Drive-thrus promise hungry drivers ease, convenience and a juicy burger. But long lines of cars waiting for orders spill out into US roads in every state from chains like Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, Starbucks and Dunkin. And city officials, urban planners and critics say the model is failing modern cities.
Magnets of traffic and congestion, drive-thrus discourage walking, public transit use and visits to neighboring businesses. They also lead to accidents with pedestrians, cyclists and other cars, and contradict the environmental and livability goals of many communities.
A host of cities and regions want the sprawl to stop: Atlanta lawmakers will vote this summer on whether to ban new drive-thrus in the popular Beltline area. Minneapolis; Fair Haven, New Jersey; Creve Coeur, Missouri; Orchard Park, New York, and other cities have banned new drive-thrus in recent years.