Chipotle is looking to demolish the old Friendly's restaurant and build a new structure there. Attorney Tom Beecher spoke on behalf of the applicant during a recent Planning Commission meeting. Chipotle is seeking a special exception for a drive thru. Beecher says it's not a typical drive thru though as there is no separate menu board or first stop to place the order. Patrons will text and prepay for their order; it's just going to be a pick up window.
Plans call for placing the new building slightly to the west to make better sense of vehicle circulation.
While this would only a pick up window, the Commission is considering a drive thru in general. If Chipotle leaves, someone else could coming in with a full service drive thru that has an order board, an order window and a pick up window.
There was some concern about egress at proposed window and if there is adequate site distance for cars coming from Chili's and the hotel because of the odd angle.
After construction, the signalized intersection will experience more traffic. But proponents say it was a restaurant in the past and there was more traffic then too. Accident data for Newtown Road from the intersection from Eagle Road to the driveway showed 80 accidents between 2016 and 2019. Most were rear-end collisions because of drivers stopped waiting to make a left-hand turn in a thru-lane. There are only designated turn lanes at the signalized intersections.
Traffic expert Michael Galante says a study was done by the City and the state several years ago about Newtown Road traffic flow, safety and congestion. There's been talk of a center median and eliminating left turns to cut down on what he called turning movement conflicts.