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Posted on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Pittsfield Township officials: Carpenter Road McDonald's entrance a safety concern

By Katrease Stafford


The entrance of McDonald's located on Carpenter Road in Pittsfield Township.

Courtney Sacco I

Pittsfield Township officials have suggested the McDonald's restaurant located on Carpenter Road consider removing its main road entrance due to safety concerns.

Officials have said the present site plan submitted by the owners for its planned remodeling project does not address the township’s safety concerns regarding the traffic entering and exiting the restaurant from Carpenter Road.

Township Engineer Damien Wetzel is recommending the removal of the Carpenter Road entrance and exit.

Craig Lyon, utilities director, said the township wants to ensure that it eliminates any possible congestion.

"The issue at hand right now is that you have a right in and right out coming into the McDonald's and what happens is people are headed southbound and they want to make a left into a right only," Lyon said. "It causes a bit of congestion. You get that person trying to make a left hand turn and they’re just sitting in traffic."


The red arrows indicate access points and the yellow arrows indicate access issues such as cars turning left into the McDonald's off of Carpenter Road and cars driving over the curb to exit and enter Red Robin.

Courtesy Pittsfield Planning Commission

In a letter to the planning commission, Wetzel said public safety officials observed the following instances of drivers not using the entrance and exit as intended or designed:

  • Public safety officials observed 55 percent of the traffic entering the restaurant was south bound on Carpenter Road— this turning movement is not allowed.
  • About 27 percent of the south bound traffic entering the restaurant entered through the exit drive.
  • Ten percent of the traffic entering the restaurant immediately turned around and exited.
  • Ten percent of the traffic exiting came from outside of the McDonalds site just to enter Carpenter Road.
  • Cars driving over the curb to exit and enter Red Robin located at 3797 Carpenter Road.

In addition to these concerns, officials said they have observed drivers cutting over the curb to access the adjacent Red Robin restaurant parking lot. In the past, the owner noted he was willing to landscape the area to prevent the curb cutting, but township officials said previous landscaping has not helped or alleviated the problem.

The planning commission was set to discuss the site plan at its Wednesday meeting at 6:30 p.m., but Lyon said McDonald's asked to be removed from the agenda in order to revise its plan to address the safety concerns.

The original site plan submitted by the owner requested approval to modify its existing drive-thru. The restaurant, located at 3811 Carpenter Rd., currently has one drive thru but the proposed change would create a second drive thru. Other site changes would include a new sidewalk along the south end of the site, new site and building signage and corporate facade alterations.

As a result, the parking area on the north side will be removed to make space for the second drive-thru lane. This would cause a reduction in overall site parking from 39 to 36 spaces.

In its site plan, McDonald's explained that two drive-thru lanes allows it to expedite its service and allows them to serve more customers.

The increase in customers due to the second drive-thru concerns the township because of the current issues it has regarding site access due to the curb cut on Carpenter Road.

Officials have previously discussed the concept of removing the curb cut because other than the McDonald's and the Meijer gas station, no other site along this particular stretch has direct access off Carpenter Road.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Sun, Sep 23, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

it's a store that is simply in the wrong place.Meijer made a killing when they sold the land to the McDonalds's congestion plus almost all the time.Ronalds Team are going to fight Pittsfield and i'll bet they win.

Widow Wadman

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

I am wondering when the township officials did the sampling to arrive at the statistics. I drive past this McDonalds regularly and have not witnessed any of the driving errors mentioned or any accidents.... The township previously approved an entrance and exit for McDonalds and I think they should find a way to keep these features for the owners and patrons of the store unless they can better demonstrate that there really is a hazard.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 4:36 p.m.

This is all about the ENGINEER that was hired to do the lay-out. Don't city officials look this over for approval. Doesn't anyone? Oh ya, a group of people on a board somewhere. Your just looking at this NOW, where have you been?


Sun, Sep 23, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

it's called paying big taxes and the city/township has no way to replace this revenue.$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$'S IS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT.NOTHING MORE.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

The real hazard, which is not addressed in Katrease's excellent and informative article, is not which way drivers turn into McDonald's parking lot; it is the high saturated fat, high cholesteral food they eat at McDonalds and the high sugar drinks they consume while they are there. Thus, a turn from any direction into any McDonald's lot should be considered high risk behavior by drivers and should be subject to ticketing by the local board of health.


Sun, Sep 23, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

This is another discussion Chicagobob.Fast food,preprepared food ,and restaurant food in general probably r just as bad as Ronalds junk and everybody know it but people keep coming back and as long as we do ain't much gonna change.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 5:09 p.m.

