Carrborro may extend ban on drive-throughs
Posted April 1, 2014
Carrboro, N.C. — Elected leaders in Carrboro are considering a ban on the construction of new drive-through windows, saying it will make the community a better place to live.
“(We’re) trying to think about Carrboro in the next several decades. What is the vision we have for our community?” Alderman Damon Seils said Tuesday.
For Seils, that vision is one of a more pedestrian-friendly town where residents are less dependent on their cars.
Carrboro banned drive-through windows in its downtown area 15 years ago. If approved, the existing law would be amended to prohibit new drive-through windows from being built on restaurants, banks and possibly pharmacies through the entire town.
“The vitality of our downtown has been enhanced by things like not allowing more drive-throughs,” Seils said. “I would like to see that vitality spread throughout the community.”
The Board of Aldermen agreed last month to discuss the changes, which would not affect the town’s seven existing drive-throughs. An ordinance has not yet been drafted.
Not everyone is sold on the idea.
Resident Kassey Klause said rather than encouraging people to walk, the ban could lead to more driving.
“That would make us drive even farther up to Durham if we want Taco Bell,” she said.
Daniel Rodriguez is a professor of urban planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He said what the aldermen are trying to do may come across as self-righteous, but it’s a good idea.
“It’s OK to inconvenience ourselves a little to make the environment a little more walkable,” he said.
Seils said he is concerned about the possibility of banning drive-through windows at pharmacies because that would affect the elderly or those with limited mobility.
“That’s something we need to take seriously,” he said.
Seils said he’s heard from people on both sides of the proposed ban, and aldermen would like to get more feedback before making a decision.
“There’s no doubt that drive-throughs offer a certain kind of convenience, and that is a value to many people,” he said. “But we need to be discussing what other values are at stake here as well.”