Support from Denver Vale Nixon, BSc (Victoria), MES (York), MLIS (Western)

Dear Honourable Mayor DeCicco-Best:

I am a London homeowner and doctoral student at the University of Western Ontario (please see address below).  This afternoon I attended the meeting regarding drive-through (a.k.a. “drive-thru”) regulation in London, though perhaps “circus” would be a better description given the behaviour of the Tim Horton’s corporate supporters that were present.  Anyway, I wish to pass on to you that I support any regulatory change that prevents the addition of drive-throughs in the city.  Although the proposed changes that were presented sounded weakened, again I support any restrictions on drive-throughs, and therefore support the amendments, though with strong encouragement to expand drive-through restrictions universally (i.e. a moratorium) in the Official Plan as soon as possible.

Having returned from a two month “conference tour” on the west coast, I will admit that I am not totally up to date on all of the details and nuances that you have been dealing with, but I would like to speak to what I saw as glaring problems in the materials presented.  First, the report statement that drive-throughs do not increase automobile trips is absolutely incorrect.  My current research is on transportation geography and planning, and I have worked as an assistant planner for the Capital Regional District in Victoria, BC, and I can say definitively that a trip to the drive-through is in fact an additional trip, or two (if returning to the same origin), unless the person using the drive-through also works at the drive-through enterprise in question, and can park there without returning to the public road network.  A drive-through user may perform what is called, “trip chaining,” involving a number of stops between final beginning and end points (usually home and place of employment), but this is not aggregated to constitute one trip.  The drive-through is but another node in a series of nodes, the segments in between constituting extra trips.  The other suspect if not outright spurious report claims were those stating that drive-through idling has no significant impact on vehicle emissions (note the wording here), and/or that using a drive-through is no worse than parking the same vehicle.  In general, this makes little sense; if the person’s vehicle is idling, with constant accelerations and decelerations, they are logically emitting more than a vehicle that is not running.  To propose otherwise is absurd.  I may foresee a counter-argument in which a vehicle that starts cold emits more than one that is warm; this may be true in some cases (catalytic converters work best when hot), but how many vehicles will actually reach a thermal state definable as “cold” from a five minute sit in the parking lot throughout most of the year?

Beyond these concerns regarding truth claims, I feel that it is completely irrational, as well as heartless (with regard to future generations), to allow practices such as drive-though idling to continue given the undesirable direction of change observable in the environment, both locally and globally (I will not bore you here with a myriad citations, as I’ve gathered that you are familiar with the situation).  The lack of commitment to environmental integrity associated with drive-through providers is glaringly obvious when considering that most do not allow bicyclists or pedestrians to use this “service” (I have tried!).  Another concern revolves around health– a person, who otherwise does not suffer from a challenge to their mobility, cannot leave their car to walk inside the restaurant is making a sorry statement on the condition of our health and health-awareness indeed.  Similarly, the noise of drive-throughs, their localized emissions, as well as their questionable aesthetic, have the potential to undermine the physical and mental health of local residents.  The research is available to support this.  Please, in the future, when considering issues such as these, consult the peer reviewed literature, rather than entertaining corporate funded “grey papers” that have little scientific value.

Thank you for the time you’ve made to read and consider this.

Sincerely Yours,

Denver Nixon

“America is a country of remarkably developed, highly polished young women, and oddly garbed, criminally inclined young men travelling at great speed in monstrous cars along superhighways from one skyscraping city to the next; the very largest cars contain millionaires with crew-cuts; everyone is chewing gum…”

— Haddon, John. 1960. “A View of Foreign Lands.” Geography 65:286.

Denver Vale Nixon, BSc (Victoria), MES (York), MLIS (Western)

Drive-through dustup begins

Drive-through dustup begins

Tue, July 15, 2008

By JENNIFER O”BRIEN , SUN MEDIA

Hundreds of Londoners packed Centennial Hall today for a public hearing on proposed restrictions on fast-food drive-throughs in the city.

An overwhelming majority of the crowd, most of them fast-food workersm, sported blue campaign t-shirts distributed by the fast-food industry as part of a campaign against any bans on drive-throughs.

City council’s planning committee is holding the meeting to let the public weigh in on proposed curbs to on drive-through locations, aesthetics, traffic, noise and other issues.

The city is trying to clarify rules for drive-throughs in its official plan, its blueprint for growth.

While most in the crowd were there representing or supporting the industry, others included citizens’ groups, such as environmentalists, fringe political parties and neighbourhood activists.

Advocates for the disabled — many of whom support drive-throughs — were also there.

“We are here to say drive-throughs have absolutely no place in areas abutting residential neighbourhoods,” said John Fracasso, of the Picadilly Area Neighbourhood Association.

