Credit: Larry Bickford

Upper State Street’s Chick-fil-A restaurant is closed for eight to ten weeks as it reconfigures its drive-thru lanes to further reduce the chances of customer cars backing into the road. The restaurant is widening the entrance to three lanes and changing the exit so that drivers cannot make a left turn out of the parking lot across oncoming traffic.

In response to public outcry over consistent traffic headaches, the Santa Barbara City Council worked with Chick-fil-A to enact a new traffic management plan in June of 2022. 

In the year since, some of the changes have been made, including the hiring of a security guard and more staff to control traffic flow. “They [Chick-fil-A] went through the planning process and got the necessary approvals and permits. They are now going forward with the actual construction and implementation of the third [drive-through] lane,” said City Councilmember Eric Friedman. 

Friedman is confident that the various updates to infrastructure and management have made Chick-fil-A much more functional for locals. “When cars exit, after they purchase their food, they’ll be making right turns onto State Street. There won’t be that left turn, which, during busier traffic times, could be problematic,” said Friedman.

The new traffic management plan has so far been successful, according to Friedman. “Right now I haven’t had any complaints in quite some time, compared to last year with a few a day,” Friedman said. “I live in the area too so I walk by there quite frequently. There is very minimal queuing, if at all, maybe a car or two. Nothing like it used to be.”

City officials will continue to monitor the situation and address issues as they come up. “We need to see what happens when it’s actually completed,” Friedman said.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.