Thursday, May 31, 2012

Driving May Be Down, But Drive-Thrus Are Booming and So Is Parking

According to the LA Times America's drive-thrus logged 12.4 billion trips last year, which is a 2% increase over previous years. So whatever the reason that US drivers are traveling fewer miles in their cars it seems that we can assume they aren't foregoing their fast food rips. (And remember that it is the middle class that uses fast food restaurants more than anyone else.) It boggles my mind that even though 70% of fast food sales are from the drive-thrus there are still minimum parking requirements of about one space per 200-300 square feet of restaurant space. Yet here (found with a very quick Google search) is a Michigan McDonald's with a drive-thru that seeks to build 45 spaces when 27 are required. Sheesh. Whatever you think of the health effects from fast food, the land use and transportation implications are extremely challenging for urbanism.