Minneapolis Just Banned Drive-Throughs

Photo:  William F. Yurasko/Flicker/CC
Photo: William F. Yurasko/Flicker/CC

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.


17 thoughts on Minneapolis Just Banned Drive-Throughs

  1. My immediate reaction: good! My secondary reaction: oh no, this will shift demand from drive-through to delivery-to-home, and I wonder if that is a good thing? Net, probably good for cyclists, but I am not sure it is an unalloyed good. It will be an interesting experiment regardless! Especially as some 2/3 of fast-food volume is drive-through. (Now – just kidding – what about Bike Through?)

  2. Are their suggestions in the plan for helping the handicapped and drivers with kids or pets in the car? Carhops? Many of our local fast food places offer drive-thru only after a certain hour for the safety of their staff.

  3. Whenever I go inside to order food I tend to get out and back in my car quicker than if I’d joined the drive thru queue.

  4. Minneapolis sounds more and more like a dream. Low key want to just leave my midwestern parking crater and move just a state or two over.

  5. might as well….most drive-thru’s won’t serve people on bikes or on foot…

    even if late night when the lobby is closed, but the drive thru remains open!

    i could understand if the lobby is open, that peds should go inside…

    but late night, when only the drive up is open, due to “safety and security”…

    the fact that anyone without a car is discriminated against and refused service just boggles my mind that 1) restaurants do it and purposely turn down revenue sales, and 2) that municipalities allow it to legally happen.

    I’d actually think, that someone as a pedestrian or cyclist at the drive up window is safer for the staff, because it is so much easier to hide a gun in a car than it is on a bike!

    And plenty of car drivers are agressive or irate anyway, just magnified by virtue of being in a car and on roads in general…

    any car driver can get so mad, that they’ll get out of the car to attack the window clerk….so their whole argument of employee safety to refuse pedestrians when it is the only service available, is hogwash!

    It’s not supposed to be “no shoes, no shirt, no car, no service”!

  6. So: more parking spots needed, people with kids seriously inconvenienced, especially in those balmy Minneapolis winters, late night customers having to leave the safety of their cars, sanctimonious Democrats giving yet more orders to the peasants for their own good.

    How about drive through banks: going to ban those too so people have to get out of their cars in winter, and walk back to their cars, possibly with hundreds of dollars in small bills? Yeah, no social cost there.

    Thanks a lot, Democrats. Shafting the peasants again.

    And bicyclists….breezing through stop signs and stop lights because Virtue.

  7. Roadways will not magically become safer. Nor will the air be any cleaner, especially given the huge sprawl developments in and around the Twin Cities that force people to own cars.

    Nice try, Angie.

  8. No drive thru doesn’t necessarily mean fewer driveways. On the other hand, it probably means zero driveways in reality as the typical fast food restaurant gets 70% of sales through the drive thru.

  9. I believe that we need more measures to get people out of single-occupant vehicles and on to bikes and public transportation. Banning drive through windows would encourage people to walk, bike, and take the bus to such establishments. I also think that any existing drive through establishments should be forced to service pedestrians and cyclists especially after the lobby closes. Personally, I have used a drive through ATM while riding my bike.

  10. The reality is this will just lead to more driving. The vast majority of those who would use a drive-thru aren’t going to switch to a bike or walk. They’ll just drive further if there isn’t a drive-thru close to home.

    In most cities the ban on drive-thrus is more likely to affect pharmacies as not that many new traditional fast food restaurants are being built.

    The primary reason drive-thru windows don’t serve pedestrians or cyclists is fear of crashes. The restaurant doesn’t want to potentially be sued and held to be liable for a pedestrian or cyclist being hurt or killed by a distracted driver in the drive-thru.

  11. I think it is a good idea for all the reasons in the article, as well as the fact that restaurants were around before drive-thru’s and did just fine. I also believe however, that one should be allowed to walk or bike to the window after hours once the lobby is closed

  12. The last sentence in this article caught me. “Phase out gas stations”. That should be interesting. If you asked me in the year 2000 “ will all the cars on the road be electric by the year 2020, I would have said, no, but there will be more electric cars on the road than we have now. Which is the case, but not a percentage that makes a difference to the point of saying you will be able to do away with gas stations. We run many things on fossil fuels. Our electricity doesn’t all come from Nuclear generation or solar and wind. It still comes from fossil fuels. I applaud their efforts but we as a society are not at the levels to make these changes effective yet.

  13. Idiocy, pure idiocy.

    Do you really think everyone will choose to accept inconvenience because of this nonsensical “good intentions” bill? Hell no. Drivers of single occupant vehicles will get out and go inside but multiple occupant vehicles will see the unlucky person who drew the short straw go inand order while the lucky friends sit in an
    idling car. Cars will be in the parking lots with AC on in the summer and heat on in the winter.

    I bet the chucklehead who proposed this drives a family of four around in a Chevy Suburban XL. It reeks of the ramblings of a hypocritical politician.

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