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Air Quality

Minneapolis Just Banned Drive-Throughs

The Minneapolis City Council has banned drive-throughs — a move proponents say will make roadways safer and make the air cleaner.

Drive-through windows, such as those at fast-food joints or (ironically) liquor stores — are not that widespread in the Paris of the High Plains, according to the local news site Wedge Live. And even though existing drive-throughs will be grandfathered in, the zoning reform could still have important safety implications.

Research has shown that areas around fast-food restaurants are especially dangerous for pedestrians because drive-throughs require more driveways, which introduce potential points of conflict. Plus, drivers tend to be distracted just before they have ordered their food — and in the moments when they start driving away with it.

A Florida study found that each fast-food restaurant in a low-income block added an average of 0.69 pedestrian crashes every four years. McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell were all associated with a greater risk of severe injuries.

The Minneapolis council said the measure would improve air quality by reducing idling, incrementally helping the city comply with its goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

The measure is part of a series of progressive improvements contained in the Minneapolis 2040 plan which also did away with minimum-parking requirements and single-family zoning citywide. The city also plans to phase out gas stations.

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