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Dallas grappling with closing downtown McDonald's drive-thru to promote more walkability

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I find this fascinating.   Dallas may not renew permit for McDonald's drive-thru in an effort to make the area more walkable.  The leaders quoted seem like they have made up their minds.  City council has final say...this will be interesting to follow.


Debate over McDonald's drive-thru is actually a debate about future of downtown Dallas

City Plan Commission member will 'absolutely not' support permit renewal
One of the most suburban sights in the center of downtown Dallas, yet a fixture there for decades, is at risk of extinction.
A permit allowing the McDonald's at 1000 Commerce St. to operate a drive-thru expired Dec. 8. The fast food restaurant sits just a few blocks away from the city's tallest tower in a largely underdeveloped area of downtown that city leaders and developers hope to transform into a walkable, urban corridor — especially with the soon-to-be-redeveloped Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center a short walk away.

While on the surface this seems like a debate over a single McDonald's, it speaks to a deeper reckoning about the future of downtown Dallas. Social media commenters dream of a less car-centric Central Business District. But these Golden Arches have also fed countless North Texans at an affordable price, including nearby residents and workers who might stop by more than they would care to admit. It's a battle of two competing visions of downtown: one of urban walkability, another of suburban convenience.

"Now that we have these beautiful parks and we're building dynamic districts throughout downtown and really trying to weave them together, we are looking at what's now holding us back," said Jennifer Scripps, president and CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc. "You know, a bunch of cars lined up is not ideal toward our goals, but that being said, there are a lot of people who use that."

The special-use permit is required as drive-thrus are generally not allowed in downtown Dallas under zoning rules. McDonald's Corp. submitted an application requesting renewal of the permit Dec. 7.

Despite the expiration, the permit remains active while the application is under review by city staff, according to a city spokesperson. The question of whether to renew the permit will go before the City Plan Commission and Dallas City Council, although dates have not been set.

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Dallas is also the city that destroyed old businesses by deciding to rezone them out of existence without compensation. I expect the drive through to be closed, followed by closure of the entire restaurant and then redevelopment into trendy places that the nearby residents can't afford.

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