MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis elected officials envision a different kind of city. A city with fewer cars – and more pedestrians, bikes and mass transit.
The latest automotive target in the crosshairs: drive-thrus.
On Thursday, the city planning commission will discuss a ban on new drive-thrus, including those at restaurants, banks, coffee shops and drug stores.
“Oh, that's horrible,” frequent drive-through customer Sheila Daniels said. “I love to go through the drive through at Walgreens, call your prescription in ahead of time and just drive through the drive through.”
But environmentalists say our collective quest for convenience comes at a price.
“Conveniencing the automobile trip - making it the most convenient choice - it encourages and induces more driving, and that's not great for our environment," Jessica Treat, executive director of Move Minnesota said.
Treat says idling cars at drive-thrus produce unnecessary emissions - while cars crossing sidewalks while entering and exiting drive-thru lanes impede pedestrians and make crossing unsafe.
“It doesn't mean that those businesses won't be able to operate, people will walk to businesses, they take transit to businesses, they bike to businesses, they don't only arrive by car,” Treat said.
Others aren’t so sure.
“I think that's a horrible idea, I love drive-thrus, they save a lot of time,” University of Minnesota student Hannah Brady said while exiting the McDonald’s drive-through in Dinkytown.
One car ahead, Emma Pederson agreed. “I'm on my way to work right now. It would take me a lot more time to get out of my car and go in.”
The drive-through ban would apply only to new stores. Existing businesses would be exempt.
Treat maintains a generational shift is causing a different approach to city living.
“It’s not some new thing that just pulled out of nowhere,” she said, while acknowledging, “Change is hard, I get that.”
Just ask Sheila Daniels.
“We want our drive-thrus, yes we do,” Daniels said.