The week's The Woodstock Independent reports McDonald's plan to improve its Woodstock restaurant and to close the exit from the restaurant onto Route 47 right at the traffic light at South St./Country Club Rd.
That exit has been a danger for years, and McDonald's, IDOT and the City's Public Works Department have not been willing to put their noggins together for a solution. Actually, I think that McDonald's would have, but the City wouldn't get behind the effort.
Some drivers, who are too busy and rushed in their lives to park and walk into the restaurant, will wait minutes longer in the drive-thru line (using up gas and polluting the air), and then roll up to the corner, look both ways (maybe), and then turn left out of McDonald's!
To do that they must cross three lanes of southbound traffic. And, often, they have a huge blind spot in the form of a stopped truck or car in the southbound left-turn lane, and they cannot see northbound traffic; so they stop and impede southbound traffic while waiting for a gap in northbound traffic. Or they pull into the southbound left-turn lane and stop, meeting left-turn traffic head-on until they can move over.
Other drivers pull out of McDonald's, make a wide right and try to enter the southbound left-turn lane, so that they can go east on Country Club Road.
In 13 years I have never seen a driver stopped for either maneuver. Pleas to the Woodstock Police Department have not resulted in any enforcement that I know of.
McDonald's could have installed No Left Turn signs at the exit to discourage those turns, even if they had no legal effect, but they wouldn't. Perhaps their lawyers warned them off that idea, because a driver getting into a crash would then go for McDonald's deep pockets and claim Mickey Dee was at fault for not having a bigger sign!
The new McDonald's building and driveway configuration for double drive-thru lanes will solve this problem, because the exit will be closed. Hopefully, the new driveway design will alter the entrance on Route 47, so that northbound traffic cannot turn left into McDonald's. I've lost track of the number of times I have been in the southbound left-turn lane on Route 47 and have had to stop for a vehicle facing me head-on, waiting to turn left into McDonald's.
The Woodstock Zoning Board of Appeals has already approved parking setback variations, according to the TWI article this week. I'm not a frequent customer of McDonald's, but I don't recall seeing any Hearing Notices. Were they there?
McDonald's claims that 70% of its customers use the drive-thru, instead of eating in. The article was unclear whether that is a national, regional or Woodstock figure.
The current building will be closed and demolished, and redevelopment on that corner may take 3-4 months. Better get your fry fix before March.