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York Region implements rush hour ban on St. John’s and Old Yonge

York Region implements rush hour ban on St. John’s and Old Yonge

The rule change for Aurora is expected to go into effect in late August, ahead of the resumption of school

York Region is implementing a left turn ban on St. John’s Sideroad at the Old Yonge Street entrance and exit during rush hour in an effort to ease traffic congestion at the busy intersection.

Starting in late August, motorists will no longer be able to turn left onto or off Old Yonge Street during morning and evening rush hours.

There is also a ban on turning left into and out of Hadley Grange on the other side of St. John’s Sideroad. It is also prohibited to drive directly across St. John’s from both Old Yonge and Hadley.

The ban will be introduced as a one-year pilot program.

Nelson Costa, manager of traffic safety and signal operations for York Region, said drivers attempting to turn left onto Old Yonge during rush hour are causing “weaving conflicts” and congestion all the way to the railroad tracks at Industrial Parkway North, creating “safety issues.”

“Old Yonge Street currently allows left turns and right turns, so basically all movements in all directions,” he said.

“However, it is very difficult to make these movements, especially during the morning and evening rush hours. In principle, the intersection functions largely as a right-to-right intersection during these peak hours, due to the amount of traffic that passes through the intersection.”

Costa adds that drivers turning left onto Old Yonge from St. John’s can sometimes have to wait in line for more than four minutes during evening rush hour.

Costa noted that there are a number of housing developments in the area that will “add even more congestion to the area in the future.” He added that because the intersection is so close to Yonge Street, there is no room to put in a traffic light.

Councillor Rachel Gilliland asked if the region had considered the impact of the changes on residents living on Batson Drive and other smaller side streets.

“The intent of the pilot is to get a better understanding of where that distribution is. Working with city staff, we recognize that there will be some impact in other areas, but the pilot will really help us understand that,” Costa responded.

The communications plan for the changes will be released next week, with York Regional Police helping to inform residents about the changes, Costa said, adding that there will be a “little bit of a grace period” before enforcement of the fines begins.

The plan is to ensure residents are well aware of the change so they are ready in time for September, when traffic will be heavier due to the resumption of school.