Monday, March 12, 2007

Drive Throughs Need Restrictions

Orillia Saturday March 10 3:00 p.m. -

It is busy inside Tim Horton’s on Orillia’s Colborne Street.

Busier, though, at the drive through. The cars (many SUVs and 4x4’s), most guided by a single occupant encircle the store like ants around a picnic basket.

Can’t the municipality do something about this? Wouldn’t happen in my town. We care about the environment and we’ve got an anti-idling by-law. Right?

Burlington Sunday March 11 - noon -

On Assignment

whenthemayorsmiles dispatches Hunter R. Wilson, crack gonzo journalist, to a typical Tim Horton’s in order to perform the requisite 15 minutes research that befits the high standards set by this blog.

Hunter R. is in his element, undercover in a New Street phone booth. Don’t want these "drive throughers," if there are any in beautiful Burlington, to get wise to this research.

Hunter’s fifteen minute stake out yields the following:

-A continuous line - always at least five cars idling - nine in line on Hunter’s arrival and seven when he leaves.

-One car waits, engine running, for five minutes and five seconds.

-The average wait is four minutes and five seconds.


*Natural Resources Canada argues that stopping unnecessary vehicle idling is an important way of improving air quality and thus the health of communities (1998).

*Five minutes idling produces 271 grams (more than half a pound) of greenhouse gases.

*If every driver in Canada avoided idling for five minutes per day we would prevent the creation of 1.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

It is against the law to idle in Burlington for more than three minutes. The by-law also includes a commitment to public education so we can all learn about the negative impacts of idling.

This by-law does nothing to discourage the kind of idling that drive throughs produce. Good planning can.

Hamilton, hardly an environmental leader, is looking at this. Shouldn’t we?
The upcoming Future Focus strategic planning discussions offer an opportunity.

Our city can do something.

It must.