Said Zachary Young, a concerned citizen, said the planning committee has no business trying to regulate drive-throughs.

“London has one of the highest unemployment rates in Canada. How can you, in good conscience, argue for more regulation on local business, given the high regulation has had to date,” he demanded of the committee.

http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/CityandRegion/2008/07/15/6165986.html

Support from Executive Director, Greenpeace in Canada

london-drive-through-regulation-greenpeace1

FOUNDED IN CANADA, 1971 / FONDÉ AU CANADA, 1971


July 15, 2008

Councilor Judy Bryant

Chair, London Planning Committee

300 Dufferin Avenue.

London, ON

N6B 1Z2

Dear Madam Chair,

I am writing to urge you and the London planning committee to support a temporary moratorium on further “drive through” business operations in London.

While there has been much written and said about the importance of idling in the grand scheme of air quality and global warming, “drive throughs” versus parking lots, idling times and their corresponding carbon footprints, much of this has been raised in an concerted effort to create doubt, rather than provide clarity.

As was the case with the large tobacco companies in the sixties and seventies which questioned the science of smoking related illnesses, proponents of “drive thoughs” need only to create a doubt about the validity of their opponents’ concerns and they win: the status quo will continue.

Today, we know better. If you do in fact have concerns or doubts about whether or not “drive throughs” contribute to global warming and diminish air quality (and I stress here, you should not) then you should do what good science dictates: evoke the “precautionary principle” e.g. when in doubt about the environmental impact of an action, err on the side of caution.

I fear however that in this debate we may lose sight of the forest for the trees. The issue at stake is not counting the seconds of idling but what should London’s official plan be stipulating at a time when the entire global community is grappling with climate change mitigation? Should London’s official plan continue to support a status quo position that encourages individuals to get in their car and drive to a restaurant?

Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) has stated “the way in which the world’s growing cities are planned and managed will largely determine the pace of global warming”. Indeed, here in Canada, in the near total absence of meaningful federal action on climate change, municipalities and urban planning play even a greater role in addressing climate change than in other jurisdictions.

Municipalities have historically led the way on issues like waste diversion, cosmetic pesticide use and water quality. You can do the same on climate change. Public transit, building regulations, parks, traffic flow – and yes, regulation of “drive throughs” – are all areas in your purview that can have an effect on our collective greenhouse gas emissions.

No one is arguing that a moratorium on “drive throughs” is the most important issue facing our planet today, it is however part of the climate change solution puzzle and is the issue that is before your committee today. There will be no quick fix or single solution to global warming, just millions of small significant actions from individuals and leaders around the world.

Peter F. Drucker the renowned author and management guru once wrote that “management is about doing things right, leadership is about doing the right things”. I can assure you, twenty years from now no one will question why London does not have more drive through restaurants but they may wonder why Council did not act on global warming when they had the chance.

You are leaders, I urge you to do the right thing. Make London a leader and put a moratorium on new drive through businesses.

I thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely

Bruce Cox

Executive Director, Greenpeace in Canada

c.c. Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best

Cory Morningstar, Council of Canadians

Toronto Environmental Alliance – Statement on Drive-thrus

Feb 15, 2008 04:30 AM


Staff Reporters


Going through the drive-through for that morning cup of coffee could become a banned ritual for City of Toronto employees.

“Idling a vehicle when you’re not driving wastes fuel. It wastes money. It’s unnecessary carbon emissions,” said Sarah Gingrich, a business analyst with fleet services. “We want to explore whether (a ban) is possible, is it beneficial, and how would we go about it.”

The idea is one of 38 recommendations in a “green fleet” plan endorsed by the city management committee yesterday that will go to city council next month.

Last June, the city enacted a policy requiring employees driving city vehicles to turn off the engine when stopped for more than 10 seconds.

The city estimates that if all the drivers of its 4,700 vehicles followed the no-drive-through rule, emissions would be reduced by 2,100 tonnes a year, the equivalent of taking 486 passenger vehicles off the road. (The fleet does not include police or other emergency vehicles.)

Gingrich said the city has no data on how much fuel has been saved by the no-idling rule so far, but it has received fewer complaints from the public about idling city vehicles.

Brian Cochrane, president of CUPE Local 416, called a ban on drive-through use “a little bizarre” aid said he wondered how efficient it would be to require staff to go into a restaurant to eat.

“It will take more time out of the work day. I don’t see it as a particularly productive situation,” Cochrane said, adding that many of the city’s trucks are too big to even go through a drive-through.

He said he would be prepared to consider the idea as long as management would not penalize staffers over lost time.

