Sooner or later, cities will ban drive thrus. Hamilton can choose to lead or lag in this initiative.
By Trey Shaughnessy
Published November 27, 2007
The day will come when drive thrus are banned. At one time, no one would have guessed smoking would be banned in public places either.
The Council of Canadians - London Chapter recently petitioned their City Council to consider banning or initiating a moratorium on drive thrus in their city.
At a public meeting on November 12, 2007, Cory Morningstar of London presented the environmental and health hazards of a convenience that is not worth the cost to the environment and our cities' health.
The City of London decided to delay any recommendations for five months after hearing from concerned citizens against drive thrus and from pro-drive thru stakeholders such as Tim Hortons.
Tim Hortons corporate representatives presented 'facts' that showed drive thrus cause less automobile emissions than parking and walking into the restaurant. Tim Hortons also tried to show that it was an 'environmentally concerned' corporation.
I suggest they start by using disposable coffee cups that can be recycled and perhaps looking into fair trade coffee bean distributors. Until then, I find it difficult to believe Tim Horton's cares about anything other than profit.
Toronto and London passed idling bylaws 11 and nine years, respectively, before Hamilton. Today, Hamilton can choose to lead or lag. If our record with idling and pesticides are any indication, we'll be banning drive thrus in about 15 years.
Hamilton's leaders seem to be stuck in the past and out of touch with the future. If they are so concerned about fixing Hamilton's image, why don't they position Hamilton at the forefront of environmental, quality-of-life issues with simple solutions? Issues such as idling, drive thrus, population density, and mixed-use zoning are easy places to start re-branding Hamilton.
I have been reading and hearing comments about how the RHVP was saving people eight, 15, and 20 minutes off their commutes. If I can make a couple of suggestions to save people 20 minutes from their commutes, how about making your own coffee at home?
People can program their coffee makers the night before, wake up with a fresh pot of home-brewed coffee and skip the Tim Hortons drive thru.
Another suggestion is to live closer to your work. I would like to live on Peelee Island too, but I would not hold the government and environment responsible for a highway that would conveniently take me to my place of employment.
I would also comment that when the DVP opened in east Toronto over 40 years ago, similar comments were made. Eventually the DVP became known as the Don Valley Parking Lot.
Building more roads has never been the solution to traffic congestion. If it was, then Los Angeles would be not be known for its massive traffic-jams.
So commuters: enjoy your minor time-saving while it lasts.
The following are some comments from the petition:
Because I am blessed with the ability to actually WALK, why would I ever use these atrocities? (Elaine Hughes, Canada)
drive thrus are not a right, they are a convenience that have become a blight on our society. I regularly see lines of 20 cars or more idling at Tim Horton's in the morning. I am able to park, walk-in get my coffee and be on my way in the time the line has moved one or two cars. In a society where the majority of people are overweight, this is no brainer - win/win, save the environment while burning off a little fat. On another note, I worked in fast food for many years and HATED being in the drive thru. Customers were invariably more rude and hostile. Getting rid of drive thrus might also bring back a little civility to our interactions with each other. (Shawn Lewis, Canada)
There will come a day why people will not believe that we ever permitted drive thru's in the first place. Lets get the moratorium now. (Kevin Lomack, Canada)
They are ridiculous. How lazy do we have to get! Let's get real and stop the pollution, the congestion and the lard-butts. (Joe Wilson, Canada)
I thought there was an idling bylaw! (Carol Lewis, Canada)
For the sake our planet people have to get off their backsides and walk from their car to their donut shop. The planet is at risk we need a fundamental shift in societal thinking now. Ban drive-throughs or save the planet. The really is no choice. Please sign this petition now! (Jim Mahon, Canada)
I am continually shocked and infuriated daily as I notice more and more cars lined up at Tim Hortons drive thrus. It is mind-blowing to me that given the crisis we are in environmentally, and with awareness for it at an all time high, people continue to feel they have a right to sit there, one person per vehicle, lined up 20 SUV's deep, blocking traffic and polluting our air. What is going on? Most of the time it is quicker to park, get out and walk in to the store, grab your coffee and go. Where is the government? There is already idling by-laws in place that are being ignored. Who is in bed with Tim Horton's I wonder? Come on Canada, we can do better than this. (Susan Meehan, Canada)
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