Drive-thru-only Starbucks approved to open

Author: HALEY ZARCONE Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

A first-of-its-kind Starbucks is hoping to open in Fort Myers right in the Walmart parking lot off Six Mile Cypress and Colonial Boulevard. However, the city council has concerns about the area this drive-thru-only coffee shop wants to go to when it comes to traffic.

“I would be proud to say this is the first one in the country. But I wouldn’t be proud to say this is the first one in the country that got hit. Somebody got hit by a car,” said Johnny Streets, a member of the Fort Myers City Council.

But, the city council voted to approve the Starbucks at the busy corner after the city said they did a traffic study.

It takes years of data to put one study together, and it’s not just about how long your commute may be; it’s also about how many cars can fit in the roadway safely.

Building the drive-thru-only Starbucks off of Colonial Boulevard and Six Mile Cypress impacts more than just your daily coffee run.

Many drivers worry the new development means more traffic to an already congested area.

A traffic study was done by transportation consultants to see if the intersection could handle more cars, and the results indicate it can.

WINK News took the plans for the intersection to FGCU civil engineer Dr. Claude Villers. He did not work on the project but can talk about the findings and what it means for drivers.

“The traffic analysis includes the amount of traffic that you currently have now, and then the business that you go into and predicts high traffic,” said Villiers.

Villiers said the data is not only collected during rush hour. It is all hours of the day for years, sometimes even decades.

“Traffic level is not based on the flow of just what it is, but also is a factor of how many cars that you also have,” said Villiers.

Villiers agrees with the study but also lives near the area and knows from first-hand experience why there is a concern about more traffic.

“The driving and Six Mile and Colonial over time is a challenge, so the traffic is really very congested during rush hour for both morning and afternoon,” said Villiers.

The Fort Myers City Council voted 4-2 in favor to approve the development earlier this week. There is no word when construction will begin.

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