Denialism | Restaurant industry commends St. John’s City Council on drive-through decision

Restaurant industry commends St. John’s City Council on drive-through decision

    ST. JOHN'S, Jan. 20 /CNW/ - The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices
Association (CRFA) commends City Council in St. John's, Newfoundland for
taking a co-operative, consultative approach on solving traffic problems and
rescinding its ban on drive throughs.
    City Council lifted the two-week-old moratorium on drive-through outlets
on Monday.
    "Restaurant owners that operate drive throughs are very sensitive to the
needs of the community when it comes to traffic congestion, and want to work
with municipalities to help solve any issues," says Luc Erjavec, CRFA Vice
President for Atlantic Canada. "We are delighted that St. John's will work
with us to solve the problems instead of banning drive throughs."
    Business owners are typically required to do rigorous site planning and
traffic pattern studies before requesting permission to build a drive through.
Older sites, however, often need updating to handle traffic congestion and
customer demand.
    "Occasionally an outlet is the victim of its own success," Erjavec says.
"As more customers come to the outlet, some site adjustments may be needed to
meet the increased demand."
    Tim Hortons Senior Vice President/Atlantic Region John Montgomery says
his company is always willing to work cooperatively with any community that is
facing a traffic issue.
    "We don't want customers waiting in the drive-through line a minute
longer than necessary or lineups spilling out on to the street impeding
traffic," Montgomery says. "There are many options available to speed up
customer service and reduce traffic congestion, such as restructuring parking
lots or re-routing drive-through lanes."
    Montgomery says drive throughs provide an important service to the
community, particularly for those who may face challenges going into the
restaurant such as people who are mobility impaired, parents with young
children, the elderly or people who are in unfamiliar areas late at night or
in bad weather.
For further information: Luc Erjavec, CRFA Vice President, Atlantic
Canada, (902) 209-0804 or; Jeni Armstrong, CRFA
Communications Specialist, (416) 649-4254 or

Drive-thrus and their impact | SPECIAL TO THE EXAMINER

Drive-thrus and their impact


Posted 1 day ago

Almost every town, city and village, have them– drive-thrus. Daily, people line up with their idling vehicles to order a bag of greasy food or a cup of empty calories. Depending on the time of day, a five-to- 10-minute wait isn’t out of the question.

My worst drive-thru experience happened at a KFC location in town. I waited upwards of 10 minutes in the line-up, only to find out what I ordered couldn’t be made because they had no chicken. Go figure. To give the restaurant some credit it was close to closing time for them.

While I admit to being a user of them, it’s certainly not on a regular basis. What keeps me away is my dislike of coffee and the fact that fast food isn’t the healthiest choice for you. Usually I hit up the drive-thru when I’m either on the road or really pressed for time, the original intent of drive-thrus from my understanding.

While the purpose of them was to be convenient for those of us on the run continually, they’ve somewhat lost their original target audience. We as a society have become lazier and rather then get out of our cars to go into the restaurant (sometimes I think that word is used too loosely) to order our food we’d rather just sit in our cars while they spew toxic emissions into our air.

In my old stomping grounds of Fredericton, N. B., there is a coffee shop with a drive-thru in the downtown core. As with most downtowns, space is limited. The coffee shop has 10 parking spots at most, two or three of which were reserved for the disabled.

Every morning there is a line up of cars at the drive thru that extended out to the sidewalk. You would think that once drivers saw that the line up reached edge of the street they would reconsider and find another location to buy coffee. Do they? No. Instead, they insist on blocking a full lane of traffic and making other drivers who want to continue down the street pull into the right turning lane to go around them.

What is worse is the city police take absolutely no action to remove the cars or ticket the drivers for impeding traffic. Really, when you think about it, it comes down to a safety issue. Clearly, this is a major pet peeve.

Thankfully, to my knowledge, it hasn’t come to this here in Peterborough, but we aren’t perfect. While we have an idling bylaw in place, it doesn’t include cars waiting in line at a drive-thru, so the clouds of pollution continue to rise, fouling our air and making life harder for those with breathing difficulties.

I read with great interest several news articles discussing the Newfoundland and Labrador city of St. John’s recent ban on new drivethrus. What a great idea. I should clarify that it isn’t a total ban, if the fast-food outlet can prove that traffic will not spill out on to city streets, they can go ahead with the project.

Even though drive-thrus in St. John’s won’t be outlawed completely, it did something just as important, it got people talking. Within the week, cities across the country were having similar debates about how to act on the issue.

