do fast food restaurants cause traffic delays?
“When the traffic is so dense, it’s not fast food”
ARKANSAS (KNWA / KFTA) – Placing a drive-thru fast food order may not be so quick due to the long lines of traffic in Northwest Arkansas.
From Fayetteville to Bentonville at the intermediate locations, traffic stopping in a traffic lane is a common occurrence due to cars lined up to get to fast food restaurants. For example, Chick-fil-A at 209 S. Walton Blvd. – and is also next to McDonald’s.
Bentonville resident Carolina Sanchez prefers to park her car at a business adjacent to Chick-fil-A because it’s easier to place and get her order. “I use an empty parking spot to park because it’s easier for me to get into the store when the queue is long due to traffic,” Sanchez said.
It takes longer to get in when the traffic is so heavy – so it’s not fast food. “It takes a long time to get in and that’s why I’m picking it up.”
Often times, Sanchez finds himself braking along Walton Blvd. because of the traffic line. “Plus, trying to get into any of the small businesses here will get you stuck in traffic wherever you go in this general area.”
The City of Bentonville is aware of the danger that traffic delays can cause.
We recognize this is a concern, but currently we do not have an infrastructure plan to alleviate congestion during peak hours in this region.
One of the main causes of accidents in any area is turning left from a private road. When people turn left from a private road which is also accompanied by traffic jams, they are often unable to see approaching traffic, making turns dangerous.
We encourage people to drive safely, which in many cases can include taking an alternate route to avoid a blind left turn.
Due to traffic congestion, especially in the exterior northbound lane leading to the business, we are also seeing individuals merge into the interior lane to continue to pass businesses in this area. Again, we recommend safe driving practices to avoid a collision. It is important to continually check your surroundings when driving, especially when changing lanes. Many accidents can be avoided by exercising caution and practicing safe driving techniques.
Once again, we recognize the concern for the region; However, some areas of the city experience much greater traffic problems. These areas have been given priority for infrastructure planning due to the number of service calls. As a city, we are continually working on solutions to ensure that our residents and visitors can travel safely and efficiently throughout our city. This is a situation that we will continue to monitor to ensure the safety of all who travel to the region.
Bentonville Police Department Public Information Officer Adam McInnis
BENTONVILLE TRAFFIC HOTSPOTS
- SE Walton Blvd. and SW Regional Airport Blvd., called the rainbow curve. “There are long queues in traffic which lead to many rear end crashes as well as several major crashes that occur when westbound traffic attempts to turn left onto SW Regional Airport Blvd. In a recent bond extension, a project is planned to help alleviate this problem. In the proposed design, traffic turns left from SE Walton Blvd. on SW Regional Airport Blvd. will use a “flying bridge” which completely eliminates the need to turn left to cross traffic. An additional lane for turning right and left will be added on SW Regional Airport Blvd. to help traffic move more efficiently, which will help shorten the queues and hopefully reduce the number of rear-end accidents.
- SW Regional Airport Blvd. and SW I Street. “This intersection sees long queues that stretch for over 1,500 feet and crash rates are higher than the state average on the north leg. Currently, the proposed plans include the addition of additional turning lanes on all sides as well as the addition of additional lanes for eastbound and westbound traffic. The additional lanes will reduce queues by 75%.
- SE J Street and SE Walton Blvd. “The existing queues in this area are the 5e worst in town and extend beyond 2000 feet. This intersection is also in the top 10 for the number of vehicle accidents. To improve the safety of this intersection, the proposed plans include dual left turn lanes added to northbound and southbound traffic turning onto SE Walton Blvd. as well as an additional northbound lane on Dodson Rd. (SE J Street). In this proposed plan, there will also be a dedicated right-turn lane on Dodson Road to turn east on SE Walton Boulevard.
The city has more than 30 road improvement projects made possible through extended bonds, McInnis said. These proposals can be viewed on https://www.bentonvillebond.com/streets.
At 1369 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. (MLK) is one of three Chick-fil-A restaurants in Fayetteville. Currently, this location is closed for renovation from June 10, 2021 and is expected to reopen in mid-August, according to an Instagram post from the company.
Fayetteville Police Sgt. Anthony Murphy said several complaints were filed during COVID regarding traffic safeguards in front of Chick-fil-A on MLK.
We spoke with management and they were very receptive.
They were doing their best to keep traffic off the roadway, but with the lobby closed due to COVID and the people who love Chick-fil-A so much that they’ll sit in the middle of a national road – it won’t. there is really nothing we can do.
It would be the same as a UPS or Fed Ex truck sitting in the middle of the road delivering a delivery.
Ultimately, the onus is on the individual vehicle driver, not the business owner. Once the lobby opened, the problem subsided. There have been no accidents to my knowledge, but we have had several complaints.
MLK is a national highway, we contacted the highway department and at one point they were ready to put up signs in the area.
Fayetteville Police Department Sergeant Anthony Murphy
The Rogers Chick-fil-A has an area set back from the outside taxiway, and it appears to be an effort to compensate for traffic slowdowns. The “swell” leaves the two-lane road before reaching the establishment.
There are rarely traffic delays at this location, not just because of the road, but there is more room around the building for cars to wait for an order to be placed.