More skepticism might come from the drive-through industry. Tim Hortons commissioned a study last fall that found drive-through restaurants are better environmentally than those without them.

“It’s surprising,” admitted Tim’s spokesperson Nick Javor, of the study done by RWDI Consultants in Guelph. The findings have been presented to a city committee in London, Ont., which was considering a ban on new drive-throughs.

He said two major factors contribute to the results: People who plan to park first have to drive around looking for a spot. Then, restarting the engine minutes later produces a puff of emissions.

“That all contributes 20 per cent more smog pollutants and 60 per cent more greenhouse gases than a restaurant without a drive-through,” he contended.

The study, which is being peer-reviewed and will be published this spring, was based on a combination of computer modelling and actual traffic counts, Javor said. Customers were timed for how long they spent on the property, both looking for a spot or at the window.

At rush hour it can take four or five minutes of idling to get through the drive-through, but picking up a quick coffee at a suburban location can take as little as 20 or 30 seconds.

Nationally, about half of Tim Horton’s business is done at the drive-through. At McDonalds, it’s more than 60 per cent, according to spokesperson Ron Christianson, who added that drive-throughs “are pretty important to some customer segments”like parents of young children and people who want to stay in the car when it’s dark or stormy.

Katrina Miller, of Toronto Environmental Alliance, declined to comment on the specific recommendation in Toronto. But she said that generally, “Drive-throughs have no place in a city with 30 to 40 smog days a year.”

She noted that her group favours a city-wide policy banning new drive-through operations and restrictions on existing ones.

Drive-through ban eyed for city vehicles

Feb 15, 2008 04:30 AM


Staff Reporters


Going through the drive-through for that morning cup of coffee could become a banned ritual for City of Toronto employees.

“Idling a vehicle when you’re not driving wastes fuel. It wastes money. It’s unnecessary carbon emissions,” said Sarah Gingrich, a business analyst with fleet services. “We want to explore whether (a ban) is possible, is it beneficial, and how would we go about it.”

The idea is one of 38 recommendations in a “green fleet” plan endorsed by the city management committee yesterday that will go to city council next month.

Last June, the city enacted a policy requiring employees driving city vehicles to turn off the engine when stopped for more than 10 seconds.

The city estimates that if all the drivers of its 4,700 vehicles followed the no-drive-through rule, emissions would be reduced by 2,100 tonnes a year, the equivalent of taking 486 passenger vehicles off the road. (The fleet does not include police or other emergency vehicles.)

Gingrich said the city has no data on how much fuel has been saved by the no-idling rule so far, but it has received fewer complaints from the public about idling city vehicles.

Brian Cochrane, president of CUPE Local 416, called a ban on drive-through use “a little bizarre” aid said he wondered how efficient it would be to require staff to go into a restaurant to eat.

“It will take more time out of the work day. I don’t see it as a particularly productive situation,” Cochrane said, adding that many of the city’s trucks are too big to even go through a drive-through.

He said he would be prepared to consider the idea as long as management would not penalize staffers over lost time.

More skepticism might come from the drive-through industry. Tim Hortons commissioned a study last fall that found drive-through restaurants are better environmentally than those without them.

“It’s surprising,” admitted Tim’s spokesperson Nick Javor, of the study done by RWDI Consultants in Guelph. The findings have been presented to a city committee in London, Ont., which was considering a ban on new drive-throughs.

He said two major factors contribute to the results: People who plan to park first have to drive around looking for a spot. Then, restarting the engine minutes later produces a puff of emissions.

“That all contributes 20 per cent more smog pollutants and 60 per cent more greenhouse gases than a restaurant without a drive-through,” he contended.

The study, which is being peer-reviewed and will be published this spring, was based on a combination of computer modelling and actual traffic counts, Javor said. Customers were timed for how long they spent on the property, both looking for a spot or at the window.

At rush hour it can take four or five minutes of idling to get through the drive-through, but picking up a quick coffee at a suburban location can take as little as 20 or 30 seconds.

Nationally, about half of Tim Horton’s business is done at the drive-through. At McDonalds, it’s more than 60 per cent, according to spokesperson Ron Christianson, who added that drive-throughs “are pretty important to some customer segments”like parents of young children and people who want to stay in the car when it’s dark or stormy.

Katrina Miller, of Toronto Environmental Alliance, declined to comment on the specific recommendation in Toronto. But she said that generally, “Drive-throughs have no place in a city with 30 to 40 smog days a year.”

She noted that her group favours a city-wide policy banning new drive-through operations and restrictions on existing ones.

