Council backtracks on right hand turns at busy intersection

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer


Allowing right turns on a red light at the intersection of Church Street West and James Street in Delhi sounded like a good idea when Norfolk council left for Christmas break in December.

Motorists familiar with the intersection were looking forward to the change. However – in light of new information – the county has opted to stick with the status quo.

The new information came by way of legal advice behind closed doors during council’s regular meeting Tuesday.

Members of Norfolk council are being tight-lipped over the U-turn.

Mayor Charlie Luke would not comment when asked about it Wednesday. He referred questions to the council members who voted in favour.

One of them was Port Dover Coun. John Wells. He too was reluctant to say much given the in-camera nature of the deliberations.

“The only thing I can say is that we received legal advice and we decided to follow the legal advice we received,” Wells said.

The prohibition on right-hand turns has caused problems at the busy intersection.

Traffic tends to stack up on Church Street West as a result. Sometimes it backs up so much that motorists wanting to exit the Pioneer gas bar at the corner can’t get onto Church Street West.

Council members won’t speak about their decision. However, some members of the public commented on social media that lifting the prohibition was asking for trouble.

The concern involves the sight line in front of Kentucky Fried Chicken where James Street turns into King Street. There is a bend in the road here that prevents southbound motorists from seeing what is happening at the intersection until they are ready to enter it.

The prohibition on right-hand turns was imposed in the first place out of concern that south-bound motorists may be surprised by slow-moving vehicles turning right onto James Street even when the south-bound drivers have the green light and are travelling the posted speed limit.

Council’s actions suggest there is more substance to this fear than council thought when it voted to lift the prohibition Dec. 12.