Minneapolis officials want to ban future drive-thru windows

Posted at 8:14 PM, May 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-17 22:22:19-04

MINNEAPOLIS – Drive-thru windows could soon be a thing of the past in Minneapolis, as the city is in the initial stages of contemplating a ban on new drive-thrus.

Planning Commission President Sam Rockwell says 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.

Critics say the change could have a negative impact on some groups, including the disabled.

“Having to use a drive-thru is definitely a necessity and then if people have mobility issues, I mean it’s just easy to quick run up get what you need and get out,” one resident said.

Rockwell says building neighborhood communities could help solve the problem. “You go to a city like London, Paris, New York or Boston, and 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,” he said.

Right now drive-thrus are only allowed in six of the 23 zoning districts in Minneapolis, and only a couple are built each year. That means the ban would not have a big immediate impact on the look of the city, but over the years and decades, it will make a big change.

A public hearing on the measure is scheduled next month before the city planning commission votes on it. If it passes it may then be considered by the Minneapolis City Council.