Side stepping congestion

There was less traffic than anticipated during the opening of the new Chick-Fil-A in Covington.

As Chick-fil-A opened its doors April 12 in Covington, many feared traffic would increase.

However, Chick-fil-A did not bring as much unwanted traffic as anticipated by city officials.

According to Karla Slate, communications for the city of Covington, traffic in the area has remained normal. She said they have not seen any backups on Kent Kangley or on Wax Road.

“Traffic is as if nothing was going on, so it’s been kind of nice, better than we expected, I think in that aspect,” she said Monday in a phone interview.

The traffic plan in place by the city will remain for the first 30 days after Chick-fil-A opened. Slate said, city officials will come together next week to see if anything needs to be changed or improved.

It was predicted in the traffic plan there would not be as much of an increase in traffic as there was at the other Chick-fil-A locations, for example the Bellevue location. Slate said she thinks people who live in the area are avoiding the roads near and around the new Chick-fil-A and that has helped keep traffic down. However she said that could change.

“Hopefully it doesn’t get that way (referring to Bellevue traffic), you know I think a lot of people are avoiding the area now, maybe in a week or two they’ll come and say ‘OK, now I’ll come and try it,’ but that time maybe quite a few more people will come,” Slate said.

Communicating with the public is another reason why Slate thinks traffic in the area has remained normal. The city did communicate to the community what was going on and Slate said she has received minimal feedback.

“We haven’t heard too much at all. I think I’ve only gotten one comment on social media, just saying that the officers and staff were doing a good job at getting people through there quickly,” she said. “We have had a few comments just about the Walmart parking lot delaying usage for the drive thru is a little confusing so they’re just working on that trying to make sure people understand where to go once they pull in there, but nothing negative. I think it’s exactly what people were expecting, but just less traffic.”

Slate said the Walmart parking lot has been the biggest problem with the new Chick-fil-A opening.

Chick-fil-A made an agreement with Walmart to allow cars waiting for the drive thru to be able to lineup in the parking lot. Slate said this has caused some congestion.

“The cars from the drive thru are being directed (to the Walmart parking lot) and the main reason (for congestion) is because people normally use Walmart parking lot as a cut through and not necessarily shoppers there, but people cutting through to kind of avoid the 272nd traffic. So they’re cutting through not realizing that there’s congestion there, which is causing a little more congestion,” Slate said.

Slate said she herself drove by the Chick-fil-A on April 16 to see how traffic was and to see how the traffic plan was working. She said there was probably an additional eight or nine cars backed up into the Walmart parking lot, but there were no backups onto any of the actual roads.