Traffic frequently backs up as motorists wait in line to get Popeyes food. (Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)
If you’ve driven by the newest fast food chain restaurant in town, it’s popularity is evident by the traffic congestion getting into and out of the parking lot.
Motorists attempting to get into Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, located at 2602 N Roan St., Johnson City, have had quite the wait since the business opened a week ago.
“This is kind of an unusual situation because of the location of the business and people are interested in getting in a trying it out,” said Johnson City Police Chief Mark Sirois.
“It’s a new place and people want to try it. It’s a new establishment and the first installment of that franchise in our city,” he said.
According to police records, there were five minor vehicle crashes in the immediate area of the restaurant since it opened.
Sirois said he drove past the restaurant over the weekend and saw how congested the traffic was, so he sent a directive to his command staff to monitor the situation.
“Our officers have been out there. I’ve sent out a note to our watch commanders to send officers out to make sure motorists aren’t blocking lanes of traffic,” he said.
To Sirois’ knowledge, officers have not needed to exit their vehicles to conduct traffic control.
“We’re keeping an eye out on the area (but) it’s the motorists responsibility to make sure they’re not blocking the lane of traffic or doing anything illegal when they’re trying to get in and enjoy their lunch or dinner,” Sirois said.
“We would caution them about blocking the lanes of traffic. It’s pretty important,” he said.
Sirois said if the problem persists, Popeyes might have to address the situation themselves.
“If this continues over time, we would discuss that with the business to make some other accommodations for customers, just in the interest of public safety and the free flow of traffic,” Sirois said.
“Our concern is the free flow of traffic in that area. Hopefully the lines will decrease,” Sirois said. “We ask people to be cautious at that intersection.”
Repeated phone calls to Popeyes were not answered on Monday.