A good place to start when looking at the drive-thru issue would be to ask “Why do you restaurant patrons use the drive-thru rather then going inside?” The answer most people would come up with would be that it is quicker then going inside, but is it? When the line of cars stretches around the building and, like in some cities, lines up on the streets, I think getting out and going inside might be the faster option.

Drive-thru ban on menu | City eyes cracking down on smog from idling cars

Drive-thru ban on menu

City eyes cracking down on smog from idling cars

Brooke Larsen, Burnaby Now; with files from the North Shore News

Published: Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Burnaby councillors say they will look at a city-wide ban of new drive-thrus.

The ban would cut down on smog created by cars idling in fast-food lineups, Coun. Anne Kang said at Monday’s council meeting.

“While drive-thru restaurants provide convenience to customers, they’re also one of the contributors to greenhouse gas,” Kang said.

“I think in the long term it will really add up.”

Kang raised the issue during a discussion of White Spot’s request for a drive-thru at 6038 Kingsway. The site is now occupied by an Arby’s drive-thru and does not need a rezoning from council.

Councillors also asked city staff for a report on a possible moratorium on drive-thrus. The moratorium would not affect existing restaurants.

Kang said the issue hit home when she was out walking with her young daughter and passed a drive-thru.

“I was just concerned about the quality of the air she was breathing,” she said.

Coun. Dan Johnston agreed, calling the amount of smog created at some drive-thrus “pathetic.”

“You can sit at that McDonald’s at Still Creek for 20 minutes,” Johnston said.

“As we try to green our community a little bit, we should be trying to discourage idling.”

Several cities in Oregon and California have restricted the opening of new drive-thus, he added.

Smog isn’t the only reason to ban drive-thrus, Coun. Pietro Calendino said, adding food and drink can distract drivers more than cellphones.

“I think that it’s a safety issue,” he said.

“I hope people are thinking very carefully when they’re drinking their lattes and driving to work.”

But Mayor Derek Corrigan said the matter may be complicated because the city’s zoning bylaw permits drive-thrus.

“We can talk about it and bring it back to council,” Corrigan said.

The report will go to the city’s community development committee before it’s discussed by city council.

Last year, North Vancouver considered banning the proliferation of drive-thru businesses, but the ban failed to get councillors’ support.

The motion was designed to bolster the city’s anti-idling bylaw that prohibits vehicles from idling longer than three minutes, but it does not include drive-thru businesses.

North Vancouver has only one drive-thru.

Cities in Ontario and Nova Scotia have also looked at banning new drive-thrus but, so far, no Canadian city has passed a ban.

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.

CBC | Drive-thru moratorium debate brewing in N.B. cities

Drive-thru moratorium debate brewing in N.B. cities

Last Updated: Friday, January 9, 2009 | 7:43 AM ET Comments87Recommend56

CBC News

The idea of clamping down on drive-thrus that is filtering through a Newfoundland and Labrador city council is causing a full-bodied debate to percolate in New Brunswick.

The city council in St. John’s, N.L., has ordered a moratorium on new drive-thru applications. It’s concerned that long lineups at some coffee shops are causing traffic and safety hazards.

In New Brunswick, the idea of imposing a similar moratorium is getting mixed reactions.

David Kelly, a Fredericton city councillor, has long raised concerns about drive-thrus in the New Brunswick capital city.

In particular, he said he is concerned about the Tim Hortons location at King and Regent streets, which is one of the busiest intersections in Fredericton and just steps from the legislative assembly and the main building housing provincial bureaucrats.

He said he supports the motion of St. John’s council and would like to see other municipalities follow suit.

“Yes, I would like to see municipalities all across Atlantic Canada have something implemented and make sure that we’re all sort of on the same book here when it comes to dealing with drive-thrus,” he said.

“If they’re causing problems with [traffic] congestion … and safety and pedestrian [traffic], then they have to be dealt with and considered.”

More pressing matters

In Saint John, Paul Groody, the city’s commissioner of municipal operations, believes the city has other, more pressing matters to deal with first.

However, Groody said it probably won’t be long before Saint John council will have to make a decision about drive-thrus, too.

Until that time, coffee drinkers like Tanya James will continue to brave the long lineups in Saint John.

James goes through the Tim Hortons drive-thru on McAllister Drive in Saint John almost every day. She said it’s more convenient than getting out of her car, especially when the weather is bad.

But she understands the concerns of councillors in St. John’s about traffic snarls and safety.

“It is a concern because of traffic. If it was a different drive-thru than this one, sometimes you end up blocking people in traffic and it can cause accidents,” she said.

“I’ve definitely seen accidents or I’ve seen people be rear-ended at drive-thrus.”

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.

