PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – After breaking ground more than two years ago on Toyota’s new headquarters, the first group of employees is finally set to move into their new home.
Workers are still putting the finishing touches on the site. Eventually the headquarters will be able to house 4000 employees, and the first 250 will give their neighbors an early taste of the changes to come.
With Toyota the first of several major corporate relocations ready to start filling up its new headquarters, local shops are also eager to hire more people in anticipation of more business.
“I’m interviewing for more staff because we want to be able to take care of all the foot traffic,” said Leah Sanders, manager of the clothing boutique Bevello at the Shops At Legacy.
But it’s not the foot traffic that has some people worried. It’s the cars new workers will drive to and from work every day that will add congestion. That’s why the Dallas North Tollway is already building additional lanes and the Sam Rayburn Tollway is planning an expansion. But Plano’s Deputy City Manager admits infrastructure is only part of the answer.
“You can’t build your way out of congestion, that’s correct,” Jack Carr said.
While the city is working on improvements to surface streets, it’s also developing an HOA-like transportation group among area businesses to explore more options like shuttle services and staggering work shifts for employees.
“That works out better for everybody instead of everybody trying to arrive at that same, exact moment,” Carr said.
Sanders says shops like hers are ready to be flexible.
“We could do like a noon to 4:30, so they’re coming in at a time where it’s not peak traffic and leaving right before peak traffic,” Sanders said.
As for her own 19-minute commute to work, she says she’s already preparing for patience.
“If the commute’s longer, that just means that more books on audio I’ll get through this year,” Sanders said.
The city is also working on its own ride-sharing app to encourage carpooling among employees at Toyota and the next round of companies relocating.