Minneapolis considers drive-thru window ban

Minneapolis considers drive-thru window ban

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/CNN) - Drive-thru windows are a speedy way to get food, coffee and prescriptions without leaving the comfort of your car. But they may soon be a thing of the past if city leaders have their way.

The city is in the initial stages of contemplating a ban on new drive-thrus.

“Having to use a drive thru is definitely a necessity‚” said one woman. “I mean it’s just easy to quickly run up, get what you need and get out.”

On Thursday afternoon, the planning commission met to discuss a proposed ban on any new drive-thru windows within city limits.

The ordinance would not impact any drive-thrus that are currently in the city. They would be grandfathered in under the proposal.

Sam Rockwell, Minneapolis Planning Commissioner, said the move would reduce carbon emissions made by idling cars and increase pedestrian safety.

“Drive thrus, traffic lanes, parking facilities, they all produce something called induced demand which is, if you build it, they will come,” Rockwell said.

When asked about the impact it would have on the elderly and the disabled who can't move from their cars quickly, Rockwell said building neighborhood communities could be a solution.

"You go to a city like London, Paris, New York or Boston, and neighbors help their elderly neighbors up the stairs with their groceries,” Rockwell said. “They know them, they help them, they run errands so creating that community can be a boost."

Jake Siefker uses drive-thrus a lot and he said he’s not convinced by Rockwell’s arguments.

"There's a lot of cars standing idly right here,” Siefker said. “A drive-thru is just another part of that."

This ban would have a relatively small impact on the current look of the city, but it could decades down the road.

Right now, drive-thrus are only allowed in six of the city's 23 zoning districts and only a couple are built each year.

The proposal will have a public hearing next month.

It will then be voted on by the city planning commission and, if passed, could be considered by the Minneapolis City Council.

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