Traffic concerns hold up new McDonald’s

Published 5:54 pm Wednesday, June 23, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Concerns about traffic flow have caused preliminary plans for a new McDonald's to be revised, but officials are hopeful construction will begin sometime this summer.
A week and a half ago, E.R. Gray and Associates, a consultant firm to the McDonald's Corportation, submitted a preliminary site plan to the City of Niles.
Niles Community Development Director Juan Ganum said the city had some traffic-related concerns about the site plan due to the amount of accidents that have occurred at the location in the past.
In a telephone interview on Tuesday, George Lukas, director of site development for E.R. Gray and Associates, said he had just completed the revisions and would soon be submitting the plan to the city.
The changes include limiting traffic to make right turns only when exiting on to South 11th Street and slightly reconfiguring the location of the building to include a bypass lane in front of the restaurant. Lukas said the new McDonald's will be very similar to the old building, which was destroyed in a fire on May 3.
The restaurant will have a Play Place, more available parking spaces and the relatively new concept of dual order points.
Lukas said this feature, which is fairly new to the area, will allow the customers to choose from two separate order displays and then merge into one lane to pay for and recieve their food. After obtaining approval of the preliminary site plan from the city and approval of the traffic modifications from the Michigan Department of Transportation, the consulting firm will proceed to the construction plans, which must then be approved by the city's planning commission.
Lukas said they will begin construction on the building immediatley after receiving approval from the planning commission.
Next month's planning commission meeting is scheduled for July 28. Lukas could not predict an exact finish date, but said from start to finish the construction process typically takes about 90 days.