Drive-Thrus: Convenience With a Side of Pollution

Arlington focuses on drive-through windows to fight pollution

Seeking to improve air quality, an Arlington citizens' group will study ways to reduce emissions from cars idling in drive-through restaurants.

"We're just trying to put our heads together and see if there's any way we can improve the situation," City Councilwoman Sheri Capehart said Wednesday.  "And there may not be."

She chairs a City Council committee that asked a citizens’ environmental group to study the issue.

"This is an idea," she said. “Let’s look at it."

Capehart said she does not favor banning drive-throughs, but wants to find a way to reduce the long lines of idling cars that contribute to pollution.

She said she had no specific ideas herself, but suggested technology similar to highway signs that warn drivers about congestion could be used.

But many drive-through managers and customers gave the idea a chilly reception.

"Drive-throughs are meant to convenience the customers, not inconvenience them," said Sandrel Carter, assistant manager at Catfish Floyds on the corner of Collins Street and Arkansas Road.

The fish restaurant does all of its business in its drive-through window.

"Pollution is a problem," said customer Diamond Gibson after ordering a three-piece fillet from his car. "But you know, everybody likes convenience."

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