Comment of the Day: It’s Drive-Thrus, Not Apartments, That Are the Real Traffic-Causing Menace

COMMENT OF THE DAY: IT’S DRIVE-THRUS, NOT APARTMENTS, THAT ARE THE REAL TRAFFIC-CAUSING MENACE Traffic Backup at Starbucks Drive-Thru“Feared traffic density related to construction of highrise apt/condo buildings is severely overestimated. Traffic flow in and out of the garages is spread out throughout the course of the day, so the increased number of cars will be mostly unnoticed at any point in time on any given day. There are more traffic concerns associated with a drive thru at Starbucks when the line backs up onto the street, thereby interfering with cars which are trying to get around the line. People do crazy things with their cars when trying to get in line for their coffee.” [Escout, commenting on Construction Work Has Begun on the Ashby Highrise] Illustration: Lulu

20 Comment

  • Not only Starbucks’ drive thru but every other fast food restaurant’s drive thru such as Mc Donald’s (I.e. Mc Donald’s on Washington Av close to the I-10 intersection).

  • The drive thrus, and the off-duty police officers that regulate traffic entrances into office buildings.

  • The worst offender I’ve seen is Shipley’s on Ella, just north of 34th Street. There are dozens of open parking spots next to the store, but people stupidly sit in their cars and back up onto Ella all day and all night. As if traffic around there wasn’t bad enough already.

  • While I agree that traffic from a high rise tends to be spread out over the day, the Ashby high rise is going to have a restaurant on the ground floor. Add that to the usual after work traffic and it is going to be noticeable.

  • Yeah, but people -like- Starbucks. They shop there themselves. They aren’t going to kvetch about the traffic from that. And if they have the stacking done properly, a Starbucks isn’t going to cause many problems on surrounding streets. If you want traffic problems, put a concert or sports venue on the site. Ever try to drive on South Main when a Texans game is letting out?
    I see where you’re coming from, though. For multifamily projects, traffic complaints are usually cover for something else: concern that the tenants are the “wrong kind of people,” or concern that the building is out of character, or some other complaint that’s too subjective or politically incorrect to run with.
    It’s a shame, really, because if neighbors stuck to the real concerns, they’d be better off. Honesty is always the best policy.

  • The traffic leaving will be similar at 7:30 a.m. on a Tuesday as it will be at 10:30?

  • Speaking of traffic creating fast food lines, let’s talk about the El Rey on Washington @ Shepherd. I watch oblivious people sit in a 30 minute drive-thru line backed up onto Shepherd, while I can stroll in and out in 5 minutes with my food. People amaze me sometimes. Also the Chick-fil-a on 59 near Greenway is a hot mess at lunch, even with 3 dedicated drive-thru lanes.

  • @j – Well that Shipley’s has been there and had traffic backing up onto Ella for as long as I can remember, so well over 3 decades. Doesn’t matter how many spots are open people will sit in the drive thru line obediently waiting for their glazed donut fix. There may be surrounding parking but if they all tried to go inside to order I’m not sure they’d fit – the place is TINY.

  • Stay away from my drive-thrus. This ain’t Atlanta! I’ll fight you to the death!

  • “Traffic flow in and out of the garages is spread out throughout the course of the day, ”

    What nonsense is this? Why would traffic patterns in a high rise follow such radically different patterns as the rest of the traffic in the world. Rush hour isn’t just the name of a great movie franchise

  • @MrEction
    Why? Staggered work hours and different work locations for every resident. That’s why.

    Cars will leave the building at a rate of one every 20-30 seconds, or about 1-2 extra per light cycle. I would imagine that IF this incremental traffic from Ashby slows down Bissonnet significantly during rush, 1-2 people who don’t live on Ashby will find an alternate route.

    Similarly, Ashby residents will adjust their schedules. If they find out that 50 people all want to leave the building between 7:44 am and 7:45 am, they will adjust so that they don’t have to queue up on in the parking garage.

  • @MrEction: Rush hour happens over the course of two hours. Do the math. Say you’ve got a 300 unit building. Assume you have 300 people commuting during rush hour (very high estimate, but used to illustrate a point). Those 300 people will come and go over a a 120 minute period in the morning and evening. So you’re talking about 2.5 cars per minute coming out of the garage.
    Compare that to a stadium, where they might have 20,000 people leaving over 30 minutes, and you can see it’s not a huge deal. Comparing it to a drive through is a little harder, because it takes longer to go through a drive through than it does to leave a parking lot or garage. (Time to order, time to wait for it to be ready, time to pay and pick it up).
    That said, going back to the original discussion: there’s a lot wrong with the siting of the Ashby High Rise without bringing traffic concerns into it. I wish opponents would concentrate on the real issues.

  • There was a fried chicken place just east of Gessner on Richmond, that must have almost given away chicken on Tuesdays. Every Tuesday the drive through line was backed up several cars into the street starting at around 5 or 6. Every other day at that time, dead. I am not sure why, but it was crazy.

  • I’m sure the Ashby Highrise will have a dedicated off duty police officer to help their tenants enter and exit onto Bissonett.

  • Never understood the authority of a rent-a-cop to stop me in the right of way. It is one thing to help make a gap for folks in slow moving traffic, but they often make you stop/wait vs the person coming/going to the hiring establishment.

  • I had a dramatic drive-thru car duel last night at the Montrose Smoothie King. It was invigorating (the smoothie, not the experience).

  • I see this almost every day just in my limited daily routine.
    Cars lined up on Shepherd to get into Starbucks drive-thru.
    Cars lined up on West Gray to get into Starbucks drive thru.
    Cars lined up on Ella to get into the Shipley’s drive-thru.
    Cars lined up on West 43rd to get into Starbucks drive-thru.

    Who in their right mind thinks that you block a lane of traffic to line up for coffee and donuts?

    Oh that would be our new residents of Montrose and Garden Oaks!

  • This is one of those things I found really weird when I moved here (& now am just used to). I don’t really see how anybody with the slightest bit of common sense thinks it’s a good idea to sit in traffic lane on a major road in a line-up to buy a coffee or an egg mcmuffin, and I don’t know what the law says here, but back east you’d be ticketed for it. (My neighborhood carwash used to post someone outside on weekends to reminder people NO YOU CANNOT BLOCK THE ROAD TO WAIT FOR A CARWASH GO SOMEWHERE ELSE UNTIL THE LINE IS SHORTER, DUH.)

    I see this at the Starbucks on Shepherd near West Alabama and what’s really funny is that you can park in the lot or on the side street (acres of open parking most of the time – but OMG you have to walk thirty feet!) and be in and out much faster than sitting in the drive-through line like an idiot.

  • Oh, and as for the rent-a-cops blocking traffic for the benefit of the people who rented them – it’s outrageous and ought to be illegal. These guys make the already bad traffic in the Galleria worse every afternoon. It’s basically letting a private entity take over public roads to the detriment of thousands of people over the course of a rush hour, and it’s ludicrous that this is allowed.

  • Hear hear!!! To John(another one). I’m not sure if this is more irritating than turning left on green arrow only but it is maddening.