City Council members love the idea of an Aldi Food Market, but several say they are not certain design plans have calculated sufficient space for the vehicles they expect to be turning into the store via its North Sheridan Road entrance.
The council approved construction plans last week that will allow local developer Carroll Rogers to build an 845-foot waterline and a left-turn lane for the grocery store that will be built at 935 N. Sheridan Road, on the east side of the road just north of the Wal-Mart traffic signal light. The design plans are a routine part of the design and permit process for commercial construction projects and, in this instance, include a median cut and turn lane for southbound traffic on North Sheridan Road, allowing a "queuing" area for vehicles to wait out of the flow of regular traffic until they turn into the Aldi parking lot.
The problem: Ward 8 Councilman Doug Wells, noting the popularity of the grocery store in other locations, questions whether the turning lane, as designed, is sufficient to hold the number of vehicles that he expects to be waiting to turn into the parking lot. If that turn lane isn't long enough, turning vehicles may back up into Sheridan Road and cause even more problems on one of Lawton's most congested arterials, Wells said.
City Planner Richard Rogalski said design plans for that turning lane meet city specifications (requirements in city code that mandate the length of such infrastructure improvements) and he estimated the length of that lane would allow four or five vehicles to stack up while waiting to turn. Wells said he doesn't think design requirements are enough, warning traffic will back up into Sheridan Road if the turn lane isn't long enough.
"I think this needs to be looked at more," Wells said, noting he couldn't vote to approve the design plans as presented (Wells cast the only "no" vote).