August 23, 2008
Opening of Tim Hortons quells prior objections
Traffic flow remains an issue for some residents, but many welcome store to East End
Photos by Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Tim Hortons new restaurant on Clinton Avenue in Cortland opened Aug 13.
The sign in Virginia House’s yard brings back the lingering opposition and concerns area residents on Cleveland Street and Clinton Avenue raised during the approval process of the new coffee and doughnut chain restaurant Tim Hortons.
The sign in House’s lawn states “I <3 daylight 24 HRS a day!!”
House declined to comment Friday.
But even though some of those concerns still exist, mainly with traffic and safety, the restaurant is being accepted and welcomed into the East End.
“It’s convenient,” said Amber McMullin, who lives across the street from the restaurant on Clinton Avenue.
“It’s a good addition to this side of town, there is nothing like it over here.”
Anthony and Melana Manderano, who live behind the restaurant on Cleveland Street, also said they do not mind the location of Tim Hortons.
“It doesn’t matter to us,” Melana Manderano said. “They got rid of those two houses and this building looks better.”
The owner or manager of the restaurant, who would not release his name stating it is corporate policy, said the community has been cooperative and welcoming since the Canadian-based Tim Hortons Restaurant opened on Aug. 13. He added that the corporation picked a “really nice town” to do business in.
The Tim Hortons chain was founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario.
As of March 30, Tim Hortons had 3,238 restaurants, including 2,839 in Canada and 399 in the United States, according to the company’s Web site.
City Assessor David Briggs said the Tim Hortons building is the first new commercial building to be constructed in two years.
Briggs added that new construction and business is good for the city because it increases the city’s tax base, which is suffering because 51 percent of the properties are tax exempt and some property owners do not pay their taxes.
Although Arthur Sherman of Cleveland Street loves the food and service at the new chain, he and some other neighbors agree the traffic is a concern.
“It’s creating a lot of traffic hazards,” he said. “It’s a good restaurant but it was a lousy design and it creates an awful traffic jam.”
The traffic hazards are occurring on the Cleveland Street exit, where cars are entering from Clinton Avenue to go into the one-lane vehicle exit, turning left when they are only supposed to turn right on Cleveland Street, and traffic on Clinton Avenue blocking in vehicles on Cleveland Street.
Sherman said it depends on the time of the day if he can get in and out of his street, but Linda Edgecomb, another Cleveland Street resident, said this is exactly what she and her husband, Alan, expected.
“The traffic on this street (Cleveland) has increased at least twice as much if not more,” she said. “People are turning down the (Cleveland) street, finding out there is no entrance, then turning around in our driveways.”
Sherman said he also recognizes the increased traffic on the very narrow Cleveland Street, especially with bigger trucks.
When winter comes, it’s really going to be a problem,” Edgecomb added, referring to the on-street parking and minuscule plowing of the street.
But Edgecomb said her husband have been in close contact with a manager at Tim Hortons, who has promised to put up a “No-Left Turn” sign by the exit onto Cleveland Street. She said it would benefit customers, residents and the company if there were also a sign or indicator for those driving down Clinton Avenue that there is no Tim Hortons’ entrance on their little street.
“There’s already been one accident when someone tried to enter in the (Cleveland Street) exit,” she added.
Edgecomb is hopeful that the issues will work themselves out at Tim Hortons, especially with her husband talking with management.
“They have been very polite and courteous,” she said.
The project was approved in January after Tim Hortons was scrutinized by the city’s Planning Commission and residents about the design of the building and lot choice.
Planning Commission member Jo Shaffer said she still thinks the drive-thru is tight for the restaurant, but it seems to be working.
“They had the right to do it,” she said. “That’s problem with some of these projects … as a commission we walk a very fine line of what is permitted and what is best for the community.”
Shaffer said she has not heard any opposition from neighbors, but has gone to see the business being brought in by the new restaurant. “I didn’t see any major problems at noon; however, it was mid-week and school (college) has not started,” she said.
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