Right-turns-only on Pelham panned

Gingerly attempting a left turn onto Pelham Street from the bottom of Church Hill. VOICE PHOTO

As traffic levels increase, turns onto Pelham Street become harder in the absence of traffic lights


Pelham drivers and business owners are upset with a Town Council proposal to force right turns-only onto Pelham Street in downtown Fonthill. The proposed changes would affect turns from the bottom of Church Hill Street and from under the arches above Pelham Town Square.

Town staff had proposed installing a traffic light at an estimated cost of $140,000 to allow traffic to flow in both directions from the bottom of Church Hill, however Council rejected the idea.

While Council maintains that the enforced right turns would make Fonthill’s main shopping street more conducive to foot traffic, some community members think otherwise. As the owner of Beamer’s Hardware and TV for 31 years, Lloyd Beamer has watched the town transform in many ways. He is concerned that preventing drivers from turning left on Pelham Street from these two intersections will turn his section of the street into a “dead zone.”

“The disadvantages are going to far outweigh any of the advantages,” said Beamer.

“We try and get people to come into town, and with what’s happening here it’s like they are trying to get people to stay out of town.”

With a clear view of the intersection of Church Hill and Pelham from his cash register, Beamer said he hasn’t observed any significant problems at the corner. He cannot understand why Council is considering the idea when there doesn’t appear to be any rationale for it.

“It is just a bad idea all around and somebody needs to think this through better,” he said.

“They should just leave it the way it is. To me it’s just making a big noise out of nothing, because it really is not an issue. I haven’t seen any accidents or even any near-misses, and we are here all the time. If we are not busy we’re looking out the window, so we know what’s going on.”

Besides his concerns for the potential impact such a change could have on his business, Beamer said he could see other problems arising from the proposed turn restrictions. Mainly, if drivers can no longer turn left on Pelham Street from Church Hill, they will have to find another way to get where they are going. He said this means traffic on College Street will likely get busier. One resident walking his dog through the residential neighbourhood wasn’t thrilled with the idea of steering traffic towards College.

“This is a pretty quiet street and it would be nice to keep it that way,” he said.

“There are a lot of kids around here, so if people start using it as a pass-through when they’re on their way to and from work, it could become a safety issue.”

What do you think about the Town’s proposal to force right turns-only onto Pelham? Let us know on our Facebook page.

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