One of the things I love about Roanoke is that I can always find a parking space and I rarely get stuck in traffic.
I think many Roanokers appreciate that, and are spoiled because of it. So keep that in mind when I say that I’ve heard from several people who have noticed the congestion at Towers Shopping Center.
It became noticeable to me when Chipotle opened in June. The proximity of Jo Ann Fabrics nearby is probably a contributing factor, too, along with the location of several lunch spots – Firehouse Subs, CiCi’s Pizza, Hibachi Express and McAlister’s Deli.
Blog reader Rke Native said this about the heavy traffic in a comment to a recent blog post: “I love that Tower’s Mall has been ‘reborn’ and seems to be thriving (at least the Colonial Ave side) but it is a nightmare getting around in the parking lot as well as on and off of Colonial. Do you know if they have any plans to improve the parking lot flow or the congestion on Colonial? Thanks!”
I took Rke Native’s question to the shopping center’s owner, The Rappaport Cos., in McLean. Sheryl Simeck, vice president of marketing and communications for Rappaport, said this in an email: “I spoke to our Executive Vice President of Development, Larry Spott, and he says that since the opening of Chipotle, traffic has increased quite a bit in the parking lot at Colonial Avenue and that we are currently reviewing several options to modify the parking lot and the entrances.”
I asked Simeck if she would please let me know when they have a definite plan so I can keep the blog’s readers updated.
There have already been upgrades to the roads around Towers to improve traffic flow, including a the installation of a traffic light at the intersection of 23rd Street and Brandon, the creation of an extra left-turn lane at the intersection of Colonial and Brandon and blocking left turns from Colonial onto 23rd Street.
Yesterday I talked to Mark Jamison, Roanoke’s transportation division manager, about whether the city had additional plans for Colonial Avenue. He told me that because the Virginia Department of Transportation (which usually funds the majority of the cost for road projects) has seen its budget cut, plans for further improvements have been tabled.
What’s been your experience driving to and parking at Towers? Do you have any suggestions for improving the flow of traffic in the parking lot?