EDITORIAL | The road to hell is paved with good intentions – and drive-thrus | Grand Falls-Windsor


We are all at fault
The road to hell is paved with good intentions – and drive-thrus.

In St. John’s, the city council has placed a moratorium on new drive-thru applications.

In this case, the unfortunate business sparking the moratorium was – three guesses and the first two don’t count – was Tim Horton’s.

The city claims the lineups are resulting in a real bottleneck on Topsail Road, one of the main thoroughfares in the “City of Legends.”

Here in Grand Falls-Windsor, drivers can certainly relate. You’re heading down Cromer Avenue, maybe late for an appointment and held up by an 18-wheeler getting ready to pull into Canadian Tire or whatever with a load of hardware, Christmas merchandise or other seasonal stuff.

You wait for the big mama to turn off the main drag and breathe a sign of relief, because, gosh darn it, you’re late for work because of “da big twuck, Daddy!” But then there’s the lineup for the drive-thrus. Once again, you’re stuck in traffic, thanks to a traffic backlog, especially if you have the bad fortune of being stuck in the outside lane and find it difficult to switch lanes.

It’s a bit easier for us central Newfoundlanders to navigate through the drive-thru lineups, as we don’t have as much traffic and less chance of some disgruntled St. John’s driver rolling down the window and yelling out “Jeez, b’ys! Wadda ya at? Was da hang up, buddy?! Keep yer eyes on d’ road because if ya don’t I’ll get out of me car, rip yer eyes out and show ’em to ya before ya goes blind!”

Who’s responsible for the traffic drive-thru hang-ups? Is it Tim’s, McDonald’s, Subway, KFC, or any restaurant with a drive thru?

If you’re in some part of the U.S., you can get instant salvation with “drive-thru churches.” What does the customer say here? “I’ll have a ‘double-double’ sermon with a bit of Communion wine on the side.” What next – getting your Holy Wafer thru a Holy Automated Banking Machine? There’s also “drive thru funeral homes” in other parts of America, where you can drive by and see the dearly departed in a department-store-type window in the latest model of coffin.

One can get mad at Tim’s, Mickey D’s, or the Colonel, but they’re really not the ones to blame for drive-thru congestion. The culprits here, individually, are the people who (disabled and people with small kids in the back excepted) are just too lazy to get out of their vehicles. It’s ironic that in order to save time and energy, you sit in an idling car for more than 20 minutes just to get a caffeine fix.

Some businesses could do more than increase efficiency, admittedly – bigger parking lots for more people to leave their vehicles and go in to pick up their food. And when you think about it, if you go into a coffee shop or restaurant, it’s worth your time in more ways than one. We can take our cue from our European friends, and even from some of our fellow Newfoundlanders in enjoying the experience of sharing food and good conversation. Wait in the line up inside the building to order your food and drink, and enjoy chatting with or just listening to the people around you. Complain about your employer, catch up with old friends, relax and sip on your hot drinks if you don’t have to get back to work right away.

Slow down. The world will revolve without you. God Himself rested on the seventh day, and didn’t make man and woman just so they could build drive-in restaurants. Save the environment, get active and enjoy other people’s company.

Support the businesses, but forget about the drive-thrus.

Sue Hickey

Lining up – Grande Prairie may look at bylaw on drive-thru …

Lining up – Grande Prairie may look at bylaw on drive-thru operations to alleviate traffic issues with long lineups

PALOMA MIGONE – Herald-Tribune staff

Tim Hortons’ customers, on 100 Street and 103 Avenue, agree the long drive-thru lines spilling out on streets can be hazardous.

Long lines at a Tim Hortons’ drive-thru are ubiquitous in Grande Prairie, as hundreds of residents make daily stops for hot coffee.

The coffee company recently made headlines after St. John’s, N.L. opted to ban new drive-thru operations in the city unless businesses can prove that vehicles will not line up on streets.

The St. John’s decision came after safety concerns were raised due to traffic spilling out onto roads at a Tim Hortons location in that city.

As to whether Grande Prairie would adopt a similar bylaw, Mayor Dwight Logan said absolutely.

“What a good idea,” he said. “We are actually stuck with some situations that I regard as extremely dangerous, where you see people that are waiting in line for coffee and they’ve got their vehicle partially or totally out on an arterial roadway. No, that’s an excellent idea.”

The mayor said the city recognizes there is a problem and is working to change the standards of required stacking space for drive-thrus.

“We’re doing a general municipal plan and we are going to increase the stacking spaces for drive-thrus. We are talking about that and putting it in the draft (plan).”

Residents also identify the safety hazards at drive-thrus around the city.

