Dubbing the troubled intersection at 10th and Harrison “unique,” Great Bend city officials are imploring those craving a Big Mac to obey the law when trying to enter the McDonald’s restaurant from 10th Street.
“We’ve had some issues with traffic turning into McDonald’s off of 10th Street,” Francis said. “This has been a reoccurring issue.”
Specifically, the problem is with west-bound motorists wanting to enter the restaurant’s 10th Street driveway, he said.
The east-bound traffic is essentially three lanes, he said. That includes the inside and outside lanes, and the center turning lane designed to turn north onto Harrison.
It is that turning lane that is at the core of the concerns. “Over the course of time, people who are west-bound are using that east-bound turn lane for a turn lane into McDonald’s,” Francis said.
“That is not legal.” One can legally turn into McDonald’s from the inside west-bound lane, crossing the turn lane.
“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.”
Problems arise when drivers headed for the restaurant pull into the turning lane and load it up against east-bound drivers who want to turn north.
“We are going to start getting the word out and help to make the public more aware” that this is against the law, he said.
Francis said the city has contacted the Kansas Department of Transportation to ask for assistance. This could involve better markings or a redesign of the markings to help emphasize the proper way to turn.
The city has also been in touch with its on-call engineering firm, Professional Engineering Consultants of Wichita, seeking guidance. The engineers said there are some pavement-mounted “flexible delineators,” which are basically flags permanently installed along the lane lines.
“They are nice, but they come with some issues,” Francis said. Among these would be interfering with snow removal.
Still, “it could be an investment we would make,” he said. “That might be a solution,”
KDOT officials were off Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Francis said it may be late in the week when they come up with possible solutions. But, there are questions about who will be responsible.
Tenth Street is a state highway (U.S. 56) but it falls within the city limits. “It may fall more on us,” Francis said.
In the meantime, “if it continues to be an issue, we will work into being punitive and the police will have to start ticketing for that offense,” he said. “Now, we are in the education phase and want to make people aware and get some self-correction.”
Councilman Dana Dawson said he drives that stretch regularly and has seen traffic stacked all the way east to Perkins. “I literally could not believe it. It just backs them up forever.”
Perhaps, Dawson said, the city should install a sign encouraging drivers to turn south on Harrison and enter McDonald’s from there.
“McDonald’s is a business that brings a lot to our community,” Mayor Cody Schmidt said. While the traffic may be a problem, the city needs be careful not to interfere with customers wanting to patronize it.
Railroad tracks running through there create an issue because the stop bar is set back so far, Francis said. “It is just a unique intersection in a lot of regards.”
Even so, “I think it’s time we address it,” he said.