Arts & Entertainment
Dunkin' Donuts Drive-Thru in the Works
From Issue: Volume XXII - Number 13
By Rebecca Y. Mata
After much resistance from neighboring communities, Long Beach City Council has granted Dunkin’ Donuts permission to demolish the two existing structures and construct a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru restaurant on 5560 Seventh Street near Pacific Coast Hwy, where an iconic giant donut has stood since the 1950s.
Dunkin’ Donuts, who initially planned on removing the figure, has vowed to keep and restore the large pink-glazed doughnut after community members rallied with their “Save the Giant Donut” campaign.
This, however, did not satisfy many neighboring residents, who insist a Dunkin’ Donuts on that corner will only redirect traffic to surrounding neighborhoods, causing a danger to pedestrians and cyclists.
Currently existing on the property is another coffee and doughnut drive-thru called The Original Grind. Kyle Smith, who currently works there said, “A lot of the neighbors don’t want another fast-food restaurant here.”
Traffic and other issues regarding the Dunkin’ Donuts proposal were presented during a city council hearing in May. Appellant Catherine Grace, Flint Avenue resident and mother, spoke as one of 56 other appellants at the hearing. Grace pleaded with council members not to allow the drive-thru. “I would love to have doughnuts. I am very much pro-doughnut. Just please, no drive-thru.” Grace explained “The concern is safety.” Her closing statement began, “I just want to bring it all back to what’s really important, which is our neighborhood and our children.”
“We are not elitists, activists, trouble-makers, or chronic complainers,” said appellant Mark Nevin, who also lives on Flint Avenue. “We are just residents who are committed to protecting the safety and quality of life for ourselves and our families.” Nevin stressed the dangers of directing traffic into a neighborhood that intersects bike route 16, which is taken by students to several schools in the area. “This is a major issue involving our children,” said Nevin.
Several appellants, like Carolyn and John LaBelle, requested that more traffic studies be conducted before continuing with the project.
“From the very onset, we’ve tried to approach this to be good neighbors,” said Dan Almquist, managing partner for Frontier Real Estate Investments on the Dunkin’ Donut account. “We have nothing to hide. We’re trying to do the best project we can for the city,” said Almquist. “There are over 500 people in favor of the project.”
Almquist, as conditioned by the city council, will be required to donate $10,000 toward traffic studies of the area. Signs will also be posted to direct traffic from the neighborhood in order to prevent congestion.