There will be no more new drive-thru restaurants at the birthplace of drive-thrus — at least for the next nine months. The city of Baldwin Park, Calif. — a town with 83,000 residents just northeast of Los Angeles — has basically decided that if residents want to gobble down a Double Double with fries and a large drink, they should at least get out of the SUV and walk a few steps before clogging their arteries.
Baldwin Park got its first drive-thru — an In-N-Out restaurant — back in 1948. Now the city has 17 drive-thrus — as well as a congestion and obesity problem, much like most other U.S. cities. Thus, the city is discouraging eating-while-driving. Reports the Christian Science Monitor, “Local officials say they wanted to tackle not just the traffic snarls inherent in an “in-car” dining culture, but be part of the national campaign to stem obesity.”
Forcing residents to park and walk 10 extra steps to wolf down a Big Mac Meal won’t alone curb Baldwin Park’s congestion and obesity problems, but in my opinion, the move is at least 10 small steps in the right direction. As Victoria Broadus points out in The City Fix, “Reducing car dependence — and Americans’ proclivity to do everything from bank transactions to pharmaceutical pick-ups without getting out of the car — is essential to fighting obesity in the United States.”
Of course, I do wonder how cyclists who’ve fought for the right to order at drive-thrus will take this news….