As Glendora is ready to welcome Panera Bread as the newest tenant in the Glendora Marketplace, city officials are trying to iron out impending traffic headaches the new drive-thru restaurant may bring to the already congested streets in and around the shopping center.
The Glendora Planning Commission unanimously approved the design site plan for the planned 4,000-square-foot Panera Bread to be located within the Hyundai Dealership lot directly across from . However, several of the commissioners hesitantly gave the plan their approval.
While the site plan was developed to ensure proper circulation in and around the restaurant’s parking lot and that traffic would not be impeded, commissioners were wary of the plan to eliminate left turns out of driveways along Marketplace Drive.
A traffic signal midblock near would also be removed and placed further west of the restaurant. Access to Panera Bread and surrounding businesses on Marketplace Drive would be limited to a right turn/right out driveway.
“I think we’re doing businesses along this street a disservice…as we eliminate left turns,” said Commissioner Terry Kent.
Commissioners worried the site plan isolated traffic flow from businesses in the south side of the Marketplace, including the Home Goods site.
City Planner David Chantarangsu said city staff tried to discuss possible driveway alternatives with surrounding businesses, including Home Depot and In & Out, but they were unwilling to participate in the plan.
“I don’t think anyone of us has a problem with Panera,” said Commissioner Cliff Hamlow. “I think we have a problem with getting in and out of this place.”
Chantarangsu said the city hired a traffic circulation consultant to recommend a possible solution to traffic concerns at the Glendora Marketplace.
According to the study, if no changes are done to current traffic flow, cars would have to wait for more than a minute to get out of several driveways and intersections at the Marketplace, causing “major delays and backups.” The study reflected peak evening hours.
Despite their concerns, commissioners wanted to move the project forward without further delays.
“[The Marketplace] is what is keeping our city alive, especially during this last downturn…we’ve got to make it work,” said Kent.
The commission voted to approve the site plan for the new Panera Bread, on the condition the applicant and city staff try to improve traffic flow between the Panera Bread site and the Home Goods site.