Drive-thrus banned at central Mountain plaza Hamilton | Tim Hortons Appeals

Drive-thrus banned at central Mountain plaza

Concern over congestion at busy corner

By Kevin Werner/News staff


Aug 11, 2009

If people want to shop at the plaza on the corner of Upper James and Mohawk Road West, they’ll have to get out of your vehicle.

Members of the economic development and planning committee this week banned drive-thrus at the plaza because of a concern over traffic congestion on the nearby roadways.

“Any drive-thru could be a problem,” said Ward 8 (west Mountain) councillor Terry Whitehead.

Politicians allowed a zoning bylaw amendment to the plaza, owned by J. Beume Real Estate Limited, to include a restaurant, but agreed with city staff to exclude drive-thrus for restaurants. City staff said since more people use a restaurant drive-thru, it would cause more traffic problems in the area than a drive-thru bank, for instance.

But Coun. Whitehead and the committee went a step further in a 4-2 vote prohibiting any drive-thrus at the plaza. Coun. Whitehead said regardless of the business, a drive-thru would result in traffic tie-ups in the area.

“Any drive-thru would be a problem,” he said.

James Webb, of Webb Planning Consultants, said the owner had been encouraging a Tim Hortons to locate at the plaza. The restaurant would have a drive-thru, he said. And to also prohibit drive-thrus for other businesses at the plaza is not proper, he said.
“We don’t feel it is appropriate,” he said.

Council is scheduled to debate the recommendation at its meeting Thursday.

This is the first time a committee has banned drive-thrus in a specific location. Ward 1 councillor Brian McHattie has encouraged city planners to eliminate drive-thrus in new commercial developments, especially in suburban areas arguing they contribute to urban sprawl, cause traffic and safety problems and poor air quality.

University of Alberta students in 2006 monitored a popular Tim Hortons in Edmonton for 54 hours and counted 3,756 vehicles idling for an average of more than five minutes each, with the longest idle more than 12 minutes.

Tim McCabe, general manager of economic development and planning, said in the city’s new Urban Official Plan that was approved by council in June, drive-thrus are prohibited in certain areas including official Business Improvement Areas, downtowns, and in nodes and corridors areas under the city’s Growth Related Integrated Development Strategy plan. He said that Tim Hortons has appealed the city’s Urban Official Plan to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Mr. McCabe said drive-thrus create “minimal” impacts to an area when it comes to air quality and “stacking” problems with traffic.

In a decision, the OMB struck down portions of Ottawa’s comprehensive zoning bylaws that prohibited drive-thrus on traditional main streets and substituted wording to include exceptions.

“Climate policy is characterized by the habituation of low expectations and a culture of failure. There is an urgent need to understand global warming and the tipping points for dangerous impacts that we have already crossed as a sustainability emergency that takes us beyond the politics of failure-inducing compromise. We are now in a race between climate tipping points and political tipping points.”
David Spratt, Philip Sutton, Climate Code Red, Australia, Published July, 2008

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