Best laid plans on paper not panning out in reality

Starbucks build-out creates tight traversing

It may be a bitter cup of coffee to swallow now that the newly built location of Starbucks on Roosevelt Blvd. finds itself in a tight spot for customers seeking a quick cup of Joe. While the component of a drive-thru is convenient and best laid plans pass zoning standards, problem exists in the actual conditions on the ground.

The former location, on the front corner of the former Publix-anchored plaza, unlike current location, had options abound for drivers seeking a spot to park and a safe exit from the busy US 17, or Roosevelt Blvd. Since moving in February from Roosevelt Square Mall into a 1,914 square-foot standalone location on the corner of Beverly Street at 4265 Roosevelt Blvd., the parking lot is often at capacity or worse, spilling over into the neighborhood. This becomes a common occurrence, particularly on weekdays before 8 a.m., during the early morning coffee rush.

Often times, a line of vehicles wraps around the store drive-thru waiting in a line that forms in the path of the outgoing lane for property egress. The ‘compact’ titled spots on the lot have limited space to back out during this time, spilling the overflow on to Beverly Avenue when the parking is too difficult to navigate, proposing a challenge to drivers on both roadways.

The crux of the issue appears to be the volume of vehicles for a lot too small to accommodate the demand, especially during the high volume timeframes. The conditions border on treacherous as cars trying to get out don’t have anywhere to go and those coming in scramble to get in and find a spot; some risk stopping on Roosevelt to wait for the drive-thru line or a backing vehicle.

The lot also has a set of green arrows indicating the flow-through in a certain direction and white arrows that are supposed to serve as outgoing direction indicators. As cars hug the building for the line at the drive-thru, they cover the white directional arrows [indicating outgoing traffic] creating an unusual and confusing traffic flow.

“I can see the concerns,” said David King, a regular customer who lives nearby and usually walks for his morning coffee to avoid the traffic. “It is really a tight area with limited parking spaces; it’s a small space for people to back out.”

Starbucks_02Drivers of larger vehicles are particularly inconvenienced and often can’t park at all because of the tight conditions when the lot is full.
Some residents say they’ve seen traffic tie-ups that create an unsafe situation, especially on a main thoroughfare with a posted speed of 45 mph.
A City Planning and Development Department spokesman said the business meets all zoning requirements of a drive-thru restaurant at that location for its lot size and exceeds the minimum number of parking spaces by three, to 23.

If there are periodic times when the business becomes full and it affects street traffic it’s up to motorists to safely maneuver around the situation, the spokesman said.

A resident living a few doors down said she’s unhappy with her new neighbor.

“People park their car at the end (of Beverly) to go inside and then you have cars (turning from Roosevelt) and you can’t get through. People drive stupid sometimes and it gets frustrating,” said the neighbor, who asked that her name not be used.

Seattle-based Starbucks, which has more than two dozen locations in the Jacksonville area, said it would not make the Roosevelt Boulevard store manager available for an interview.

“As you can imagine, we receive a large number of similar requests and cannot always accommodate,” a Starbucks spokesperson stated in an email.

By Greg Walsh
Resident Community News

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