Thursday, July 3, 2008

No more drive-throughs

It's time to put drive-throughs in the cross-hairs, starting with the BankAmerica and Sovereign Bank drive-through in Newton Centre. Drive-throughs serve no good purpose anywhere in Newton, but are particularly noxious in a village commercial center.

A drive-through attracts traffic to a commercial center, without adding any commercial benefit. A car driving-through the drive-through is, by definition, not stopping. It's driver is, therefore, not patronizing the other establishments in the area. And, by adding traffic to the area, it's diminishing the attractiveness of the area.

A drive-through requires additional curb cuts to get cars on and off the road to the teller machine. If you closed the Bank America curb cut on Beacon Street and the western of the two Sovereign Bank curb cuts, you could have at least two more parking spaces and you'd decrease the negative effect on pedestrian circulation. (I dare someone to say that there's not so much use of the drive-throughs that they interfere with pedestrians. If that's the case, there's no need for them in the first place!)

A drive-through requires additional impermeable surface. Without the drive through, there's no need for the driveway between the BankAmerica teller machine and Beacon Street or the driveway on the west side and around the back of Sovereign Bank. Tear them both up. Put in grass, a walkway between Beacon Street and Union Street, a couple of tables or picnic benches that can be used by customers of Pie and other restaurant, public art. Anything's better than more asphalt.

A drive-through promotes idling and emissions. 'Nough said.

In this day and age of banks and bank machines at every corner of our fair city, there is no need for the incremental convenience offered by a drive-through.

Drive-throughs are a creature of public policy. It's up to the city to allow curb cuts or not. A good question to ask is why banks deserve special policy consideration in our village centers. It's not like the evidence suggests that we need special policy considerations to attract them.


Anonymous said...

Too bad you can't see beyond your own selfishness to note that both the handicapped and the elderly use drivethru ATMs because they are both convenient AND a lot easier to manage, especially when there is snow and ice on the ground. Not only do they serve a function, they serve that function for a portion of Newton's population that you don't even consider, not for a second. Shame on you.

Adam said...

The real shame of it is, of the dozen or so banks in Newton Center, only two have drive-thrus. What about equal access for all of those too lazy or too afraid to get out of their cars? Sean, where's the compassion? And why stop at banks? Think of how a drive through Dunkin Donuts could really encourage people to stay safely in their cars.

Anonymous said...

I work with Special Needs adults. The drivethrough enables them to do their own banking which is just another small way we try to give them a "normal" life. Grow some more grass in your own yard and leave well enough alone. Someone is always bitching about some little thing in this country. Go find a big thing and work on it if you have so much time to get out of your car and spend ten minutes for a $2 cup of coffee.

Anonymous said...

Good for you. I hope you treat your clients with more respect than you treat strangers.

Actually, the donut reference was an allusion to the sedentary lifestyle among the able-bodied and the toll it is taking on individuals and the country as a whole. Sorry you missed it. That's not a significant problem at all, is it?