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Santa Barbara May Name Chick-fil-A a ‘Public Nuisance’

Posted by Denis Zilberberg
Filed in personal injury

Chick-fil-A is among the most popular fast food brands in the nation. While fans of the chain may be delighted when a location opens near them, some have found the presence of Chick-fil-A locations to cause unwanted frustrations for drivers and pedestrians. Very often, drive-thru lines for Chick-fil-A restaurants can be quite long, extending beyond the parking lot of a location and into the street. Along with interfering with other motorists’ ability to efficiently navigate the road, this can even increase the risk of accidents occurring.

Lawmakers here have recognized the degree to which Chick-fil-A’s popularity is causing local traffic problems may be so great that official action needs to be taken to remedy the situation. In Santa Barbara, where a Chick-fil-A location’s thrive-thru lines have been disrupting traffic since 2013, our local government is very close to dubbing the restaurant a “public nuisance.”

A Santa Barbara city traffic report indicates that the drive-thru line for this particular location can block one lane of traffic for up to 155 minutes on Saturdays. Even on weekdays, when the drive-thru line tends to be less busy, it can still block an entire lane of traffic for up to an hour and a half. According to this report, “The city’s traffic engineer, police chief, and community development director have evaluated the situation and believe that the persistent traffic back-up onto State Street is a public nuisance and that the nuisance is caused by the operation of a drive-through at the Chick-fil-A restaurant.”

To his credit, the restaurant’s franchise operator has stated he is working to address the issue by hiring additional staff and enlisting the help of third-party traffic control services. Whether these actions will have a significant impact on the traffic problems this Chick-fil-A location is causing has yet to be determined.

As of now, city council members who support officially designating the restaurant as a public nuisance state it appears this location has grown so popular that it has essentially outgrown the site on which it currently sits. It may be necessary for the restaurant to move to a new location if traffic conditions near the current location don’t improve.

It’s not particularly common for local governments to determine that fast-food restaurants qualify as public nuisances. That said, Santa Barbara’s decision to potentially take such steps in these circumstances should not be dismissed as a frivolous waste of time and resources. Along with increasing the risk of accidents occurring, the traffic this restaurant’s drive-thru lane generates can prevent ambulances and other emergency vehicles from reaching their destinations as quickly as they need to. It is entirely possible that officially addressing the traffic issues associated with Chick-fil-A’s drive-thru lane could save lives in Santa Barbara.

Hopefully, no one reading this will ever be harmed in an accident that could have been avoided were it not for unreasonably busy traffic conditions. However, if you ever are harmed in a car accident, pedestrian accident, or similar traffic accident, Santa Barbara personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of John B. Richards are prepared to review your case and determine whether you have grounds to seek compensation for your medical bills and related losses. Call us today at 805-683-2736 or contact us online to learn more.


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