Wednesday, November 22 , 2017, 9:50 am | Fair 74º


Local News

Congestion at New Chick-fil-A on State Street Hard for Some to Swallow

Santa Barbara officials order the installation of signs warning motorists not to block traffic while waiting to enter the drive-through

Crowds flocking to the new Chick-fil-A restaurant in Santa Barbara are causing a bit of indigestion for neighbors and city traffic officials.

The restaurant’s drive-through window has been so popular that cars having been backing up onto State Street, causing congestion and prompting city officials to order the installation of signs warning motorists not to block the roadway’s right lane.

Chick-fil-A, which opened Feb. 7 at 3707 State St., has one of the few drive-throughs allowed in the city, and neighbors have been complaining about congestion in the area, according to traffic engineer Derek Bailey.

Drivers have been blocking the right-hand lane and a bike lane when the line has snaked out of the restaurant’s small parking lot.

Public Works officials say they hope it’s a temporary problem while people are trying out the restaurant.

The same thing happened when Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods opened, but everything settled into a more normal traffic pattern eventually, Bailey noted.

The city has ordered the installation of signs stating, “No waiting on street for parking lot” — and the appropriate Vehicle Code section — to post near the restaurant, and will install them soon.

“We’re really hoping we don’t have to send police along there for enforcement,” he said. “People just want a chicken sandwich; we get that.”

Chick-fil-A employees are trying to help by taking orders outside by hand so not every car has to wait and order into the speaker, which is making the line move faster, Bailey said.

“We hope it dies down in a few weeks,” he said. “If police enforcement is required, with that and signs, word will get out that people can’t wait on the street. Go around the block, or go down the block, park and walk.”

The site was formerly a Burger King, and has been the topic of controversy in Santa Barbara since Chick-fil-A president and CEO Dan Cathy said he opposed same-sex marriage in an interview last summer.

Architectural Board of Review members abstained from a vote on minor changes to the Santa Barbara project, some because of personal opinions about the company, and were later reprimanded and required to go through ethics training.

Since the restaurant’s opening, employees have been handing out coupons and giveaways, and there have been several protests by UCSB students and others.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >