Neighbors of the Pecos Pit Barbecue project at 4400 35th SW are asking for a meeting with city reps to show their concerns about its drive-thru exiting onto SW Genesee.
The concerns aren’t new – they’ve come up since the proposal (first reported here a year ago) was shown to include a drive-through, which will be the fourth in the 35th/Avalon vicinity (after KFC, Taco Time, and Starbucks). But as neighbors point out, they’re unique because the drive-through on the restaurant’s east side will have vehicles exiting onto residential SW Genesee to the north, where parking overflow from the apartments and condos along Avalon tends to result in one travel lane.
The city has approved the plan and said it didn’t require a wider review because it wasn’t a change in use for the building, owned by City Light and formerly a teriyaki restaurant. But that restaurant didn’t have a drive-through. Neighbors say they’re not opposed to the new restaurant but they think the city has underestimated its likely popularity and that will result in not just more traffic to Genesee but also a backup on the entrance to the drive-thru, which is from an alley to the south.
In an e-mail loop about the continuing concerns, city rep Bryan Stevens said that if there’s a “long-term problem” once the restaurant’s been open, the city can take another look:
When our staff reviewed the proposal, it was for the purpose of using an existing restaurant building for a new restaurant with the addition of a drive-in function. Based on the size of the new restaurant space and that it was a small local business (not a high-volume chain), staff did not see the need to require any additional queuing space beyond what was shown. While there are prescriptive queuing requirements for high-volume drive-in businesses such as banks and gas stations, restaurant businesses require staff to use their discretion based on what is known about the business and its operations.
While it’s possible upon first opening that there may be a pent up demand leading to queuing challenges, staff determined that for normal average operations, that the spaces shown on the plans would accommodate the demand and traffic flow. If queuing volume presents a long term problem after the business is in operation, then SDOT will have the business develop and implement an approved revision to better manage the vehicle queues.
Councilmember Lisa Herbold, also in the e-mail conversation, says she has already looked into “what types of streets a drive through service can utilize. The response from DCI was that only Pedestrian Zones (which begins at SW Alaska) limit curb cuts along certain streets and prohibit businesses which are car-centric.” Neighbors are now asking for her and city and project reps to meet at the site for a firsthand look.