Fast-food traffic congestion in Whakatāne is expected to ease up with traffic now able to use the road shoulder to head straight into the McDonald’s carpark.
Following safety concerns raised by Police, Fire and Emergency and the community about traffic blocking Domain Road outside McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King, Whakatāne District Council has removed parking on the side of the road to allow traffic to queue there while waiting to enter McDonald’s.
Eastern Bay Road Policing Manager Chris Howard said it was incredibly important to keep the road clear as it is a vital throughfare for emergency vehicles.
“This traffic congestion isn’t the fault of the fast-food outlets, unfortunately it’s down to the design of the road and we are supportive of the Council’s work to improve that design,” he said.
“It’s important our emergency services including Police, Fire and Emergency, and St John Ambulance are able to quickly reach emergencies without being impeded by traffic – this is particularly true of Fire and Emergency with the Whakatāne Fire Station based directly opposite this area.”
Council Manager Transportation Martin Taylor said the council must ensure all road users can use the road safely and the popularity of the fast-food outlets was beginning to cause an issue.
“At certain times of the day it was becoming incredibly difficult to navigate through the queuing vehicles and this was causing issues, not only with the general public, but with emergency vehicles having to take alternative routes to reach their destination,” he said.
“Removing the yellow lines is a temporary, short-term way to solve the queuing issue and we are in discussions with the fast-food outlets for longer term solutions.
“We heard the community’s voice on this issue and believe this temporary solution should provide some relief in the short-term.
“We’ll keep an eye on it to ensure it’s working the way it should and encourage people to get in touch if they have any comments or feedback.”
Anyone with feedback on the new queueing area can email Council at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07 306 0500