Chick-fil-A worth waiting for - but may cause you to sit in a queue on 116th Ave. NE


Photo: Chick-fil-A | TBZ video snip

Chick-fil-A is a great restaurant and continues to be very popular as a place where healthy meals are served by polite servers.  We all have become accustomed to servers saying, "my pleasure" to customers.

It is such a well-known popular place that traffic continues to back up on the corner of 116th Ave. NE at NE 8th St. during afternoon commuters coming home from work and grabbing a bite to eat at the drive-through restaurant.  

As many in the area know, Chick-fil-A is a very popular restaurant located off of the freeway exit onto NE 8th St.  Busy hours are lunch and dinner where cars start queuing up in the street in front of the restaurant, with cars waiting to enter the driveway that are backed up to the light at the corner.

Everyone seems to love Chick-fil-A with their tasty food and excellent service.  When you enter into the driveway especially during busy hours employees direct customers into two lines in the parking lot where staff takes orders quickly and sends the cars down the driveway leading to the order pickup window.

The Bellevue Zone wanted to  understand how such traffic backed up into the street could better be managed so as to avoid accidents that could happen.  As reported in our previous story a car in the line waiting to pick up their food bumped into the car ahead of them.  No major damage appeared to have occurred and the drivers talked it over, and no license information was exchanged.  

The City of Bellevue's Public Information Officer, David Grant, answered our questions if the traffic backups were being handled by the City or was of concern.  His reply was that City engineers worked with the restaurant operator on how traffic was to be queued adding signage that helped at first but then has gotten worse.

Grant explained; 

"The operator has made multiple improvements to address the increase in demand, such as allowing more cars to queue on their property, and we appreciate those efforts. The city’s Transportation Department also added signage along the property to discourage queuing in the street. We saw an improvement for a few months, but eventually the queuing returned."

As far as anything being done at present, they are evaluating the issue looking for solutions to make the intersection less bottle-necked.

"Currently, we are evaluating further modifications that can be done in the city's right-of-way to make the queue less of an impact to other drivers in the area. They include looking for a way to reduce the impact of the queue on the I-405 northbound off-ramp to eastbound Northeast Eighth Street and a way to provide dedicated space for the queue on 116th Avenue Northeast. These improvements will take some time to develop but hopefully will provide a long-term benefit to the area," Grant said in an email to TBZ.

They continue to explore options and want to continue to "improve the situation" by exploring ways that continue to respect the restaurant's being a valued business in the community.

This sounds like adding a lane making the right turn off the freeway going northbound from I-405 might be a solution where cars could be off to the side and turn right possibly into a dedicated lane added to 116th Ave. NE that queue into the restaurant.  

This could result in traffic going west bound from NE 8th St. into a left turn with a little more of a chance in finding a spot to slowly merge into that far right lane that could be added along the sidewalk where it is located now, and routing the sidewalk further inward, but it is hard to know how this would impact safety of the pedestrians having more lanes to walk across the street at that light.  The timing of the traffic lights would have to be adjusted, so that pedestrians have more time to cross more lanes of road at that intersection.

TBZ reached out to the operator and to the corporate headquarters for comment but at the time of this writing got no response.

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