Tuesday, August 9, 2005

High Point Road is Killing People

And so is Battleground Avenue, and Summit Avenue, and any other road having a high density of fast-food joints with drive-thru windows, and a crummy pedestrian environment.

In an article in this morning's News & Record on N. C. Women's health, Greensboro cardiac physician Dr. Thomas Wall says,

. . . fast food and the convenient lifestyle [are] killing more people than tobacco ever killed in this country. (Read all of Elyse Ashburn's N&R article.)
When Dr. Wall says "the convenient lifestyle," I'm guessing he means the "drive everywhere" lifestyle.

So places like Battleground Avenue and High Point Road, where you can choose to drive through, pick up, and eat in your car a dozen Krispy Kreme fat-bombs, or a bag full of ham and gravy aorta blockers at Biscuitville, or . . . well, take your pick, 'cause it's all there, but where you risk your life by trying to walk -- then places like this turn out to be a double whammy of fat-assed death.

Here's a radical suggestion: Push to rewrite zoning laws so as not to allow drive-through restaurants anywhere in town. They're bad for traffic congestion, bad for the pedestrian environment, bad for neighborhoods, bad for people's health.

Lots of zoning areas already don't allow drive-throughs, so the principle is already established in law.

Such zoning infringes nobody's right to cook, sell, or eat whatever food they want. It just means that people might have to walk a little bit to get to it.

5 comments:

Jeff Martin said...

Aye, banishing drive-thrus will come after the demise of the SUV and the cell phone - not anytime soon.

Sandy Carmany said...

Interesting concept, but then, I suppose all EXISTING ones would have to be grandfathered so... [smile]

Seriously,with this reasoning, would you also ban drive-throughs at banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.?

David Wharton said...

You can probably tell I'm intentionally being a little provocative.

But in general I'm inclined to think that drive-thru services have a negative impact on community life. I seldom use them myself, even when they're available. I prefer to walk in and meet the people in the business.

Here's a start -- let neighborhoods choose a zoning option that prohibits drive throughs (if they wish), and in established neighborhoods that choose to prohibit them, let the drive-thru zoning stick only with the current drive-thru business.

Russ said...

Most of the time it is faster to go inside--the line for the drive thru is almost always longer by a good margin. Especially at the bank. Most people would rather stay in the AC of the car, listening to the radio or whatever. I don't get me started on people that leave the car running when they aren't in it...

David Wharton said...

...like the cops at Krispy Kreme?

JUST KIDDING, officers! No, really!