Stop and Shop representatives will pursue a plan to utilize an adjacent parking lot in order to ease traffic that Dedham planning officials railed against in September. In the meantime, a "regional marketing strategy" is in place to reduce demand on that station.
Representatives admitted at Wednesday's Planning Board meeting that the plan to connect the back portion of a parking lot for IHOP to the gas station could face some town hurdles as they'll need approval from the Conservation Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Board.
"This would actually be able to accommodate enough vehicles that you would never have anyone out in the roadway," said attorney Peter Zahka, who was representing Stop and Shop at the meeting. "This is something that Stop and Shop sees as a viable option."
Cars would enter in a parking lot to the south of the station. Several cars would be able to queue as they wait for pumps to open, and they would be out of a public way. Currently, cars attempt to turn into the station from two directions, which has caused traffic back-ups in the past.
After September's meeting, Stop and Shop implemented the marketing strategy, which board members referred to as adjusting prices to make the station less attractive to customers. However, representatives didn't release the specifics of their strategy.
A Stop and Shop vice president said that the Providence Highway station was the top fueling station in terms of volume in the region before September, but they have seen a decline since.
"As long as the marketing strategy and the [traffic] volumes are consistent, I'm fine," said board member John Bethoney.
A town consultant and Richard McCarthy, the town planner, have gone on site visits during peak hours, and have reported that traffic dropped since the marketing strategy went into place.
"If I were them, I would want the traffic back," board chairman Robert Aldous said. "With [a new traffic pattern], I think they'd be able to go back to where they were price-wise and fill up everybody's tank. They'll make more money and have more business."
Stop and Shop also will have to negotiate with their landlord and with IHOP for use of the parking lot, Zahka said.
"Stop and Shop has made the commitment to continue to pursue this," Zahka said.