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Bloomington commission rejects west side Starbucks over traffic concerns

A Starbucks is planned for west Bloomington, along Market Street. The Bloomington Planning Commission will hear the plan at its meeting Wednesday afternoon.
City of Bloomington
The Bloomington Planning Commission has rejected a plan to locate a Starbucks along Market Street on the city's west side.

Plans for a Starbucks in west Bloomington have been put on ice after the city’s planning commission rejected the plan over concerns about traffic congestion.

Bloomington Planning Commission chair Tyson Mohr said he was excited to see plans for a Starbucks at 1609 W. Market St.

“I really wanted to find a way to make this happen,” Mohr said. “The area could use the attention.”

A map of the proposed Starbucks location at 1609 W. Market St. in Bloomington.
City of Bloomington
A map of the proposed Starbucks location at 1609 W. Market St. in Bloomington.

But the commission rejected the proposal on Wednesday because Starbucks planned for just one access point off West Market, near a stop light and a truck stop.

“When you add all that up, you’ve got a lot of complexity and you’ve got high speeds on that road. High complexity combined with high speeds, that’s a recipe for a dangerous situation," Mohr said.

A potential second access point could come along nearby Caroline Street, Mohr said. It's a private drive and the developer, CESO Inc., would not pay for access, Mohr said.

Mohr said commissioners who voted "no" also were concerned about the lack of a drive-through bypass lane. Starbucks argued there was not sufficient space for a bypass lane.

Mohr said Starbucks has three options: work with the city on a new plan, drop the plan altogether, or request a city council vote.

“Ultimately, council is not bound by what we have to say, but I hope they look at our conversation and take it seriously,” Mohr said.

The commission and developer did agree to other modifications, said Mohr, including reducing the number of parking spaces (41) to create more room for moving vehicles, providing pedestrian access on the north end of the property and putting up a security fence.

The planning commission also approved a rezoning for a residential property nearby at 1626 W. Locust St. to help pave the way for the new coffee shop if it happens.

There are nearly a dozen Starbucks locations in Bloomington-Normal. None are west of Main Street.

Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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