MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Drive-thru windows are a speedy way to get food, coffee and prescriptions without leaving the comfort of your car. But Minneapolis city leaders are considering making them a thing of the past.
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-thru windows that are currently in the city, which would be grandfathered in under the proposal.
Planning commission president Sam Rockwell says the move would reduce carbon emissions made by idling cars, and increase pedestrian safety.
“Drive-thru [windows], traffic lanes, parking facilities … they all create 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, he claims building neighborhood communities could be a solution.
“You go to a city like London, Paris, New York or Boston. Neighbors help their elderly neighbors up the stairs with their groceries. They know them, they help them, they run errands. So creating that community can be a boost,” Rockwell said.
Drive-thru window users like Jake Siefker say they aren’t convinced by Rockwell’s arguments.
“It’s convenient, it’s fast. You can just go through them on your way home on your way to work,” Siefker said. “There’s a lot of cars standing idly right here. A drive-thru is just another part of that.”
The ban would have a relatively-small impact on the current look of the city, but it could decades down the road. Right now, drive-thru windows are only allowed in six of the city’s 23 zoning districts, and only a few are built each year.
This proposal will have a public hearing in the first week of June. The planning commission will then vote on it and from there, it could go before city council.