A proposed Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru, which would also feature a full indoor seating/eating area, at the former Bank of America drive-thru location at 1890 Palmer Avenue Larchmont, would have no significant impact on traffic, according to a study prepared by Stonefield Engineering & Design LLC.
“The analysis findings, which have been based on industry-standard guidelines, indicate that the proposed development would not have a significant impact on the traffic operations of the adjacent roadway network,” the report concludes.
The study analyzed existing automotive and pedestrian traffic during peak hours in the affected area, and compared it to projected 2018 traffic conditions for two scenarios: one with the addition of the restaurant and one without.
Projections for the no-restaurant scenario were determined by applying an industry-standard background growth rate to the existing traffic volumes -- which, notably, do not include any drive-thru traffic, since the location is currently vacant.
To project what would happen if the restaurant were developed, the researchers used the same background growth rate, and then incorporated additional land use data for drive-thru restaurants published by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, as well as data from observations conducted at a similar Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru location in New York.
Even using the vacant drive-thru as a starting point, the study determined that the development of the restaurant would have no significant traffic impact compared to projected traffic volumes without the restaurant.
This is due in part to the way drive-thru restaurants attract patrons. Studies show that much of fast-food drive-thru business comes from drivers already on the road to another destination -- meaning these customers create no additional traffic.
“Dunkin’ Donuts with drive-thru windows are specifically located on or adjacent to busy streets to attract motorists already on the roadway,” the report states.
“Therefore, the proposed site would be expected to attract a portion of its trips from the traffic passing the site on the way from an origin to an ultimate destination (i.e., commuters to train, moms to school, etc.). These trips do not add new traffic to the adjacent roadway system and are referred to as pass-by trips.”
And the restaurant would re-occupy a pre-existing drive-thru location that was previously shown to be adequate for this purpose. “The site driveways and on-site layout have been designed to provide for effective access to and from the subject property and the proposed drive-thru lane would provide sufficient queue storage for the proposed use,” the report says.
Drive-thrus have become a mainstay for suburban areas, as companies respond to consumer demand for convenience. For instance, Starbucks has said that 60 percent of its new locations will have drive-thrus. In fact, one just opened in nearby Scarsdale.
And, Dunkin’ Donuts reports that 59 percent of traditional Dunkin’ locations have a drive-thru, with those units boasting a 23 percent higher sales volume than other traditional locations.