Pedestrians are beating a path to Monticello’s new McDonald’s restaurant, but a route they’re taking has prompted a city sidewalk feasibility study.
The existing 4,500 square-foot fast-food restaurant at 100 Oakwood Drive E. was replaced with a new 5,158 square-foot restaurant that opened in late August.
Council members approved a motion Monday night directing city staff to study the possibility of installing a sidewalk along the north side of Oakwood Drive.
According to City Engineer Bruce Westby, adding the sidewalk would create a safe pedestrian connection from the McDonald’s restaurant to Highway 25.
Westby stated in a background memo the recently created “on road” option for pedestrians is not a safe alternative due to the high level of traffic and turning movements at the busy intersection.
His memo also included two roadside views of the beaten pedestrian path.
The sidewalk connection was recommended to McDonald’s during the restaurant’s conditional use permit (CUP) and site planning process earlier this year, but company representatives didn’t believe conditions warranted the sidewalk, particularly because safe crossing didn’t exist to the SuperAmerica site next door.
During planning commission discussion of the project’s CUP in January, then Planning Commissioner Rod Dragsten brought up the pedestrian access issue.
Eric Kellogg, a project engineer with Landform Engineering, attended the project’s Jan. 3 public hearing and represented McDonald’s.
Commissioners asked about the possibility of a sidewalk connection along the west side of the property. Kellogg said a retaining wall along the northwestern side of the McDonald’s property and the project’s existing grade made the construction of a sidewalk prohibitive.
Kellogg noted the restaurant’s reconfigured parking lot would allow smoother circulation and place parking adjacent to the front door.
A dedicated drive-through lane would allow traffic next to the building to flow freely, he said.
According to Westby, in order for the city to have the opportunity to assess McDonald’s a share of the sidewalk cost, the project will need to be completed as a public improvement project.
The feasibility study will include financing alternatives for council review. The council voted 4-0 to approve the study Monday night.