Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Minneapolis To Ban Drive-Throughs?

                 Incredibly, or would that it were, there is a proposal before the Minneapolis City Council that could lead to a ban on drive-throughs, those staples of fast food restaurants and coffee retailers, etc., that allow for much faster service for customers both inside and out. The push to update drive-through regulations, or outright ban them going forward, originated with the “Pedestrian Advisory Committee.” They claim that the more curb cuts or drive-throughs along a street, the greater the risk of pedestrians getting hit by cars. If that is what they were concerned about, they would be pushing to ban light rail, as Twin Cities pedestrians are getting wacked by trains at an alarming rate.
                An “Editorial Counterpoint” in a recent StarTribune newspaper overflowed with arrogant infantilism while lauding the proposal. Its author is president of the East Isles Residents Association, East Isles being an upscale neighborhood in the city proper. He argues that we live in a “built environment that prioritizes driving.” The horror.
                He continues on: “The truth is that the car-dependent society that we live in today is the result of decades of societal engineering. It is a result of decades of public policy that encouraged driving while discouraging walking.” No, you guys do the societal engineering thing. The rest of us didn’t want to walk to Aunt Edna’s in Cleveland. Or to Mount Rushmore. Or to work and back. In Minnesota, in January.
                He revs up his indignation: “When we design roads with the simple purpose of getting cars from point A to point B, we encourage driving. When we provide excess supply of free parking, we encourage driving. When we liberally allow for the installation of drive-throughs, we encourage driving. As a society, we either prioritize driving, or we prioritize walking and other alternative modes of transportation… In Minneapolis, our values are shifting toward the latter, and it is something that anyone who enjoys city living should be excited about.” Guess you told us. We’d move to the suburbs if we could ever get “public policy” to add a lane or two to the freeways. And I can tell you’ve never attempted to find a parking space downtown, let alone a free one! As for designing roads to get “cars from point A to point B,” what kind of nut job would do that? If there are to be any roads at all, they should obviously be in the form of a constant series of linked round-a-bouts. That way our trips could be as round-a-bout and circular as your thinking.
                In his missive, he actually sniffs, “To say that it is the pedestrian’s responsibility to look both ways when approaching a drive-through in response to these safety concerns is irresponsible.”
                He has to be a gag writer…and a damned good one! It is irresponsible to say that a pedestrian is responsible for looking both ways before he crosses a drive-through??! What is the first thing every parent tells their child before they allow them out of the house? “Look both ways before you cross the street.”
                The automobile has been one of the biggest factors in this country’s rise to economic powerhouse. It has literally paved the way to new lands, discoveries and adventures for countless millions. In doing so it has opened the minds of many. This is not about pedestrian safety. That’s not even a “pedestrian” argument. We are all pedestrians when we aren’t driving.

                This is about “alternative modes” of living and the absolute conviction that you are superior to the majority. And a disdain of others and their freedoms.

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