The Planning & Zoning Commission got a glimpse of how a Dunkin' Donuts drive-through could affect traffic on Route 195, courtesy of a traffic study completed for the business by Bubaris Traffic Associates.
According to the study's conclusion, a drive-through operation could increase traffic in the area by 20 to 30 percent. The total amount of estimated car trips with the addition of a drive-through breaks down to :
- 240 trips during weekday a.m. peaks (7:15 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.)
- 70 trips during weekday p.m. peaks (4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.)
- 214 trips during Saturday mid-morning (10 a.m. to 11 a.m.)
The study states that the area's Levels of Service, based on unsignalized traffic intersection criteria, would be unchanged, with the exception of the Dunkin' Donuts' weekday peak outbound traffic, which would downgrade from a Level C "average delay" to a Level D "long delay."
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The estimates were created using data from other donut and coffee businesses, as well as fast food restaurants, taken from the Trip Generation Manual, used by the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
The study also found from the most recent CT DOT data, there were no recorded crashes at the Dunkin' Donuts driveway, although there were accidents at other adjacent driveways along Route 195.
PZC member Bill Eccles expressed concern that the study did not seem to account for potentially increased traffic from I-84, with drivers taking Tolland's exit for the convenience of the drive-through.
"Reflecting on Route 195 as a stretch of road in itself is invalid, in my view," Eccles commented.
The commissioners also noted that the study did not factor for a proposed connector road to Cider Mill Road with a traffic signal. The connector road is part of Tolland Village Area concept plans.
Dory Famiglietti, representing Dunkin' Donuts franchise owner Mario Nevas, said that that her clients were asking the PZC to consider amending Tolland Village Area regulations, allowing restaurants to apply for a special permit for drive-throughs.
According to Town Planner Linda Farmer, Tolland placed a prohibition on all drive-throughs, except for banks, back in 1987, when McDonald's applied to build a restaurant and drive-through near Rockville Bank's current location.
Chairperson Marilee Beebe said that the commission would review prior meeting minutes dealing with the drive-through issue and would invite Dunkin' Donuts back for further discussions.