City drops citation against Starbucks after traffic improvements made

Traffic-flow improvements around a Starbucks location prompted the settlement of a citation leveled against the corporation by the City of Dubuque.

“Over the course of the past couple of months, there have been significant improvements in the area,” said Assistant City Attorney Maureen Quann of the Starbucks at 2620 Dodge St.

An attorney representing Starbucks did not return a request for comment on the case.

Those improvements mark the settlement of the case, with a $750 municipal citation dropped and Starbucks paying for court costs.

The city had filed the citation in Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, alleging that Starbucks unlawfully created or continued a public nuisance by “obstructing public ways and property by using property abutting a public street in such a way that obstructs vehicular traffic,” according to court documents.

Long drive-thru lines at the coffee shop and resulting motorist confusion at Starbucks’ Plaza 20 Shopping Center location led to numerous traffic problems, according to the city.

Quann identified the installation of a two-lane drive-thru system at the coffee shop and other improvements as having alleviated the problems.

“There were several entities, including the property owners, Starbucks and, of course, the franchise owner who made those improvements,” Quann said. “The primary concern from all of the parties was to somehow correct that traffic backup. We wanted to make the area safer. Once that occurred, there was no need to make (the case) a punitive matter. In light of the time, effort and expense the parties contributed to resolve the traffic concerns, all parties agreed that a constructive solution was implemented.”

City spokesman Randy Gehl said the temporary closure of the frontage road north of Starbucks will continue until permanent measures have been completed to restrict turning onto the road from the intersection of Devon Drive and Dodge Street. These measures are expected to be completed in early spring.