Customer Nicole Mutschmann, who was at a Tim Hortons drive-thru on 100 Street and 103 Avenue, said she doesn’t find it safe.

“They should have drive-thrus, but if it’s interrupting the street they shouldn’t be allowed to park there.”

Jacqie Seper, also waiting at the drive-thru, said the Tim Hortons on 103 Avenue doesn’t get too bad because everyone stays tucked around the side of the road, but added the one on 100 Street near 117 Avenue is dreadful.

“Someone is going to get hurt there one day because the traffic is so terrible. People can’t see anything and they still keep going. I avoid that one,” she said.

The Tim Hortons location on 100 Avenue is the worst, said customer Deanna Mowat.

“People come out onto the bypass (100 Avenue) and you come up that hill and there is a lineup out there. That one is a problem for sure.”

Enforcement Services program manager Garry Roth said the city gives out tickets since vehicles are not allowed to hold up traffic.

“We’ve had complaints in the past of drive-thru lines that have gone out to the streets and we just enforce them as we would any other traffic law. When people are waiting on a line that does back up onto a street, they’re not allowed to obstruct traffic.”

Roth added customers sometimes block stop signs and parking zones as well.

“I think our office has worked with development services a little. I know there have been changes made to the land-use application, just to change the requirements for any new drive-thrus. For example, to increase the line on their own property, so that there would be less cars backing up onto the street,” said Roth.

Tim Hortons owner Serge Allard declined to comment for this story.

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

‘I think it’s important to get out of the car and go inside’

Cave Creek sticks to its guns on slower-paced lifestyle

By Linda Bentley | September 24, 2008

‘I think it’s important to get out of the car and go inside’
CAVE CREEK – Parkway Bank didn’t fare much better than the previous applicant during Thursday night’s planning commission meeting with its renewed request for a special use permit (SUP) to allow drive-through customer service.

Planning Director Ian Cordwell noted during his introduction, “The building was originally designed to have a drive-through facility as an integral part of the structure. Even though the use was denied, the structure was built as planned.”

On behalf of the applicant, Robin Lorenz brought some renderings to illustrate how “unobtrusive” the drive-through would be.

During public comment Anna Marsolo said she had the minutes from 2001, and stated, “The concerns then should be the same as now. The main concern was the precedent it would set for drive-throughs. Vice Mayor Mozilo said it was a life-style choice.”

Referring to the fact the SUP had been previously turned down, Charlie Spitzer said, “This reminds me of when my kids were little. They’d go ask mom if they didn’t like the answer they got from dad.”

Shea Stanfield said, “I was on the council that voted this down in 2001. Most of us were committed to no drive-throughs. We wanted a walking kind of town.”

Implying the bank was employing an “if we wait long enough faces change” strategy, Stanfield deadpanned, “If we wait long enough there won’t be any more banks,” and said, “I hope we can hold the line on this one.”

Herb Natker said, “I’d like to reiterate what the speakers said before me. It would set a precedent. We don’t need it … I hope you deny this.”

Kathryn Bosco, Parkway Bank’s branch manager, said, “There’s no one left waiting for faces to change.”

Citing Cave Creek was Parkway’s busiest branch with the largest number of transactions each month, Bosco stated more pollution is created by starting and stopping a vehicle than by idling for a few minutes.

Bosco stated her concerns were for Parkway’s customers, being able to provide them with this service, and said she has a petition people have signed in support of a drive-through.
Commissioner Steve LaMar moved to approve recommendation for the SUP, but only “for the sake of discussion,” and said, “As far as drive-throughs go, I don’t have a problem with the design or function. The problem I have is the same as in 2001. There are a lot of national corporations wanting to locate in Cave Creek that all want drive-throughs.

“It’s the difference between Cave Creek and other towns,” said LaMar, adding, “I wish we were more unique.”

Commissioner Bill Allen said, “I’ve banked at Parkway Bank since it opened. I think it’s important to get out of the car and go inside … The bank is an important contribution to the town, but I don’t support a drive-through.”

Commissioner Reg Monachino said, “If we grant this we’d have to grant it to others. We’d be no different than Bell Road.”

“I have mixed emotions,” said Chairman Ted Bryda. Even though the town has the right to turn down others on a case-by-case basis, he said, “We can still end up in litigation.”

The commission voted 1-4 against the SUP with Commissioner Dan Baxley voting in favor.
Cordwell announced there will be four major general plan amendments reviewed during the Oct. 16 planning commission meeting. The rezoning of approximately 11 square miles of state land within the proposed annexation area is scheduled to be heard on Nov. 6 and a nonconforming use case scheduled for Nov. 20.