BELLINGHAM - Fred Meyer plans to significantly expand its gas station on Lakeway Drive.
The permit application, submitted earlier this week, proposes to demolish the building currently home to Discount Tire and to put in six fueling islands, increasing the total to 10.
Discount Tire would move into the former Hollywood Video space on the north side of the Fred Meyer store, according to the application.
Executives at Fred Meyer did not immediately respond to emails or phone messages Thursday, July 24, about how long construction might take and details about traffic flow at the retail center.
In the application, the company proposes to make several changes with traffic flow to accommodate the expansion:
- The exit from the gas station on Lakeway Drive between the traffic lights would allow only right turns.
- The entrance on Lincoln Street, near the Lakeway intersection, would remain closed to customer traffic with the use of traffic cones.
- The four-way stop after entering the retail center off of Lakeway Drive would become a two-way stop, with traffic flowing without stop signs in the north-south direction.
- The left-turn lane onto Lakeway Drive at the main entrance would be extended to ease traffic congestion.
The company also plans to keep the traffic flow of the existing four fueling islands going east-west, but the new islands would have a two-way traffic flow. According to the application, keeping the east-west traffic flow would prevent traffic from blocking the exit onto Lakeway Drive.
The city doesn't have much say about what can be done on private property when it comes to traffic flow, said Chris Comeau, city transportation planner. However the city will keep a close eye on the gas station entrances on Lakeway Drive and Lincoln Street to make sure traffic isn't disrupted in those busy streets, he said. If those spots become a problem, the city would step in to fix the situation.
The Fred Meyer gas station on Lakeway is a popular spot for motorists to fill up, typically creating a line for the four fueling islands. According to the applicants, the expansion would address that demand, leading to shorter lines. The traffic flow also should improve because customers for Discount Tire will be in a different part of the retail center, according to the application.
Reach Business Editor Dave Gallagher at email@example.com or 360-715-2269. Read the Business Blog at bellinghamherald.com/business-blog or get updates on Twitter at @bhamheraldbiz.