I've heard some rumblings that a new drive-through restaurant proposal for Downtown Milwaukee could be announced soon.┬á
Yet, there's a bit of unwritten rule about┬ádrive-through in Downtown areas.┬á Most city planners don't like them, and here in Milwaukee ÔÇô well ÔÇô you can't find one.┬á
Several years ago, the Dunkin' Donuts on West Wisconsin Avenue wanted to build a┬ádrive-through in concert with a renovated restaurant. It didn't get the necessary support and approval, and ended up moving a block away into a smaller space at 622 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Many have told me that the reason for the lack of a new and improved Walgreen's Downtown has its roots in the fact that the company doesn't have a┬ádrive-through at its Grand Avenue location and that people tend to get┬áprescriptions filled close to home rather than close to their work. Yet, with more than 20,000 people now living in and around Downtown, this argument doesn't hold a lot of water.┬á
Yes, there are a banks in Downtown that have┬ádrive-through tellers and lanes. They work very well. But, food places? Zero. Should there be more food drive or walk/bike-through options? I say, yes.┬á
Trust me, I'm all about a more pedestrian-focused, walkable and transit-friendly Downtown that features more cabs, the coming soon streetcar line, better way finding, new bicycle lanes and a hopeful rerouting of a few of the bus lines. But, convenience drives decisions and drive-throughs provide another option for people. Sure, logistics play a role. Wisconsin Avenue's probably too dense for a drive-through, but other streets and areas would work.┬á
I spent more than 10 years "fighting" for Wells Street to go to full two-way street.┬á The possible obstacles and opposition was strong, vocal and at times hilarious.┬á Since the change, life has gone on and traffic, both automobile and walkers/bikers, are safer. My point? Change can be good, and at the right place, a┬ádrive-through probably won't kill Downtown.
I asked Beth Weirick, executive director at Milwaukee Downtown, for her thoughts and she told me, "I completely understand why there are not drive-through establishments on Wisconsin Avenue. I met with Dunkin' Donuts and the City to see if we could make a┬ádrive-through work and it just couldn't at that current location.
"I don't know why we couldn't make one work if we had more two-way streets and off/on secondary streets. I always thought that the location of the former Greyhound (station) would be a good spot."
Now, which┬ádrive-through should it be, Milwaukee? And where? Park East?┬á Hmmmm.┬á Your thoughts?┬á┬á
How *dare* someone be able to drive thru a downtown coffee shop like Colectivo, Starbucks on their way to work! We MUST make them find parking, pay for the parking, walk to the coffee place (especially when it's below zero), buy their coffee, walk back to their car, and then drive off. That really is wicked efficient and inviting!
Yes, let's encourage even more driving and less walking in our city center. Let's also make walking more dangerous at the same time by encouraging more active curb cuts over sidewalks. And finally, let's hope anonymous chains proliferate.
Makes all sorts of sense.
Why would you possibly consider cars as the proper transportation downtown? It limits foot traffic, which makes spending less likely at more businesses. Promoting additional traffic in a congested area is nonsensical. Drive-throughs are heavily associated with chains, especially fast food.
So, is the point of this that we need to eat crappier food, support less local business, walk less, and be generally lazier? Sure... that's great for all.
If Downtown Chicago can do it with a Portillo's, Milwaukee should be able to handle it. Problem is, many of our elected officials are anti-car so they would rather make it more difficult to drive downtown and actually make things easier. They'd prefer traffic, overzealous parking checkers, and people walking long distances in the cold. A drive-thru is counter to all those city-held beliefs.
4 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Jeff Sherman
Published Feb. 5, 2016
The new Shorewood Metro Market, 4075 N. Oakland Ave., opens Feb. 16, less than a year after the company bulldozed its old Pick 'N Save location that stood just north of the new building.
Published Jan. 28, 2016
The Milwaukee Muddpie, a pizza featuring chicken, pepperoni, bacon, BBQ sauce, ranch, jalapenos and banana peppers will debut Friday at the Bucks vs. Heat game. It was created by five team members.
Published Jan. 27, 2016
Finding the right game for the entire family much less you and your partner can be tough. At the Sherman home, we've gone simple, old school lately with Uno.
Published Jan. 21, 2016
Our health journey is a marathon not a sprint. For me, I focus on it daily by doing the same things day in and say out. And, when I don't I feel off and unbalanced. Here's a glimpse into my consistent daily habits.
Published Jan. 18, 2016
In 2016, Lee Brice will headline the "Life Off My Years" tour, and bring his show back to Wisconsin to the Milwaukee Theatre on April 7.
Published Jan. 16, 2016
After having been removed for alterations, the controversial Jaume Plensa sculpture "Spillover II" was reinstalled today in Atwater Park on Lake Drive in Shorewood.
Published Jan. 13, 2016
Former basketball player and current Wisconsin State Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield), sent a news release yesterday weighing in with his thoughts on the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association's clamp down on fan behavior.
Published Jan. 6, 2016
Start the New Year off right with this in-house designed and frame ready, 2016 OnMilwaukee skyline calendar. it is perfect for your office or home. Buy it now, and/or register to win one.
Published Dec. 26, 2015
I live my life, as much as I can, in this order: faith, family, friends, Milwaukee, Marquette and the Bucks. That list pretty much covers it all, and 2015 saw many highlights, big stories and events, that included several of those things.
Published Dec. 23, 2015
The Boston Globe has published its list of hot travel destinations for 2016. Titled "From Maine to Cuba, the hot places for travel in 2016," travel writer Christopher Muther toasts ten trips, including on to Milwaukee.