This reminds of the movie Super Size Me. I just read that by 2030 this will be an epidemic.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

I came here to say this, so I'll have to give you an up vote.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

All fast food restaurants should lose their parking lots and relocate them at least 100 yards away to provide some much needed exercise for its patrons.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

Hmm I must not have read all of the comments, but if you were too fat to find it funny then it was meant for you.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 4:33 p.m.

It wasn't funny the first time it was posted last night.

Jim Osborn

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 2:16 p.m.

Place a raised median on Carpenter = Problem solved - northbound traffic can enter and exit, southbound traffic cannot


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 3:16 p.m.

If your going to put in the raised island, its a perfect place for a cross walk!!


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

Any way we could see the raw data they used to calculate these percentages? I drive by that MaccyDs daily and have never seen anyone turn left out of that exit. Actually, I rarely even see people use that entrance/exit.

not a billy

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

Somebody (Township officials/engineers) had to approve the original plan at some point in time. I agree that the entrance should be either closed or the island removed and make it a "right turn only" but include the installation of a traffic light at the main entrance 200' south. Previous engineering approvals should make the Township at least partially responsible for funding of changes.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 1:14 p.m.

What makes you think that if you close the driveway they won't just drive over the curb? A Big Mac attack is not to be taken lightly.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

I just never entered that way, because the obvious actual entrance and exit is 100 feet south. I also didn't know people were driving over the grass or causing traffic trouble. Sounds like peoples be hungry.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 11:46 a.m.

The McDonald's entrance pre-dates Lowe's and many other entrances in the area. It would have been nice, if when the Target/JoAnn's/BabiesRUs were built if the township had worked this out then. I know that McDonald's is considered a "Health hazard" by many and anything that can be done to close them or reduce the number of people eating there is a good thing according to many in the county. That whole area is dangerous - several non-aligned or almost aligned driveways off of Carpenter. It is not unusual to see someone go out of Lowe's and across to Meijers crossing Carpenter and all the lanes of traffic. Let's see Pittsfield take a more holistic approach to the area and entrances. Not just pick on the easy target.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 4:17 a.m.

The disdain towards traffic laws says a lot about people that eat at McDonalds.


Sun, Sep 23, 2012 : 9:25 p.m.

one has very little to do with the other.all kinds of people violate traffic laws in lots of situations.I"ll bet even you do.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 2:05 a.m.

Leave it. Maybe it will help reduce obesity.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 5:07 p.m.

More like an accident waiting to happen.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 11:32 p.m.

planning commission messed this one up. they should have thought about it prior. wait until you get to the turn a round . that will be fun also.

Soulful Adrenaline

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 11:24 p.m.

How you wanna die? Acute death by traffic accident in front of Mickey Dee's? Chronic death by the beetus/heart disease/stroke from Mickey Dee's? Do you want to go fast or slow and painful?


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 4:36 p.m.

I can tell you are young. Mickey Dee's? REALLY?


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 11:11 p.m.

So you want to remove the entrance because a bunch of people refuse to follow the law and use the entrance and exit correctly? Those entrances and exits were designed to discourage people from doing EXACTLY what they keep doing. If these are ticketable offenses then I can GUARANTEE that this problem will be solved after a months worth of tickets and word getting around. They could post one officer in a car across the street, and one officer in the parking lot on foot who could just flag all the violators down as they pulled in. Go 'head....get mad that I'm suggesting the police hand out tickets like's to people who are CAUSING a major safety concern with their inconsiderate entitled behavior.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 11:10 p.m.

Just allow McDonald's to build a restaurant on the other side of the road. Then everybody will be Fat & Happy!


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 11:07 p.m.

If I were a despot, I would eliminate all fast food drive throughs.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 5:06 p.m.

You have my vote on that one.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 10:59 p.m.

What's has a large negative impact on your health? Driving to this McDonalds or eating the food?


Thu, Sep 20, 2012 : 11:46 p.m.

My thoughts exactly. To save the most lives, get rid of all the entrances.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 5:06 p.m.



Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 10:46 p.m.

I thought that entrance was always there. It was when the 5 lanes of traffic became a nightmare after they rebuilt Carpenter from the south side. I highly agree they need to close this entrance and make people pull in and out. It is a nightmare all around.

average joe

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

It never made any sense that McD's had an entrance from Carpenter rd, but Red Robin next door didn't. More than a few times I drove into McD's thinking that the drive was to Red Robin. And "grandfathered" in because 'they had one there before' shouldn't be an option in traffic codes.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 8:50 p.m.

They should eliminate all vehicle access points to McDonald's and make folks walk from an adjacent lot a few football fields away.

Ryan Martin

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

Nobody needs their Big Mac bad enough that they need to enter from Carpenter. Take the entrance out!


