Toronto Ponders Drive-Thru Ban To Help Environment

Monday December 17, 2007 Staff

To some people, drive-thrus are right up there with the wheel and the iPod as one of the great inventions.  They’re without doubt an easy way to get your quick fix of fast food, but they also serve up something else. With long lineups come idling cars that harm the environment, and traffic disruptions are common in busy urban areas.

That has the city of London considering banning them and now the city of Toronto is talking about similar plans.

Two years ago, a Toronto bylaw came into effect prohibiting new drive-thrus within 100 feet of any residential property. But some councillors think it’s time to toughen up that law.

“Many, many American municipalities have gone in the direction of just absolutely banning drive-thrus, and it’s time for the city of Toronto to consider the same,” maintains Coun. Joe Mihevc.

Others have similar concerns but don’t think it’s time yet to put plans for new drive-thrus in park.

“I think the complete ban is probably impossible,” adds Scarborough Southwest Coun. Brian Ashton.  “They’re already there. The question is, ‘Is there something else we can do to make them a little bit safer in how they operate today?”

Mayor David Miller admits he’s considering changes. “I think there are some places, suburban areas where they’re more appropriate but the more urban areas they are not appropriate, you should be allowing people to walk on a sidewalk without having fear of being run over,” he notes.

Here are some other Canadian cities that are also considering slamming the window on drive-thrus:

Hamilton: Considering stopping any new drive-thrus from being built in the city.

London, Ontario: Restrictions may include moratorium on all new drive-thrus.

Kings County, Nova Scotia: Pondering whether drive-thrus should be restricted solely to those with mobility issues.

Winnipeg: Has turned down several proposals from Tim Horton’s for drive-thrus after residents complained about traffic issues and how they might block existing businesses.

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