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Smiths Falls to remove free-flowing right turn lane at Beckwith and Elmsley streets

An hour-and-a-half of debate ended with the decision to remove the free-flowing lane for southbound drivers on Elmsley Street North, turning right onto Beckwith Street North.
2021-06-23-smiths-falls-beckwith-elmsley-turn-lane-googlemaps
The free-flowing right turn lane at Beckwith and Elmsley streets will be eliminated, as part of the town's Beckwith Street renewal project. Photo/Google Maps

Smiths Falls town council has decided to remove a right-turn lane that allows drivers to bypass a traffic light, as they head into downtown Smiths Falls, to improve overall road safety.

The right turn lane has allowed southbound drivers on Elmsley Street North to turn right onto Beckwith Street North, without having to stop for the traffic light. The lane will be removed, as part of the second phase of Smiths Falls' Beckwith Street renewal project.

"It's the community's desire to balance safety for pedestrians, safety for cyclists, and the flow of traffic," Mayor Shawn Pankow told this week's Smiths Falls town council meeting.

The decision came after an hour and a half of debate, and after the decision had been postponed at a previous council meeting, two weeks ago.

The Smiths Falls and District Chamber of Commerce was among those opposed to removing the free-flowing right turn lane, concerned that eliminating the turn lane would harm the downtown and businesses.

Drivers will still be able to turn right onto Beckwith Street North from Elmsley, but will have to stop first, if the traffic light is red.

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