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Welcome to Woodward, May I Take Your Order

Refresher course in Urban Planning 101

The Lakewood Planning Commission's meeting on October 19 wasn’t a win, but it wasn’t a slaughter either.  The Commission deferred its vote until the next meeting in November which give residents time to beef up their arsenal.  They know that if they walk away now, if they go willingly, loss of any concessions is a certainty. 

Most residents are under no illusion that the Detroit Theatre will be saved.  They know that corporate giant McDonald’s is setting up shop on the corner of Woodward and Detroit.  But their concerns and suggestions go unheard despite the ostensibly interested and concerned faces of the Summers administration.  The residents are frustrated at their lack of input and insulted by the information fed to them, most recently the GPD Traffic Impact Study performed by GPD Group and financed by McDonald’s Corporation.

Robert P. Kelly, PE, an engineer not affiliated with the City or McDonald’s, reviewed the GPD study and came to the following conclusions as to why the study is not an accurate or complete assessment of future conditions:

1.    The study assumes that 70% of the traffic from McDonald's is destined to the drive-through.  No engineering data or analysis was provided to justify this.  A similar size development should have been counted and data provided in the report.

2.   The driveway volumes exiting and entering the site shown in the figures for the build condition are lower than the calculated volumes from the trip generation. 

3.   The Detroit Avenue corridor has a high incidence of pedestrian activity as evidenced by the traffic counts in the appendices.  The capacity analyses for the unsignalized intersections did not account for this volume.

4.  The study shows a marginally acceptable level of service for the northbound direction at Detroit.  However, this was accomplished by averaging the right and left turn movements.  The left turn movement has a much higher average delay than the right turn movement due to the need for a larger gap in the traffic stream.  For the opening year of 2012 it is rated at a failing level of "E".  [Rated C according to the study.]  In the 20 year analysis, the LOS falls to an F.  Since a traffic signal is not warranted, there will be no relief for those motorists on Woodland Avenue. To improve the motorist and pedestrian safety and reduced congestion a traffic signal should be installed. 

The residents have an expert report, evidence based on other projects, incidental evidence based on peoples’ experiences in similar situations and common sense stating that the McDonald’s project is fraught with huge problems as it stands.  Yet the Planning Commission, if they had their way, would proceed full speed.  Why no change in the plans when other logical and safer options are available?  Maybe somewhere lies a certain incentive. 

If changes are not made to the current plan, the legacy of Mayor Summers’ administration will be a dirty behemoth McDonald’s built in an inappropriate location which will be the cause of disgruntled residents, pedestrians and motorists, disturbances, accidents and possibly loss of life.  Not just now but for 20+ years into the future, without recourse.  Also for the books will be the Planning Commission’s reliance on, in part, a slanted traffic study.  Is this how the Summers administration wants to be remembered?  I wouldn’t want my name on this hot mess.  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Barb October 25, 2011 at 04:17 AM
Tate. To assert that I am conjecturing would be a mistake on your part. I believe that "observations" would be a better word. No assumptions, no guessing, and certainly no hearsay. You are "literally concerned for the lives" of your children? That's interesting. As a Lakewood parent, I have found that any real threat to my childrens' lives certainly did not come as a result of a drive thru or traffic. I have stated before that "keeping Lakewood local" has been listed as an issue above safety concerns. And, Joe, it certainly is an issue for the "select few." Those I have spoken to welcome the new McDonald's. There appears to be very few of the 120 houses on Woodward interested in the protest. Amending the zoning laws is not going to happen in time to prevent the McDonald's from being built. And, I'll bet that the "select few" won't follow through after that. Had you taken an interest in zoning laws back when others were being negatively affected by corprate expansion, the issue would be a moot point. Had McD's elected to build somewhere else, the select few of Woodward would not be organizing a protest, but merely issuing a "tsk, tsk" as they went about their day. But, protests do tend to be a "put it in someone else's backyard" endeavor. I'll lay odds the issue will be dropped, albeit grudgingly, once the McD's enters the 'hood. But, feel free to prove me... and McD's, a corporation which I am sure has dealt with this before... wrong.
Tate Davidson October 25, 2011 at 02:30 PM
"To assert that I am conjecturing would be a mistake on your part" "I'll BET most of the residents of Woodward shop at Walmart …" "I wonder if the author patronizes ONLY Lakewood's lcoal establishments. My GUESS is no" Pretty much contradicted yourself there. "You are "literally concerned for the lives" of your children? That's interesting. As a Lakewood parent, I have found that any real threat to my childrens' lives certainly did not come as a result of a drive thru or traffic." Is this really that hard to believe? A moving car will kill a child. More cars at fast speeds increases the likelihood that something could happen. My kids happen to be very good friends with the neighbors across the street. It's not a stretch to think that maybe that could be dangerous. I find it insulting that you have trouble believing that. Obviously you are in favor of this McDonald's for some reason and you have a right to be that way. Maybe you work there or eat there all the time or own stock in it I really don't care. Kind of silly that you are so upset that people have multiple reasons for not wanting a McDonald's here. Just because it is dangerous AND it isn't a local business doesn't mean people are disingenuous - if anything, it adds to the reason why people should really think about this …
Alex Vandehoff October 25, 2011 at 03:05 PM
McDonald's is a local business....in Oak Brook, Illinois. There's a careful balance between attracting business investment and rolling over for a corporation. I am concerned about the traffic impact and lack of stoplight. Lakewood is an 'active traffic' city when you consider all the street parking, businesses on main streets, etc. Drivers need to be cautious of all pedestrians, and all pedestrians need to be cautious of vehicles. If your kid can't cross the street on their own, then don't let them sprint back and forth in front of a drive-through.
Cat Donovan October 25, 2011 at 05:44 PM
The problems cannot be dealt with individually. It's not just about children crossing the street. It is a multilayered problem: traffic, pedestrians, residents in close proximity to the site, town integrity, architecture, lighting, noise, litter, loitering, City officials, safety, zoning laws and likely others. People eager for McDonald's at the proposed site are either young, shortsighted or uninformed. Too bad we will be the ones to say I told you so.
Tate Davidson October 25, 2011 at 09:01 PM
Perhaps this awesome McDonald's commercial is a metaphor for this debate … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLyh32axL0o

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