October 15, 2005

Drive-Through? Not Downtown

The Lincolnwood, Ill. Plan Commission has wisely recommended against drive-through windows in its downtown business district, even via special permit. Such facilities have a negative impact on creating a pedestrian-friendly streetscape, officials concluded - and not only because they encourage people to stay in their vehicles.

"The facilities require additional curb cuts for driveways that cross sidewalks to provide access to the site," Village Planner James Cox told the Lincolnwood Review. "This not only creates additional vehicle conflict points with pedestrians, but it also breaks holes in the continuous building facade of the downtown street, creating open gaps and a streetscape which is less appealing to pedestrians."

Ah, lucky Lincolnwood, to have planners who understand the importance of aesthetics in creating a walker-friendly streetscape. There's a lot more to it than simply assuring the presence of well-maintained sidewalks.

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