Tracks for light rail vehicles aren’t the only new feature at one of Kitchener’s newest intersections.

At King and Victoria streets, drivers are no longer allowed to make left turns in any direction.

Bob Henderson, the region’s manager of transportation engineering, says the ban on left turns is meant to help traffic flow through the intersection more efficiently – there’s much less room to get around left-turning vehicles than there was prior to construction – and to keep drivers and pedestrians safe.

Similar prohibitions are in effect at many other locations along the light rail light.

“There are a lot of new configurations that people are going to have to get used to,” Henderson says.

If driver behaviour observed this week is any indicator, people aren’t used to it quite yet.

A CTV camera set up at King and Victoria was able to catch a number of drivers making illegal left turns in just a few minutes.

Illegal left turn

Pedestrians who regularly cross the intersection say they’re used to drivers not seeing them until the last second, and then having to stop quickly to avoid a collision.

“It’s really dangerous for us sometimes,” says Shalom Rivas.

“I think they’re just not looking properly. There’s no marker that you can go left – it’s only straight or right.”

Daniel Archibald, a student at the nearby University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy, thinks road users are still getting used to the intersection being fully open after a two-year closure, and haven’t quite figured out how things work yet.

“There’s a lot of turns here that apparently people aren’t supposed to make, but I’m not sure how much people seem to care about that,” he says.

Anyone caught making an illegal left turn can be fined $110 for disobeying a road sign.

Staff Sgt. Mike Hinsperger of the Waterloo Regional Police Service traffic branch says police haven’t received many complaints about King and Victoria.

Still, he says, police have a message for any drivers thinking about making illegal turns.

“The signs are posted for a reason, and they’re there to be adhered to,” he says.

With reporting by Tyler Calver