To The City of London – On Behalf of the Council of Canadians | London Chapter | Environment & Climate Change Protection Committee

City of London,

Planning Committee

Dear Controller and Councillors,

June 17 2007

My name is Kevin Lomack and I would like to begin by stating how much

I appreciate this opportunity to address everyone on the Planning

Committee directly with my thoughts and those of the Council of

Canadians – London Chapter – Environment and Climate Change Committee,

on the topic of establishing a moratorium on any new drive-thru

facilities.

The question of whether establishing a moratorium on businesses in

London wishing to be permitted to operate under this increasingly

environmentally insensitive model has been on our minds for some time.

We have been thinking that this idea made complete sense in

conjunction with our overall desire to do absolutely everything we

could to promote the reduction of unnecessary vehicle idling in every

situation where this is possible in this city and region.

It is our contention, that anything less than diligently and

persistently thriving to achieve this goal is not at all responsible

to the unfortunate individuals in our community who are currently

experiencing major medical challenges such as respiratory and heart

conditions as a result of vehicle emissions. We are also concerned for

those of us who will undoubtedly be afflicted ourselves at some point

in time if we as a society should fail to make significant strides in

the appropriate direction in each and every instance where we can

improve the environment.

Through the course of the last several months, with the two Public

Participation Meetings as well as the open invitation for submissions

from the public, you have heard from myself and many of my

counterparts and other concerned constituents from the community

regarding the ‘Big Picture’ issue of Climate Change and Global

Warming. We have mentioned specifically how we would like you to

connect the dots to the present question which is determining whether

this city and region can or should tolerate any additional facilities

with a drive-thru component. I will not specifically speak to the

‘big picture principles again as I trust that all of you share with us

an appreciation and understanding of what is continuing to happen to

our environment as a direct result of the actions of the human species

over the past few decades.

When I spoke to the Planning Committee – that some of you were a

part of on November 12 2007, my hope was that I was able to clearly

articulate to everyone present that it was then and continues to be

our belief that if you were somehow able to conclude that it could be

considered rational, defensible and reasonable, from a public policy

perspective, given the vast body of scientific evidence supporting the

conclusion that more serious and forward thinking decisions will need

to be made by Council to mitigate against some of the dire

environmental consequences we are witnessing today, we would do our

best to try to understand. However, we are not at all convinced, and

we truly believe that you are not either, that the issue of excessive

and unnecessary idling can be ignored.

Considering the fact that the well being of our fellow citizens

is an integral part of the City of London’s vision statement – and I

will quote from the web page : We are a caring, responsive community

committed to the health and well-being of all Londoners. The actions

we take will be socially, environmentally, and fiscally responsible so

that our quality of life is enhanced and sustained for future

generations.

It is in this context, that I think that I would like to make some

comments on what has been mentioned in the Official Plan Zoning

Refinement Review, prepared by staff for the Public Participation

Meeting on May 26th. And the resolution that was passed by council on

November 19 2007

On page 27 (F) of the report, it is mentioned that the planning

staff do not have the specific expertise to address the question of

the health and environmental impacts of drive-through facilities. We

respectfully are in agreement with this conclusion. And certainly when

one looks at the resolution that was passed by council on November 19

2007, it is clearly evident that planning staff were not expected to

provide any conclusion or direct opinion on these points. The mention

that an independent scientific opinion on the information brought

forward by the public and industry would certainly indicate that a

conclusion on this sort of a serious scientific topic was respectfully

beyond the reach of the department’s background. In fact, it would be

our desire to have this question determined through another standing

committee such as the Environment & Transportation Committee in

conjunction with the appropriate inside and outside experts. Having

someone `hired by the industry, prepare a report with the expectation

that everything contained within would be taken at face value can not

be considered responsible.

On page 28 (G), the question from 14 ( b) of the resolution “the

impact of a complete moratorium on drive through uses” is commented

on. We are also in agreement with the conclusion that it would indeed

need to be a conscious effort by Council to not approve any new drive-

through facilities. This is precisely the kind of thinking that we and

many others in the public believe Council should be engaged in given

the critical and crucial need to capitalize on each and every

opportunity available to foster positive change to our environment. We

would further expect that any sort of increasingly restrictive

policies that should need to be fashioned and implemented into the

Official Plan as has been suggested, would be prepared and presented

as per the standard practice.

In the report, under the above heading, it is mentioned that the

“financial implications to the drive-through industry are unknown”.

With all due respect to the industry, it is our hope and expectation

that this Council would not be in the position to make its assessment

of the merits of this environmental and health related question based

on the financial consequences to an industry that clearly uses

business models elsewhere without a drive-through component with much

success.

