New Paltz planners want McDonald’s to consider linking its parking lot with neighbors

A proposed renovation of McDonald’s in New Paltz opens the door to addressing issues with that business by members of the Town of New Paltz Planning Board.

One of those issues: Planners’ goal to connect parking lots.

McDonald’s engineer Alan Roscoe is unfailingly polite when he talks about the topic; but he’s also firmly opposed. McDonald’s is a corporation built on a business model of getting people into cars and idling in the drive-through lane, and New Paltz is a community where more and more zoning is being geared toward encouraging people to walk from place to place. Plans to make connections were created as part of a remodeling proposal, albeit grudgingly, after Ulster County Planning Board members required the idea be explored.

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Interconnection of parking areas is a planning objective at the county level, as part of an effort to design developments for people rather than their vehicles. For this particular project, a specific objective is to reduce the number of drivers attempting to make a left onto Route 299 from McDonald’s, but presumably it would also incrementally benefit the broader goal of reducing the need to depend on motor vehicles. However, owners of neighboring properties seem to share Roscoe’s view that they have no obligation to contribute to a common good which doesn’t benefit the bottom line.

Jim Kempner, whose corporation owns the plaza where Tops is the anchor store, wrote in an e-mail that “the scenarios shown on your plan will cause traffic issues within our center and show no benefit to the overall issue. Accordingly, we are not interested in pursuing this further.”

David Ness, chairman of the board at the New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce, provided no specifics at all, simply writing that “we are not in favor of the proposed easements” between the two properties. New Paltz Town Planning Board members acknowledged that if reducing left turns was a rationale, such a connection wouldn’t further that end.

The requirement was simply to pursue the possibility, rather than to build it. Therefore, it’s likely to be deemed asked-and-answered since the rejection of neighbors is sufficient in the present legal environment to put the kibosh on the idea.

Planning Board members also tried to get Roscoe’s corporate superiors to invest in something a little more in keeping with community aesthetics. Jane Schanberg asked if what she called the “very, very stark design” could become something “not quite so dramatically modern,” but Roscoe’s tried-and-true justification is that this is the look now being used for McDonald’s throughout the northeast. Digging into the look of the building is something board members agreed to do during a workshop meeting.

There are 9 comments

  1. npz 60+ years

    Good idea it will improve traffic ect…, when i was a child Mcdonalds was Hasbrock Nursery, they had a greenhouse and many plants ect…

    i remember before the Plaza was built, for many years the dept store there was “Barkers” “Victory” Than “Great American” Supermarkets were in plaza many many years….

    Before plaza was built it was a field and a small lake, similar to medical plaza next door.

    Before Shoprite was a Small Farm and Beauftil Huge old Home…..

    Henry Dubios drive did not exist when i was a child, it was first named “Fulton Rd” when built early 1970’s?……

    Lots of history in New Paltz, ask any native resident….

    1. John Freer

      What’s your point? I too have lived unfortunately in the New Paltz area for 60 plus years
      I don’t understand why a parking lot change triggers irrelevant memories.

      1. npz 60yrs+

        My Point is i hold privilege to opinions as New Paltz grows and changes.

        Many people on this forum are not from New Paltz therefore they dont understand the recent past 50 year history as it relates to our local community.

        Where are you from?

        Tell us about your local community….

  2. Samuel

    This is an excellent recommendation. Watching people attempt to turn left out of McD’s is painful, the traffic flow definitely makes it challenging. As part of this it would a real stroke of genius if New Paltz and the owners of Top’s Plaza also addressed one of our major choke points – the service road
    out of the shopping center in front of the diner.

    As it is currently designed, the through lane acts as one lane and a half, not really allowing the right turn lane the proper length to support traffic at the light. I would cut the berm in front of the diner and widen the full length of the exit lanes to a proper two-lane width. The left lane servicing drivers turnling left at the light as well as those going straight; the new longer right lane for right turns into town.

    Currently, traffic volume for right turns is cut by about 12 vehicles per light cycle because of backups due to the mis-matched road width and lane design. Its a fairly easy fix, does not impact any timing with the traffic light design, and there’s plenty of room on the berm to cut into it, and still allow for the landscaping that the diner does.

    Consider it, please!!!?!?!?!?!?

  3. Mick Ronaldson

    Burger King has a whole acre in back to sell with snapping turtle, deer, dogwood trees, permeable water-surface and parking lot already connected at the shopping center down sour of it. You could move the whole operation there?

  4. Rachel Lagodka

    Anyone who has ever tried to negotiate the sidewalk in front of McDonald’s in a wheelchair, with a stroller, or even with a bicycle knows that their curb cuts are the cruelest in town.

  5. Clambake

    I like the drivers going west on 299 who make left turns across the double yellow lines and three lanes going east in order to enter the Cherry Hill Plaza. Them I honk at and give ’em the finger.
    The planning board still hasn’t addressed the 18 wheeler delivery trucks to McDonalds which close off the fast-food’s exit and makes the entrance of the parking lot into an exit? What does the planning board do except protect their own interests? Not much.

  6. New Paltz 61-Years Plus

    The coolest thing about this place is all the women who use the Men’s Room because the Women’s Room is full.
    It doesn’t work the other way around.
    Outdoor portable toilets would solve that problem, including one for those that are in a wheel-chair.
    This place has more leaf-blowing with loud yard equipment I’ve ever heard.
    As to pedestrians getting from the parking lot to all three side-doors, it’s dangerous walking between the cars in the drive-in line to gain entrance to the building.
    The canned music sucks, the TV only has one channel,and watching patrons make off with a fore-arm’s length of napkins from the free napkin-dispenser will put you off your food before you can say “What am I doing here?”
    Don’t answer that.

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