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Dueling doughnut store drive-throughs

Cheektowaga has a doughnut war on its hands, with two giants -- Tim Hortons and Dunkin' Donuts -- slugging it out for the best spots to build drive-through stores, town officials say.

The rivals have their sights on one of the busiest routes in the Buffalo area, William Street from Union Road to the Thruway, which daily handles more than 45,000 vehicles, town officials say.

That's just the problem, said Town Supervisor James J. Jankowiak, who urged Tim Hortons' representatives to find another spot to sell their doughnuts.

"Don't add any more grief than we have right now, he said. "The State of New York spent millions of dollars to rebuild the area so the traffic will flow there without accidents. So now it flows fairly well."

A short roll west on William Street, Lauer-Manguso and Associates is asking for town approvals to build a drive-through facility at a Dunkin' Donuts store at William Street and Raymond Avenue.

"We're in a doughnut war," Jankowiak told board members at a work session. "We're becoming a target for drive-throughs."

Attorney Ralph Lorigo, representing Express Mart, appeared at the session with a team that included traffic consultant Gordon T. Stansbury and Bob Bender, a project planner for Tim Hortons.

For weeks, the town has been discussing various proposals by Express Mart for a drive-through facility that would allow cars to enter off the southbound lanes of Union Road as they curve into the westbound lanes of William Street. Coffee and doughnut customers would then leave the facility by re-entering the westbound lanes of William.

But town officials have balked, saying cars entering and leaving the facility would impede traffic, much of it headed for the William Street entrance to the Thruway.

Lorigo reviewed the company's responses to the town's concerns, saying, "We have done everything you have asked."

And Bender said he believed the company's plans would improve traffic, not cause more problems in the area, because Tim Hortons believes the answer to long lines at one of its facilities is to build another store nearby.

Bender said the Tim Hortons chain currently has 70 outlets in the Buffalo area.

But town officials, who point to other stores with drive-through facilities, say that the facility would cause traffic to stack up, wasting the efforts of state and town officials to make traffic flow freely through the corner.

e-mail: tdolan@buffnews.com

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