In-N-Out burger joint plans spur traffic fears in Beaverton
Residents had a lot to say regarding the possible In-N-Out Burger in Washington County, near Beaverton.
On Monday, Dec. 28, Cassie Yee, a project manager for In-N-Out Burger, hosted a virtual neighborhood meeting attended by more than 100 participants.
The event discussed details about a potential drive-thru restaurant at 10565 S.W. Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, which is across the street from Uwajimaya Beaverton and next to Chik-fil-A.
Many of the questions at the meeting centered on potential traffic problems caused by the long drive-thru lines the chain's other restaurants have experienced upon opening. Other questions also focused on the existing traffic problems drivers and nearby residents already experience on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway.
But Yee said the site plan proposes to consolidate the two driveways that serve the property to one, which would prevent a backup of cars trying to enter and exit out of driveways that are currently spaced close together.
"By maintaining a shared access point further down to the east, we will be able to maintain maximum circulation and flexibility for all the customers entering and exiting the property off of the main street (of) Southwest Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway," said Yee. "Lastly, there is currently a driveway to the north along Laurel Avenue that will remain unchanged… We have oriented our building specifically to maintain convenient access and circulation off of Beaverton-Hillsdale."
She added that In-N-Out is also maximizing the efficiency of the parking lot to allow for potential drive through overflow areas and ample parking spaces to avoid causing undue burden on the surrounding streets.
The plan also includes a drive-thru lane that can hold up to 20 cars.
As for wait times at the drive-thru, Yee said the site design accommodates for high demand.
The restaurant will also have two grills always operating, along with a third grill activated during periods of high volume to increase the speed of orders. An associate will also be deployed to take orders in the parking lot.
According to Yee, In-N-Out has an overflow plan that can accommodate 43 cars before they reach Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway.
But Beaverton resident Christina Gamgene isn't convinced that the plan would control traffic on the highway and the surrounding streets.
"I use that highway all the time," said Gamgene. "It is a popular highway (and) I have taken multiple pictures out there of the problems that are caused with the traffic with Chik-fil-A being there and the traffic is not going away."
Gamgene says she has no problems with the chain but is mostly concerned about the location and the traffic for residents nearby on Southwest Laurel Road.
"A business that chooses to impact a residential area does not have full concerns for the community and the residents," she added.
The Beaverton resident remembers attending the same neighborhood meetings for the nearby Chik-fil-A restaurant. Despite voicing her concerns then and now, she still sees reckless drivers on the highway, and hopes the county will listen to residents about the possible In-N-Out location.
"I feel that the project is going to the pushed through no matter what," said Gamgene. "Because as someone said in the meeting, bottom line is revenue not just for the business but for the county, and it's a detriment to the city and to the residents. It doesn't show respect for the residents, and they continue to just push these types of projects on us."
Yee did acknowledge the ongoing traffic in the area and said In-N-Out is working with a registered and licensed traffic engineering consultant for a traffic report. The report would also be coordinated with Washington County, Beaverton and the Oregon Department of Transportation, which has jurisdiction over Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, officially Highway 10.
"The analysis will study the effect that the development may have on the local traffic," she explained. "And if any, how that (impact) might be mitigated or minimized."
Yee added that pre-pandemic levels of traffic will also be taken into consideration.
Noting the long lines at the Keizer In-N-Out Burger, Yee said businesses in the complex haven't been blocked and the coronavirus pandemic has forced more drivers to use the drive-thru lanes.
The next step?
Yee says In-N-Out will submit a formal application to the county after the community meeting. Once the traffic report is complete, the county will review it and In-N-Out will send out public notices to the neighboring property owners to inform them of what the status is of the project.
Plans are to open one of the popular California-based burger chains in the current location of another restaurant, Hawaiian Time, which would be demolished.
"Our building consists of 3,879 square feet, which will have 84 indoor seats. Our site plan shows 53 parking stalls, which is in well excess of the minimum parking requirement of 20 stalls," said Yee. "The provision of ample parking will offer an alternative during peak drive-thru demand for customers to either pick outdoor seating of approximately 12 four-seat tables and additional two-seat tables placed around our building, for a total of approximately 56 outdoor seats."
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