Drive-through blues

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Double double is creating double trouble

An excursion around the bay has yielded quite a story for CBC Radio's On The Go.

Host Ted Blades (left) happened to be driving through Conception Bay South one morning when he noticed a lot of traffic at the Tim Horton's in Manuels; so much that cars were backed up into the street and blocking a lane of traffic.

The store is located in the busiest part of the commercial area in Conception Bay South, with four lanes of dense, sometimes fast-moving traffic and no turn lanes. The length of the drive-through lane is not adequate, which means cars overflow onto the street and block the right lane of eastbound traffic. Quite often, cars will block the outside lane of westbound traffic as well, as they wait their chance to get into the drive-through lane.

I have even observed occasions when three lanes were blocked at once, as cars were lining up to get onto the McDonald's parking lot directly across the street. Utter insanity!

Blades interviewed Dr. Fred Jardine at the Summerhill Medical Clinic, also located across the street from the Tim's franchise. The good doctor described a number of accidents that have already happened at that location because of this drive through, and voiced concerns that someone will get killed unless the drive-through is relocated or closed.

Blades also interviewed a CBS town councilor to see if they plan to do anything (they don't) as well as an RNC rep to see if any laws are being broken (they aren't the police consider this part of normal traffic flow). He also received an email from a spokesperson at Tim Horton's, which didn't say a heck of a lot either.

Blades' story resulted in a number of outraged and angry listener feedback calls, most complaining about the situation, wondering why it can't be fixed and pointing out other locations with similar issues (such as the Tim's in Kelligrews). Within a day or so, the story was picked up by Here & Now which, of course, resulted in more outraged viewer feedback calls.

No doubt, Ted Blades was watching with some satisfaction as his story grew legs and took off on a life of its own.

Of the many people that Blades interviewed, I was startled at how many wouldn't even admit there is a problem. It was as if they hadn't heard the interview with Dr. Jardine at all. Or perhaps business takes priority over safety. Either way, I find it passing strange that the CBS town council can't or won't address the situation.

My opinion? I think we need to ban drive through lanes at all restaurants and coffee shops, clear across the country. Shut them down. Padlock those little windows forever. We really don't need them. In addition to the safety implications, we know that drive-throughs are major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. I think the public is fully aware of this by now and is ready for such a measure.

I can see how drive-throughs would be a lifesaver for someone in a wheelchair, or parents with munchkins in child carriers, but the vast majority of users are 'car potatoes', too lazy to walk the length of themselves.

I say close them down.

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Recent comments

  • Frank
    July 27, 2010 - 14:53

    I agree with Geoff that drive-throughs should be banned, but that will happen only when enough people demand change and we all refuse to use them.

    I disagree that the public is fully aware of the impact that idling cars and other harmful practices have upon the environment. The media and academia must do a better job in explaining how global warming is relevant to the average Newfoundlander and Labradorian.

    The people of this province are understandably preoccupied with outmigration, equalization formulas and other important issues, but they don't understand that global warming presents a far greater threat to our survival. Sea levels could rise several metres by 2050 unless we significantly reduce our carbon emissions now. This could destroy many of our coastal communities. Rising ocean temperatures could kill any chance of the cod coming back, and the rapid rate of ocean temperature change could wreak havoc on our entire ocean ecosystem - if it hasn't already. We could go a long way toward reducing our emissions by doing simple things such as switching to energy efficient lightbulbs, lowering the temperature on our hot water tanks, switching off lights when we leave a room, powering down our computers when we're not using them, and staying away from drive-throughs.