Drive-Thru

Mississauga Considers Drive-Thru Restrictions

By Ryan McGreal
Published January 17, 2008

In Hamilton, we love our drive-thrus. We ignore neighbourhood development plans to shoehorn them in and, in true ostrich fashion, we refuse even to study what might be involved in banning or restricting their use.

Vehicles idle at a drive-thru (RTH File Photo)
Vehicles idle at a drive-thru (RTH File Photo)

Once again, we're on the wrong side of history. While Hamilton sits on its hands, Mississauga City Council is following Toronto's lead and sending a proposal to restrict the spread of drive-thrus to its environment committee to review.

Granted, the proposal is pretty watery: more a set of site-by-site design guidelines than an actual by-law. At the same time, Mississauga has yet to pass an anti-idling by-law, though the environment committee is also pushing for it.

Still, when even car-crazy Mississauga is talking about limiting drive-thrus, it's all the more bizarre that such talk is strictly off the table in a city that likes to congratulate itself for being more environmentally progressive.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By peter (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2008 at 11:06:37

i've never heard anyone in this city refer to us as 'environmentally progressive' but i'll take your word for it.

while we've always had a decent number of granolas here, it's never been reflected in our city council, save for mchattie.

we're a shame and mississauga's unknowingly rubbing our noses it in.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2008 at 13:50:38

Our environmental problems must really be small if banning drive thrus is of such importance to you folks.

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By brodiec (registered) | Posted January 18, 2008 at 14:10:23

I think there is huge opportunity to be innovative here. How about bringing back the drive-up, develop good quality self-serve coffee and other innovative systems that provide people convenience while still addressing the environment?

A lot of this issue seems squarely targeted at Tim Hortons, as it should be, because they are in this dubious position of being locally successful in a difficult industry with lots of foreign competition. But on their current position of "we're just providing what customers want" is stodgy and does not bode well for the future. For instance McDonald's is providing leather couches, WiFi and soon decent quality espresso drinks! No joke, I've had them before in France and they are surprisingly good for the money. With changing tastes, lifestyles and upcomming environmental legislation at the municipal level I really hope we can look at Tim Hortons as our Boys to lead the way rather than holding out on the status-quo. Not just as far as drive-thrus but in an overall sense.

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By Jon (registered) - website | Posted January 18, 2008 at 14:21:31

You'll be pleased to know that they're also on course for getting LRT on Hurontario street. The first Metrolinx report reccommends LRT for them, BRT for us. Hamilton needs to try harder to aspire to the standard of excellence that Mississauga is setting.

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By Hammerator (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2008 at 15:06:53

"Hamilton needs to try harder to aspire to the standard of excellence that Mississauga is setting."

Ouch!

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 18, 2008 at 17:07:44

they have been recommeded for LRT and us for BRT because that's what both cities are asking for. We still have no plan other than snazzy bus stops and articulated buses. Other cities are willing to adjust their transportation infrastructure in order to give transit a higher priority. Hamilton's Transportation Master Plan says that there is no room for LRT on Main St because there's "not enough room". Yea, we'd hate to slow down all those transports to less than 70km an hour, or better yet, act like a real city and ban them from cutting through our downtown altogether.

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By peter (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2008 at 20:15:20

'not enough room' on main st. that says it all about our town. THERE COULDN'T BE MORE ROOM FOR LRT!!!!

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By BE (anonymous) | Posted January 22, 2008 at 11:18:42

Agreed!

Even at rush hour only 3 or the 5 lanes are used. The outside lanes are used mostly for turning and buses already, few people actualy drive in them.

On a few occations I've gone through downtown at 5pm without even slowing below 50km/hr. Maybe a dozen times a year some tour buses or transports block the lanes around hamilton place which makes it a 3 lane street one way and still I get through that stretch faster than in any other city I've visited.

If Main St. were to lose 2 lanes tomorrow, I don't think this city would even blink.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 22, 2008 at 13:13:58

you're right BE. I've long said that Hamilton might be the only city on the planet where rush hour is literally rush hour! We've expanded our road capacity to allow for non-stop 50-60km driving during the busiest time of the day. The rest of the day/night/weekend it is BRUTAL on these streets. I live near one and it's non-stop racing, speeding and dangerous driving due to the absolute lack of cars.

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By Leisha (anonymous) | Posted January 25, 2008 at 19:06:07

How ironic that a city without a soul is making decisions as if it has one. I wish our city that has a soul would act in a similar fashion.

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