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

No more that the people trying to make a left onto Washtenaw from the McDs there. I seriously can't believe we have at least 3 of them in a few mile radius.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

Just close the entrance on Carpenter. No one needs to use it to access the restaurant. I typically drive down to the light across from Starbucks to exit the shopping center.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 8 p.m.

Greasy fries in right hand - $1 Jumbo cheese burger in left hand $2 Making an illegal left hand turn into five lanes of traffic with your knee - Priceless


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

Great Comment. Bravo! See mine later on in the comments with a similar view. Sincerely Chicagobob


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 10:44 p.m.

I'd rather eat a Red Robin burger then that gross MD burger any day of the week. At least the burger at the Robin is edible. Is it pay day yet?


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 8:21 p.m.

The real mistake is eating greasy hamburgers and fries at McDonalds or Red Robin.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

I'll have a diet coke with that...LOL


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 8 p.m.

It's not a hazard, but could use much better signage...such as "Northbound Carpenter ->" or "Carpenter and Ellsworth <--". I can say I've turned into McD's lot thinking I was going to Red Robin, however just passed through and drove around but I did look at the curb and think - can I go over that??? Signage would help with 75% of the problem I think. Thoughts?


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 11:13 p.m.

Oh....they don't even have signs up to direct the stupid people? Well that's the problem right there..... I would have thought the lack of signs was odd right away except I hardly ever go to fast food anymore, and not that side of town for years.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 7:52 p.m.

" 55 percent... entering 27 percent.... entering Ten percent of.... entering.... exited. Ten percent .....exiting " what seems to be missing is actual accident statistics to justify the safety concerns.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

it's not the entrance that is the hazard its the people!

Rob MI

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 7:35 p.m.

I didn't think this entry and exit point was much of a hazard until I read the statistics presented. Yikes.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

This entrance / exit to McDonald's was perfectly fine UNTIL they added the directional island. It has done nothing other than confuse people. I often see people driving right over it, not because they are trying to take any kind of short cut, but because they don't even see it, or by the time they see it, it is too late. I also often see Pittsfield Police across the street watching for those who turn in or out "incorrectly". Just take out the island!


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

Ya. Scary.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

Cinco if drivers aren't seeing the directional island, do you think they see pedestrians? It is the driver responsibility to pay attention to all traffic laws.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

They (Pittsfield) should remove the second "McDonald's only" entrance/exit so that McDonald's traffic enters and exits with other strip mall traffic off Carpenter. McDonald's customers can also use the service drive (seen below the restaurant in the photo). And McDonalds should reconfigure their drive-thru traffic pattern so it doesn't exit directly onto Carpenter. I have almost gotten into accidents near this McDonalds because of all the issues raised in the article...and I wasn't even going to McDonalds, just trying to drive past it!!!!


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

I totally agree. The entrances mentioned are also very narrow and are not normal entrances. As for McDonald's claim they need two entrances to accommodate their customers when all their other stores in the area have one is a sense of entitlement as the number 1 fast food restaurant in the country. This is the same mentality General Motors had in the heyday as the number 1 automaker; that is not right.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

The McDonalds drive through does not exit towards Carpenter. It exits south towards the bank and the 3 lane exit from the shopping center. A taller directional island and signage might help since it would discourage people from thinking it they could make those left turns. Any way around it the whole area sucks because of too much traffic and too many people who don't know how to drive. And don't get me started on the ones doing 25 in the 45....


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 7:20 p.m.

It should be abundantly clear to anyone who actually drives with a functioning brain that the entrance is not intended to accommodate a left hand turn from southbound Carpenter. . . Oh! . .mmmm. . . nevermind. .


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 2:37 p.m.

same thing happens at the new walmart in saline too. its going to happen where ever theses entrances/ exits are. . .people are just ignorant and thinking about themselves when they are driving.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 10:25 p.m.

Not quite true. You can really only tell that when you get closer to the entrance--by which point you're probably already in the turn lane. I made the mistake the first couple times I went there, then pulled back into traffic to use the entrance further down. Even handling such a mistake legally can contribute to congestion going southbound.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

Lettuce not overlook the traffic pattern design (cough) of the Target plaza on Ann Arbor Saline, or for that matter the creative egress from Arborland.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

Same thing happens in Saline near the (old) Ford plant.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

A very similar situation exists on Plymouth Rd. and Green to get into the Sweetwaters/Olgas/Subway from Plymouth road.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 7:18 p.m.

"I'm lovin it!" If 55% of the traffic ientering is from southbound Carpenter it sounds as if The Pittsfield Township Police are missing out on this revenue stream.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

No, they're not. I don't think they are sitting across the street just taking count!