New Walmart Neighborhood Market to magnify traffic problem on Jonesboro road

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The city's Metropolitan Area Planning Commission approved Walmart's plans Tuesday night to build two neighborhood markets in Jonesboro.

One site is on the corner of Harrisburg Rd. and Parker Rd. The other is in the Creek Place Commercial Subdivision at Larkwood Dr. and Forest Home Rd.

The Harrisburg and Parker market is already causing a headache, long before it opens its doors.

City traffic operations engineer Mark Nichols said the store will add 2,100 cars on Harrisburg road every day, in addition to the 11,000 drivers who already travel on the road each day.

Residents said that's asking for a traffic jam.

"That's a lot of people, a lot of people," Garden Parkway resident John Brown said. "I'd rather not deal with bad traffic, but if that's what they want, I guess that's what they get."

Nichols said the city recognizes the problem.

"We're overall pleased," Nichols said. "However, we understand there's existing traffic problems and there's going to be more traffic in the area due to this development, but we feel we've worked out some needed improvements in the area."

Walmart will add a drop-off right lane on Harrisburg for drivers turning into the new market, a "no left turn" on Parker Road and a left-turn lane for drivers turning into the Garden Parkway neighborhood.

"They're not required to do that and we appreciate them at least trying to limit the impact far above what they were required to do," Nichols said.

"That's great," Brown said. "That'd be just fine. Then you won't have to wait so long."

Many residents are still against the new market because of the extra traffic it will bring to the area, but Brown is trying to be more optimistic.

"I think it'll help the neighborhood," Brown said. "We've got a good neighborhood here. A lot of older people live around here so they won't have to go far to go to the drug store to get their medicine and stuff. That'll help them a lot."

The city is still in the site plan approval process with Walmart, but Nichols said drivers should be ready for the extra traffic within the next year.

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