JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hundreds of people in the Jacksonville community have complained about the traffic and dangerous conditions at the Starbucks on Roosevelt Boulevard at Beverly Avenue.
In a video provided to News4JAX, cars in the drive-through line of the coffee shop can be seen spilling out onto Roosevelt Boulevard (U.S. 17). The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office also has a sign saying “Beware! Heavy morning traffic, right lane ahead.”
Jacksonville City Councilwoman Randy DeFoor held a news conference Wednesday. She said, since January, she’s received more than 400 complaints about this Starbucks location.
“It is a clear and present danger and has been going on for some time,” DeFoor said. “The drive-through line at Starbucks frequently wraps around the building and spills out onto U.S. 17 where cars idle while traffic rushes by going over 50 mph. Cars are forced to stop dead on the highway, exposing innocent people to serious harm.”
She said she reached out to the Florida Department of Transportation, which said Starbucks shouldn’t allow customers to enter from Roosevelt Boulevard.
FDOT didn’t find any crashes from cars stopped on Roosevelt Boulevard in the drive-through line. It did find instances where multiple drivers who didn’t intend to go to Starbucks were stuck behind the customers -- which could lead to accidents.
“Oh, my. It is ridiculous. It gets backed up all the way to the bank,” said Jennifer Pendleton, who works next door to the coffeehouse chain’s Roosevelt Boulevard location.
Pendleton says people block her employer’s parking lot trying to get to Starbucks or get around their customers.
“Very dangerous. Everybody talks about it. It’s a known thing around here,” Pendleton said.
One woman, who didn’t want to share her name, said driving to this Starbucks gives her anxiety.
“If they do something like Chick-fil-A or something like that, that has it more accessible and easier routing around, it might help,” she said.
Alongside DeFoor at Wednesday’s news conference was attorney Curry Pajcic, who represents a woman who a jury recently awarded nearly $9 million for her injuries in a Starbucks parking lot in Fernandina Beach.
Pajcic said, similar to that case, Starbucks is creating a danger, but in this case, the city doesn’t have many legal rights.
“It’s about corporate choices. There’s nothing we can do. As a government, you can’t pass laws to prevent every type of carelessness. We count upon corporate America to be a good citizen,” Pajcic said.
Pajcic, DeFoor and the councilwoman’s constituents say they just want something done before someone gets hurt.
FDOT said the Starbucks on Roosevelt Boulevard can let drivers enter the drive-through from Beverly Avenue.
Pajcic said the Starbucks could get a flagperson to help direct traffic.
DeFoor said Starbucks told her that it is going to try and speed up the process to get people out of the drive-through faster.
News4JAX was told that it’s a ground lease and that it’s not a franchise but corporate-owned.
News4JAX reached out to Starbucks and a company spokesperson sent the following statement:
“We’re committed to listening to the needs of our customers and community members and always upholding a safe experience at our stores. We have been and continue to work directly with FDOT, The Jax Sheriff’s Office and Councilwoman Defoor to address these concerns in addition to making modifications both in our café and in the drive-thru.”