http://mv-voice.com/print/story/print/2012/02/17/the-end-of-the-drive-thru-on-el-camino


Mountain View Voice

News - February 17, 2012

The end of the drive-thru on El Camino?

by Daniel DeBolt

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."

Email Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

Comments

Posted by LAHmom, a resident of another community
on Feb 17, 2012 at 6:54 am

What about the pollution caused by wood burning, which serves no purpose whatsoever? 1/3 of all winter air pollution is caused by in-home wood burning. Wood smoke contains carbon monoxide, nitrous dioxide, numerous carcinogens, and submicroscopic particulates. These particulates lodge deep in the lung tissue and cannot be removed. Adults with cardiac risk factors are particularly vulnerable and have an increased risk of heart attack and stroke during times of high air pollution. Children with asthma are also highly affected by wood smoke. Please put a stop to this, MV City Council, before worrying about a couple of low-emission vehicles sitting at the In N Out! That's a nice idea too, but let's get our priorities straight.


Posted by Kevin, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Feb 17, 2012 at 7:18 am

Let's just shut off El Camino from all car traffic period. Could we also get rid of Caltrain and those polluting diesel engines. We should also consider banning air traffic from Mountain View city limits. I'd also like to make people stop passing gas (farting) in public. Have I missed anything?


Posted by MV Mama, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 18, 2012 at 8:59 pm

I swear to Buddha, I will not vote for any council member who prevents the amazing Chik-Fil-A from opening on El Camino.


Posted by Melanie, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 19, 2012 at 10:13 am

GOOD!!! It's about time someone pays attention the traffic these businesses cause to an already clogged El Camino. The drive thru at In & Out at Grant creates a mess-- the only exit is the tiny driveway that leads to an already disaster of an intersection.


Posted by sparty, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Feb 21, 2012 at 11:14 am

I sure can't wait to walk by the paint store, the empty lot, the dirty fence and all the cigarette butts.

how about fixing up Castro instead of the mini freeway? where is there to walk TO on El Camino?

This would be like San Francisco trying to fix up 19th Ave as a Grand Boulevard Initiative

How about this... Get rid of the NOISY NOISY buses that roam El Camino. You will never make it more friendly for pedestrians with the screeching and roar of those buses. Why do you think fussy obnoxious rich people have truck banned in their neighborhoods?
THE NOISE

Love to see a nice sidewalk cafe on El Camino ...a nice table for two.... intimate conversation. "honey, I've given this a lot of thought...and I can't see anyone in my life but you...will you RRRRRRROOOOARRRRRR"

Hang out on El Camino for a while Macias.... Its like being at a loading dock. Actually the loading dock is probably quieter.


Posted by sparty, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Feb 21, 2012 at 11:14 am

I sure can't wait to walk by the paint store, the empty lot, the dirty fence and all the cigarette butts.

how about fixing up Castro instead of the mini freeway? where is there to walk TO on El Camino?

This would be like San Francisco trying to fix up 19th Ave as a Grand Boulevard Initiative

How about this... Get rid of the NOISY NOISY buses that roam El Camino. You will never make it more friendly for pedestrians with the screeching and roar of those buses. Why do you think fussy obnoxious rich people have truck banned in their neighborhoods?
THE NOISE

Love to see a nice sidewalk cafe on El Camino ...a nice table for two.... intimate conversation. "honey, I've given this a lot of thought...and I can't see anyone in my life but you...will you RRRRRRROOOOARRRRRR"

Hang out on El Camino for a while Macias.... Its like being at a loading dock. Actually the loading dock is probably quieter.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2012 at 1:10 pm

El Camino is a nightmare, with chain stores, strip malls, drive thurs, gas stations, auto shops, etc I support the Grand Blvd idea but kinda of hard to keep out places to wait and see if the plan takes off. It would be nice to have a nice BRT system, it will be nice to have great buildings but then again we need drug stores, gas stations, tire shops, paint stores and the dreaded drive thur.


Posted by deb, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 21, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Dear City Council: Please don't try to control our health through zoning on a store-by-store (or type-by-type) basis. Influence health through zoning by prioritizing walking & biking over cars generally, and not just on El Camino.

Plan for the big picture, rather than just micromanaging.


