Drive-through lane is opening soon — what will it mean for traffic in the center?

Barrington Shopping Center will host town's only restaurant with a drive-through window

Posted 2/7/24

The new Starbucks drive-through is opening soon, but what will it mean for traffic in the Barrington Shopping Center?

The drive-through lane — the first-ever for a restaurant in Barrington …

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Drive-through lane is opening soon — what will it mean for traffic in the center?

Barrington Shopping Center will host town's only restaurant with a drive-through window

Posted

The new Starbucks drive-through is opening soon, but what will it mean for traffic in the Barrington Shopping Center?

The drive-through lane — the first-ever for a restaurant in Barrington — will have vehicle traffic entering off the main west-bound lane in the shopping center, and then return vehicles to the same area. Initial plans included a queue for 11 or 12 vehicles. 

The design was a point of contention for Barrington Zoning Board officials more than a year ago when the plan was first pitched, and it’s also left other people with concerns. Deryl Pace is Clinic Director and Physical Therapist at Ivy Rehab Clinic, which is located next to the new Starbucks.

“I'm excited for Starbucks and the town as a whole,” Pace said. “However, I'm also interested to see how the traffic flow works out for the drive-through as well as what will happen with the handicap spaces directly in front of the clinic.”

Pace said she is hoping the drive-through line does not grow so long that it blocks the shops on the north side of the plaza, as well as incoming traffic.

“I'm also hoping that my patients are able to find parking spaces close to the clinic when coming in for treatment,” she said. “I’m worried I might end up seeing people pulling into the handicap spaces all day long just to quickly run in and grab their mobile orders (when they don't have a handicapped permit) as I know that sometimes happens at other locations.

“As a Starbucks enthusiast myself, I'd like to remind my fellow Starbucks fans that there is a healthcare facility two doors down with patients that may not be able to walk long distances from the parking lot and to please be respectful of that.”

Jennifer Massotti, the managing partner for Barrington Books, said the expansion of Starbucks into its new space is an exciting change for the entire shopping center. 

“While the new traffic pattern may involve some changes in flow, I think we can all agree that keeping Starbucks in the shopping center far outweighs any minor inconvenience,” Massotti said. “Barrington Books has enjoyed a long, supportive relationship with the crew at Barrington Starbucks, and certainly our regulars enjoy the ability to grab their cuppa to-go and come peruse the bookstore. We don’t anticipate that waning anytime soon. 

“Change is good and we are excited to see how the shopping center continues to grow and evolve.”

Nearly denied

The plan to build a Starbucks with a drive-through lane was nearly denied by the Barrington Zoning Board of Review more than a year ago. 

Initially, members of the Zoning Board voted against granting a special-use permit that would allow the drive-through lane. At that time, Zoning Board members Ladd Meyer and Paul Blasbalg had voted against issuing the permit. Meyer said he was worried about the potential traffic issues that could be caused by the drive-through. He pointed to the Starbucks in Seekonk and the frequent back-ups in the drive-through lane there. Blasbalg said he had safety concerns.

Both members appeared to vote against issuing the special use permit, but before the Zoning Board meeting was adjourned, Barrington Shopping Center owner Joe Paolino pleaded with the board members to approve the permit. Paolino said the shopping center needed Starbucks to be an anchor tenant. 

In the end, the Zoning Board voted to grant the permit… but with a caveat. Meyer said he would support the application if there was an agreement by the shopping center to supply a police detail to help with traffic issues in and around the center should the drive-through lane cause heavy vehicle back-ups.

Paolino agreed, and the board approved the permit. 

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