Have you been to McDonald’s lately? Been to the drive through? Have you been baffled by the dual drive through design that McD’s seems to be employing to shuffle customers through as quickly as possible?
If you are like me, you have probably become confused by this design. With two ordering microphones, it doesn’t make sense that there should only be one window to dispense products to customers. What then, is the intended emotional connection by this design? Is it merely a placebo so that customers can feel as if they are getting served quicker? I wonder, does McDonald’s have a metric that tracks a decline in reduced drive-offs due to the new design? Are Big Mac sales on the rise?
As confusing as this concept is to me, it appears to have captured the imagination of some local developers because the same concept is up for a zoning variance request (hat-tip to the IBJ) attached to the forthcoming Pulliam Square development downtown at the site of the soon to be vacated Indianapolis Star headquarters. The variance is requesting a drive through for a potential drug store which will anchor the first phase of the redevelopment of the property. Code, as weak as it is, still prevents drive through windows in the mile square. Not only that, as if one drive through wasn’t enough, it appears that two are in the attached site plan and coupled with the parking garage access will result in 3 adjacent automobile ingress points to the property via Delaware Street.
Why is the potential tenant requesting this? Is it to tap into the thousands of people who will be commuting home on a daily basis from the central business district? One of the core benefits of building in the urban core is to maximize the land use for people (who spend money) and not in designing it for automobile oriented uses.
While the potential traffic mess that this could create is only one part of this mess that frustrates me (along with potentially upending the excellent pedestrian environment of Vermont Street), I think what really bothers me is that the potential tenant has little faith in the economics of increased human activity as a basis for funding this store and is still relying upon economics that prioritize automobile based utility.
Again, Indianapolis continues to lose at the expense of catering to our automobile addiction.