Bellevue’s Chick-fil-A has caused enough traffic issues since it opened just over a week ago that the city was forced to create a mitigation plan.
Lanes on NE Eighth Street and 116th Avenue NE are closed to help control the volume of cars going to the restaurant, Bellevue Police Officer Seth Tyler said.
“Since [the restaurant opened] we’ve been seeing very heavy traffic associated with the opening of the restaurant,” Tyler said.
Backups have been reported on local streets near the restaurant and I-405.
In addition to the lane closures, the city of Bellevue required the operator of the restaurant to hire off-duty law enforcement to help control traffic. Tyler said there are two officers working at a time during business hours. They’re helping people get in and out of the restaurant’s parking lot and making sure the intersection of NE Eighth Street and 116th Avenue NE is not blocked.
The officers are contracted through a third-party company, so Tyler didn’t know how much it cost to have them on duty. However, the normal overtime rate is about $66, he said.
“It’s not an insignificant amount,” Tyler said. “But it was required by the city to have those officers there to mitigate traffic.”
Traffic is expected to be affected by the restaurant for at least another week; the city will keep its mitigation efforts up until traffic dies down. Since implementing the plan, Tyler said he has seen a reduction in traffic backups.
A second Chick-fil-A opened Thursday in Tacoma. The hope, Tyler said, is it will take some pressure off the Bellevue location. A third location opens in Lynnwood on May 7.