The City of Great Bend is continuing to work on the issues involving the entrance into McDonald’s, City Administrator Kendal Francis said, addressing the City Council Monday night about the westbound traffic wanting to enter the restaurant’s 10th Street driveway.
Problems arise when westbound drivers headed for the restaurant pull into the turning lane and load it up against eastbound drivers who want to turn north. Although against state traffic laws, this has been a problem for a long time.
“I just wanted to let the citizens know that we will be making some more permanent changes there in the turning area,” he said. “You will probably see already that we’ve put up some no-left-turn signs that are supposed to prevent people from turning.”
Also, he said they have ordered delineators (posts marking the no-turning lines) that will be placed in the concrete. “They’re basically a plastic barrier that will physically prevent cars from making that turn.”
He didn’t know when those would be in place. “But, as soon as we get those, we will be installing them,” he said.
The delineators will not interfere with eastbound traffic wanting to pull into the turning lane to make a left-hand turn onto Harrison. “We are also going to change the markings a little bit to better define the turning lane,” Francis said.
Technically, 10th Street is considered part of U.S. 56 and K-156 highways, and improvements require the blessing of the Kansas Department of Transportation, he said. “We’ve had some discussions with KDOT and they are fine with what we are proposing.”
A no U-turn sign will also be installed just west of the delineators (spaced 10 feet apart) to prevent westbound traffic from U-turning coming back the other way, he said.
Changing driving habits
This means that westbound motorists wishing to enter McDonald’s will have to turn left and use the Harrison Street entrance, Francis said. They are looking at placing signs warning drivers about the change, but haven’t decided just where to place them.
This is only fair, said Councilman Dana Dawson. “We’re going to need to give them a little bit of warning before they get there.”
“Have we made contact with McDonald’s on some of this?” Mayor Cody Schmidt asked.
“We have,” Francis said. “We actually talked to them about physically changing their 10th Street entrance to make it more of a defined right-turn in and right-turn out.”
But, any such changes would require McDonald’s corporate approval, he said.
“We have made them aware that we are making those changes,” Francis said. “We’ve been trying to do what was going to be the least impact to that business, but it just hasn’t worked.”
A matter of education
Back in January, the city tried to get the word out so drivers could self-correct their driving habits, with the possibility of the Police Department issuing tickets. But, it hasn’t worked just trying to educate drivers about the rules.
“So we’re going to have to go with something more permanent,” Francis said.
“It will take a little bit of education,” he said. “But, people will get used to it eventually.”
The eastbound traffic is essentially three lanes. That includes the inside and outside lanes, and the center turning lane designed to turn north onto Harrison.
However, “I know there’s been some miscommunication that crossing over a double yellow line is illegal,” he said. But, “It’s not illegal if you are turning into a private driveway.”
Kansas Department of Transportation traffic counts indicate that 12,800 cars and 1,500 trucks pass through the area daily. Factoring in the diagonal railroad crossing, it becomes a very challenging intersection.