Further on page 28 (G), the question from 14 (c) of the resolution

“the impacts of restricting drive- through uses on persons with

disabilities” is commented on. It is not at all lost on us and we

fully appreciate that since the introduction of the drive-through in

around 1970, those with mobility difficulties have felt themselves to

be more appropriately accommodated. We are confident that those from

the industry and the people with disabilities could come up with some

innovative and creative solutions that don’t involve excesses idling

when a moratorium is introduced. Those who have contacted us from this

community have not indicated that their desire to be accommodated by

the industry and public policy regulations should trump the overall

desire to maintain or enhance the quality of the air we all breathe.

This is all I feel I need to comment on from the report prepared

by Charles Parker that is connected to the environmental and health

consequences of the drive-through industry.

I would like to ask you to turn your mind to the document

prepared by Jamie Skimming and Jay Stanford entitled “Environmental

Statement on the Need to Reduce Idling in London”. It would be our

conclusion that these two competent and trusted gentlemen clearly see

the detriment in not pursuing measurable actions toward the reduction

of idling in London. Funds have been requested to pursue additional

idling initiatives in the 2008 budget and were not supported.

The statistics given in this report should prompt anyone to choose

to park and walk in rather than use the drive-through. The fact is

that the message is not getting out to the public adequately and the

environment can’t wait for this to happen. They also speak to many

instances where there is a major divergence of scientific opinion

between the RWDI study and the generally accepted authorities.

We are completely aligned with most of what the author’s state

including the statement that in all cases, the decision to leave the

automobile engine running is a voluntary one, and one that usually

serves no useful purpose except to provide comfort and convenience.

With this in mind, I ask you, how can ones own personal comfort and

convenience trump the severely negative consequences to the

environment?

Our instincts would lead us to agree with Mr. Skimming and Mr.

Stanford that it is imperative that Tim Horton’s and the other members

of the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association should become

part of the solution to reduce idling. In a general context – any form

of adherence to the definition of Corporate Social Responsibility

would require them to be more mindful of the impacts of pushing back

against this moratorium challenge. We have yet to see signs of CSR

from the TDL group to the environmental challenges that this industry

is now and will continue to experience. In fact, when we asked,

repeatedly, that they consider the concept of offering a nominal

discount for individuals who choose to walk in rather than use the

drive-thru we did not even receive so much as a reply.

We, in our capacity as volunteers under an NGO banner, are not

currently capable of providing any sort of in-depth scientific

response to the RWDI Study which has been presented, but we certainly

agree with what this staff report has suggested regarding concerns

with certain limitations, the use of certain assumptions and some of

the conclusions drawn. The thought that vehicles lining up as they do

each day at many thousands of locations across the country, without

causing any environmental detriment is preposterous.

There are many more instances cited in the report where the City of

London staff have inferred that the conclusions and related data in

the RWDI report are not able to be relied upon as they don’t

accurately represent a true picture of the environmental impact of the

drive-thru industry. So much for the value of the peer review that we

waited all those months for.

Staff have made some significant and very progressive recommendations

as to what should be happening in this city with respect to the issue

of vehicle idling. Many others in the community are doing their best

each and every day to play a part in improving our environment. It

would be such a shame to have any or all of the value of these

initiatives negated by the fact that concerns surrounding taking away

certain individuals personal convenience and optimism that the

appropriate corporate environmental responsibility will soon be

exhibited, prevented this committee from making the consistently

environmentally responsible decisions we all need you to make on our

behalf.

Council of Canadians

London Chapter

Environment & Climate Change Committee

London West NDP Riding Association Endorsement

To: Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco and London City Council.

Subject: CITY OF LONDON OFFICIAL PLAN/ZONlNG REFINEMENT REVIEW Regulation of Drive-Through Facilities

I am writing on behalf of the executive of the London West NDP Riding Association executive council to express our support for the City’s By-Law amendments to Drive-thru services as outlined in Agenda item 18 of the May 26, 2008 council agenda. As the background material in the agenda item makes clear, the proliferation of drive-thru facilities in London since 1996 has made analysis of their impact on traffic flow, noise and light pollution and disturbances, and air quality a priority. In light of the known environmental and health impacts of car exhaust we support a moratorium on further drive-thru construction and operation within the City of London.

Further, given the advances in long-range weather forecasting and air-quality monitoring, we believe drive-thru operations at food and coffee establishments should be restricted from operating on smog-advisory days, as well as on the two days preceding the smog advisory alert.

Finally, clear signage posted at the drive-thru establishments should indicate idling time is restricted to 1 minute, cite the appropriate city by-law and the fine for infractions.

Respectfully,

Peter L Ferguson, President

London West NDP Riding Association

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