Posted by bkengland, a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 21, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Infrastructure changes that move us away from being so car-focused are generally going to happen in incremental steps. And we'll need both political and public will and support to get us there. If we don't take those steps, nothing will change, and most of us will continue to use cars much more than we need to and be subjected to the collective noise, exhaust, and imposed hazards. We have eleven drive throughs in Mountain View already, and we certainly don't need any more. Thank goodness we have a city council that can be forward thinking and be willing to do more than just rubber stamp the status quo.


Posted by George, a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 21, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Thanks Nanny Council.... for protecting me from all evils that the Congress hasn't gotten around to. Thanks for shutting down businesses, thanks for telling me where and how to "shop".

Can't wait for the next election.

A real thanks to Inks and Means for trying to maintain the American Way.


Posted by mr_b, a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 21, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Parents like the convenience of drive-throughs too. Fiddling with car seats in the rain is no fun. Many people also feel safer at night using drive-throughs versus parking lots.

If one doesn't want to be near vehicle exhaust, why choose to live within a block from State Route 82/ECR in the first place?

What about those people who live near the exhaust-pit of an intersection at Rengstorff and Central Expressway? Why are they less valuable than the ECR residents? Too far from the "boulevard?"

Aircraft put out quite a bit of exhaust (and noise), why not ban all private flights from Moffett if we're so worried about air quality?

And what about the creation of housing that will be surrounded by constant traffic at the San Antonio Shopping Center development? What do those residents have to look forward to?

The idea of limiting the diversity of businesses on major thoroughfares is dangerous long term. It erodes Mountain View's character. Shallow Alto and the 'village' of Los Altos are already dealing with problems from their attempts to selectively gentrify their retail business zones. Mountain View's so much better than them - why follow their lead?


Posted by MV Mama, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I should add, the Austin's site has been vacant forever. We lived near there 10+ years ago and it had closed already. The City Council should be thrilled that a business that collects taxes want to move in. And be thrilled that it isn't a gun shop, a porn shop, a "massage" parlor, a tattoo parlor or a smoke shop (all already located nearby).


Posted by Vote the Nannys out, a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Where do they come up with these outrageous ideas? Vote the Nannys off the councils.


Posted by tommy_g, a resident of Willowgate
on Feb 21, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Inks and means....thank you....all the others.....wont get my vote....

Does anyone know if the Adult Bookstore in Mtn View will have a drive thu??


Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm

This absurd proposal is yet another in a seemingly endless parade of job killing ideas promulgated by our supposed wise elders in public office. The Mountain View city council should have no role whatsoever in whether a business can transact with its customers through a window.


Posted by Jim Neal, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 21, 2012 at 8:45 pm

You see!!!? I warned you all! First it was smokers, now it's drive-throughs! What's next; banning plastic baby bottles because you can't recycle them? This is getting ridiculous! Now I see why city Council is located on CASTRO ST.... Fidel would be proud of his prodigies! We need to vote out all the busybodies on the council so that they can get back to running their own lives instead of trying to tell everyone else how to run theirs!


Posted by Silly, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 21, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Mr. B makes good points about some of the good reasons people use drive-ins...safety, small kids. Further, some of the parking lots (eg In'N Out) wouldn't be big enough if there were no drive-thru...and all of the cars shuttling and circling for parking spots would be a mess...perhaps no less exhaust in the end.


Posted by Old Ben, a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 22, 2012 at 6:01 am

I can't wait to see the attempts at enforcing smoking restrictions at Shoreline.


Posted by Old Ben, a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 22, 2012 at 6:23 am

Here's the elephant in the living room that City Council is desperately trying to ignore:

Web Link

MVPD salaries and pensions are substantially greater than SPD's. Mountain View's pension deals are completely unsustainable. But Council will keep focusing on cigarette smokers and drive-through businesses, anything at all to avoid tackling the real issues.


Posted by Alan Eft, a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2012 at 10:50 am

I agree with MV Mama. I'm against anything that might prevent a Chik-Fil-A from coming.


Posted by good neighbor, a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 22, 2012 at 4:15 pm

"Council member Ronit Bryant disagreed about the necessity of a drive-through pharmacy, even for seniors."

Bet she never had to pick up a prescription from the pharmacy on the way home from the pediatrician with a couple of sick kids in the car.