Because of traffic safety issues created by long drive-thru lineups, a Southern California community is considering designating a Chick-fil-A restaurant a “public nuisance.”
According to city officials, the cafe known for its waffle fries and chicken sandwiches has had a restaurant in Santa Barbara since 2013, drawing a steady flow of customers, whose vehicles block surrounding driveways and sidewalks, forcing city buses and emergency vehicles to seek alternate routes.
The city report stated, “There is a chronic adverse traffic impact caused by the operation of the drive-through restaurant facility.”
The drive-thru lane at Chick-fil-A increases the chances of traffic crashes and pedestrian injuries. In a city traffic report, the drive-through can stop one lane of traffic for up to 90 minutes on weekdays and 155 minutes on Saturdays during peak traffic.
The document stated, “The city’s traffic engineer, police chief and community development director have evaluated the situation and believe that the persistent traffic back-up onto State Street is a public nuisance and that the nuisance is caused by the operation of a drive-through at the Chick-fil-A restaurant.”
For some people living nearby, the traffic issue has been brewing for years, and it’s only of late that the problem is getting serious attention from the city and the company.
Resident Rick Closson told the Los Angeles Times:
“In the past, it felt like the complaints were taken half-seriously, over the years, you’ve had Chick-fil-A putting together their fixes that really did not do much to fix the traffic problem. But then you have the city coming forward with a possible nuisance title, and the corporation is now saying, ‘Oh my goodness, please just give us more time to solve this.'”
The report said, the fast-food chain has already tried many ways of tackling the problem, “such as on-site queuing and stationing mobile order takers, but none have appeared to work.”
Posting a police officer to give out citations was not an effective solution either, as it put a burden on public resources.
For now, Chick-fil-A representatives have asked the city council to delay the public nuisance designation and give it more time to fix the problem, per Fox News.
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