Last Spring there was debate (see here and here) about allowing drive-throughs in the Downtown Historic District, and this fall Council approved the ordinance.
These were changes permitted in general, and therefore ostensibly theoretical, though everyone knew a single project was driving the change.
Now that project is here, and there are two hearings on it in particular.
On Wednesday the Hearings Officer will undertake a Conditional Use review (agenda here, staff report here).
Thursday night the Historic Landmarks Commission will hold its design review. The staff report is here.
The building is on the corner of State and Commercial, and you will recognize Pioneer Trust Bank as the tall building. On the surface the new structure will have a modern, neo-historical two-story brick-ish facade (can't tell if it actually will use brick facings), even broke up with cornice and window detailing into smaller units, that mostly looks like it fits into the neighborhood. It's smooth jazz here.
Here is the first plan, a slightly earlier iteration, superimposed on the gravel lots just north of Scott's Cycle.
And here is the most recent plan, revised in part after CAN-DO's comments regarding too much auto traffic exiting onto Commercial street with limited sightlines along the sidewalk. In this version, only cars with people banking at the drive-through will be permitted to exit onto Commercial, and cars exiting the parking lot will have to use the alley. State street here seems a little bucolic, and it's sad it can't proceed in a more walkable rather than drivable direction.
You'll notice the long strip between Scott's and the Bank. This is a separate lot, and its owners oppose the Bank as proposed. Their objections have not been entered into the record, and according to their attorney will be presented at the hearings.
As far as transportation goes, the moment for opposing the drive-through itself has pretty much passed. And with the rise of mobile banking, it seems unlikely that drive-through transactions will do anything other than decline with time. So it doesn't seem worthwhile to fuss too much.
It will be interesting to learn more about the objections raised by the owners of the strip lot to remain empty. Still, regardless of the way we argue on the details, surely we can agree the corner should be developed, though I suspect this particular building as proposed will not last the century that its companions on each corner have lasted.
Instead, I wonder if what I want to call "spandrels," the on-street areas too small for a car spot created by the bulb-out and the drive-way exit, would permit sufficient space for an on-street bike corral. I'm not sure this would be a huge high-demand area for bike parking, but at the same time if the space would otherwise be wasted, why not use it? Something to consider. (Corral Photo: Greg Raisman)
Also, many banks do not permit people on bike to use drive-throughs. Maybe this is an opportunity to insist that people on bike can use them?