but was triggered by the growing popularity of Tim Hortons drivethrus in the city.

“I guess in many ways they are the victim of their own popularity and their own success,” he said, adding that possible solutions could include more drive-thru lanes at each location and separate express lanes at busy times of the day where only coffee is sold.

A spokeswoman for Tim Hortons said the company has met with city officials to address traffic concerns and hires extra staff during peak periods.

Rachel Douglas, the company’s public affairs director, also said Tim Hortons is renovating at least one outlet in the city to improve traffic flow.

“Tim Hortons is continuously working on making our sites better to serve our customers faster,” Douglas said in a statement.

The motion, which took effect immediately, sparked a flurry of reaction from private enterprise and the public.


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