Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development
True story. They voted with their “buckets and chains” … and we got the message.
As a little background, when The Shops at the Crossing (north side of Alberta) and former La-Z-Boy store – now The Shoppes at Baldwin Square (south side of Alberta) were constructed in the early 2000’s across from Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, it was the City’s preference that these commercial projects not allow vehicular access onto Alberta.
Why? Alberta was considered a “residential road” and the City wanted to prevent unnecessary cut-through traffic in the neighborhood. Both developers accepted the City’s wishes and access was only permitted to Baldwin Road.
However, once built and operational the Police Department started to observe drivers becoming confused about where to turn into these shopping centers. Many people mistakenly turned onto Alberta looking to shop or eat. With no way to enter the retail parking lots, these motorists began to use Alberta homeowner’s driveways to turn around and go back to Baldwin Road. This problem became worse in recent years with the re-birth of the former La-Z-Boy into The Shoppes at Baldwin Square which includes the popular Qdoba Mexican Grill and Five Guys Burger and Fries Restaurants.
So, what did some of the Alberta residents do? They became frustrated. Some called us. Others addressed the situation by placing buckets and chains in their driveways to block motorists from using their property to turn around. This was an unintended consequence to what we thought was smart land use policy at the time.
Understanding that something had to be done, the City worked to address this challenge by asking the owners of both retail centers to add driveways onto Alberta. The owner of the southern center can easily add a new driveway since the land is flat in that area. However, adding a new drive at the northern center is proving to be much more complex and costly due to a large berm and utilities being in the way. This north drive mostly likely will not happen anytime soon.
Thus after careful study, a few days ago the Planning Commission authorized City staff to proceed with facilitating these new driveways onto both sides of Alberta. We expect The Shoppes at Baldwin Square (south side) of Alberta will add its new driveway this Fall.
We are hopeful this solution will reduce the number of unwanted visitors for our Alberta residents so that the buckets and chains will no longer be needed.