Citing human health, climate change and neighbor concerns, the City council took aim at the uniquely American creation known as the fast-food drive-through on Tuesday, expressing interest in preventing any more from being built on El Camino Real.
All but two council members -- Tom Means and John Inks -- expressed interest in studying a moratorium on El Camino Real drive-through windows during a study session.
Such a moratorium could kill a new Chik-Fil-A proposed for 1962 W. El Camino Real, the site of a Sizzler. Without a drive-through, Chik-Fil-A may choose to find another location, as KFC did in 2008 when a drive-though was rejected for a proposed location at 1616 El Camino Real over concerns about exposing neighboring homes to exhaust fumes. A proposed drive-through car wash at the Shell gas station at 1288 El Camino Real could also be affected.
Council member Jac Siegel said that with all of the concern about climate change, the idea of cars idling in line and getting zero miles per gallon was questionable.
"I can't believe that the greenhouse gas police haven't been after that very seriously," Siegel said.
Fortunately for Walgreens, construction on its new location with drive-up window is nearly finished at 1905 El Camino Real. It will be the 12th drive-through on Mountain View's portion of El Camino Real, adding to the fast-food restaurants, oil change shops, a photo developer and a bank.
Explaining her support for studying a moratorium, council member Laura Macias cited the ongoing "Grand Boulevard Initiative" to make El Camino Real more people-friendly. "Continuing to add drive-throughs doesn't help what we're trying to do with the Grand Boulevard initiative," she said.
Inks said it seemed unnecessary to ban them entirely, saying that the case-by-case approval process used in the past was good enough. Means agreed, adding that pharmacy drive-throughs made sense.
"If you're sick and you need prescription drugs, it's convenient to not get out of your car," Means said.
Council member Ronit Bryant disagreed about the necessity of a drive-through pharmacy, even for seniors.
"Seniors eventually need to get out of cars," Bryant said. "We're not all going to drive for the rest of our lives."