Will McDonald’s Drive-Thru Supersize Traffic?

Concerns Grow as Goleta Planning Commission Faces Issue on August 12

Some Goleta residents are worried that a proposed drive-thru at the McDonald’s in the Camino Real Marketplace — which comes before for the city’s planning commission on August 12 — will supersize traffic at the cost of customer convenience. It’s the corporation’s third attempt to get this feature added to its property since being developed in 1997.

Those opposed insist that congestion at Storke and Hollister is already unbearable and that a new drive-thru, which would be 204 feet long and remove some existing parking spaces, will only add to the problem. McDonald’s, meanwhile, is ready to make pedestrian improvements, adjust the traffic signal, and modify the landscaping if approved.

“This is simple request — a very basic improvement,” explained Tory White, a planner for Dudek, which is McDonald’s consultant. “By adding a drive-thru, it will offer more convenience to our customers.” He cited a study that 91 percent of customers said they would use the feature, including seniors, working parents, and the handicapped.

While most businesses in the shopping center could not comment due to franchise agreements, smaller businesses felt free to voice their opinions. “Personally, I would say no because it’s a traffic issue and it could affect our business,” said Anna’s Marketplace Bakery employee Crystal White. “I ride my bike to work and just crossing the street to get to the marketplace can be hard for me. I don’t think we need more traffic.”

But with the city growing and nearby UCSB attendance on the rise, others say that businesses need a solution to long lines and heavy waiting times. “There are more students every year, and businesses need to accommodate us,” said Shemeeka Hossain, who lives a few blocks from the marketplace and sees this drive-thru as a practical move on the part of McDonald’s. “We make up a huge portion of their clientèle. The answer is to expand the highway, not penalize one burger joint.”

The August 12 hearing starts at 6 p.m. in Goleta City Hall.

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