Drive Thru Issue Gone Nation Wide; O’Keefe

Drive Thru Issue Gone Nation Wide; O’Keefe
January 9, 2009

St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe, says interest in council’s decision to put proposed drive-thru’s on hold until traffic safety issues are addressed has gone nation-wide. O’Keefe says he has been doing interviews with media across the country – but he says there’s another aspect of the issue that’s unfolding. O’Keefe says the traffic department has been contacted by other communities about similar problems. He’s hopeful that St. John’s can come up with a plan which can be used across the country.


Lung Association Supporting Drive Thru Moratorium

Lung Association Supporting Drive Thru Moratorium
January 9, 2009

The province’s lung association has thrown its support behind the city’s moratorium on new drive thru’s. Spokesperson Greg Noel says they have been encouraging the public to limit vehicle use for some time, because of environmental and health concerns. Noel says while they may be pursuing change for different reasons, the association is pleased with the debate taking place. Noel notes it is not just drive thrus that cause the Lung Association concern. He says idling vehicles in general can have harmful health effects.

Former Ottawa City Director Applauds St. John’s Tim Horton’s Drive-through Ban

From the Wires

Former Ottawa City Director Applauds St. John’s Tim Horton’s Drive-through Ban

By: Marketwire .

Jan. 8, 2009 09:20 AM

OTTAWA, ONTARIO — (Marketwire) — 01/08/09 — Back in 2003, the City of Ottawa established an aggressive policy to restrict the proliferation of drive-through restaurants because of their direct impact on traffic congestion along main arteries, resulting in road rage and potential delays for police, fire and ambulance services. Drive-throughs encourage car idling creating air pollution. Tim Horton’s challenged Ottawa Council’s decision and the Ontario Municipal Board sided with Tim Horton’s in 2006.

“I am very pleased to see that Canadian cities are fighting back, says Dennis Jacobs, the City of Ottawa’s former Director of Planning, Environment and Infrastructure Policy, and the staff member who lead the fight in Ottawa. “Recently, Toronto has also stepped up to the plate adds Jacobs, by looking at ways to make Tim Horton’s and other fast food outlets, responsible for their direct impacts on the environment, in view of the disproportionately high amount of garbage that is strewn in and around city neighborhoods.”

“What we need however, says Jacobs, is a coordinated effort as individual municipalities cannot expect to make a difference on their own. Fast food is a part of our lifestyle, but the industry must also be environmentally responsible as a retail business. As evidenced in Ottawa, a piece meal approach results in many small battles that can be lost. What we need is a national approach.

Dennis Jacobs is a Registered Professional Planner, a past president of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute and a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners. Since leaving the City of Ottawa in 2007, he has continued to practice land use planning in the Ottawa area as a consultant with the firm Momentum Strategic and Creative.

Momentum Strategic and Creative.
Dennis Jacobs
613-862-0799 or 613-729-3773

Published Jan. 8, 2009


Dear Members of City Council,

Please direct staff to review the possibility of placing a moratorium on all new commercial drive-through operations. This would be one strategy towards designing our city for people not cars.

A city designed for people not cars would have multiple town centres linked by green spaces, walkways and/or bicycle paths.

Benefits of multiple town centres:

  • Increased opportunities to access services, products, employment and entertainment within our communities
  • The development of a strong, highly diversified local economy, which would increase job opportunities.
  • Natural development of support networks for the disabled, elderly, young children, new immigrants etc.
  • Physical activity becomes a part of our daily routine, thereby improving overall health, air quality and decreasing the stress placed on our health care system.
  • Increased safety, as there would be more eyes on our communities thereby decreasing the overall need for police officers
  • Stronger communities

Designing cities around cars not people is expensive!

The cost of non-renewable fuels will continue to rise. This will impact the cost of living and the cost of running our cities.

  • We place ourselves in jeopardy, when our city is not highly diversified or built on a local economy.
  • Road and bridge infrastructure are expensive to build and maintain
  • Educational programs which promote better health are expensive, as they receive funding from all levels of government. Incorporating healthier lifestyles into our daily routines would achieve greater success and be cost effective.
  • The future costs of dealing with the impacts of climate change should not be ignored

Hopefully, in the near future, you will also consider levelling the playing field to encourage the growth of a diverse local economy and placing a moratorium on the widening of our streets.

As councilors you have the opportunity to place a unique stamp on London vs. a global stamp. Dare to dream!

As councillors, you are entrusted to do what is right for the majority. Please redesign our city for people not cars.

Best wishes,

Teresa Rutten

Opinion – We have Failed.

We have failed. We have failed to imagine the cost of convenience. We have failed to imagine the cost to our environment, to our health, and to the health of our children. All of these were unintended consequences. So let’s imagine change. Let’s remember that we have done this before when we agreed that smoking didn’t belong in the workplace and that kids on bikes needed helmets. If we could imagine this discussion in the future we are facing – we would recognize that drive-thrus are already a thing of the past.

Trae Robinson

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)

Support from Executive Director, Greenpeace in Canada



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.


Bruce Cox

Executive Director, Greenpeace in Canada

c.c. Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best

Cory Morningstar, Council of Canadians