Editorial: The price paid for drive-through windows
Kudos to the Scotia Village Board for rejecting a proposal for a drive-though window at the Mohawk Avenue Dunkin’ Donuts shop.
Americans have fallen so in love with their cars that they never want to get out of them. Either that or they’re too lazy. In any event, more than half of the sales at fast-food restaurants these days are generated at drive-though windows. Which is why the owner of Scotia’s Dunkin’ Donuts shop wanted to add one at his restaurant — to boost weak sales. But Scotia trustees said no recently, overruling a recommendation by the village Planning Board to grant a special-use permit.
A drive-through window is inadvisable at this location for safety reasons: The lot isn’t big enough to accommodate a queue of more than five cars; even a line that long would present access problems to the building for emergency vehicles, and if it were any longer, it might spill onto Mohawk Avenue, obstructing traffic there.
A drive-through window is also inappropriate for an urban downtown. Scotia officials have made a concerted effort to keep the village from looking like every other suburb around; for example, they rejected a suburban design for a Rite Aid drugstore a few years ago. They were right not to bow to pressure from a doughnut shop to bend their perfectly valid rule prohibiting drive-through windows.
Drive-through windows are bad, in general, for a host of reasons: They discourage people from getting exercise. (If you’re going to eat a doughnut, at least walk a little first.) They also encourage the wasting of gas, which has air-quality as well as geopolitical considerations. And they’re noisy.
Convenient? Maybe, but not worth the price.