Officials in Baldwin Park, California, a suburb east of Los Angeles, have put a moratorium on building new drive-throughs restaurants for the next nine months. Concerned with obesity levels as well as traffic issues, the ban is a blow to drive-through obsessed Southern California; Baldwin Park is the home of the very first In-N-Out Burger, and, according to legend, the birthplace of the fast food drive-through.
Apparently Baldwin Park's 17 drive-throughs generate too much traffic for the city's streets, and cars often back up out of parking lots and into neighborhood streets. Although that does sound a little excessive and probably worth addressing, locals are not happy with the move: The AP talked to a man who thought it might work in other states, you know, the ones where people walk places, "But not here. This is California."
The ban seems a bit misguided beyond the generic Californian car-culture criticism. Making people get out of their cars to walk into a building to buy their fried food and cheeseburgers can only help so much, and if the number of drive-throughs is limited to the pre-existing 17, won't that only maintain and, perhaps, increase their traffic issues? Not to mention that much of the craze must be due to the town's landmark drive-through status, combined with their proximity to I-10, one of the busiest interstates in the country. There's no use trying to hide your past, Baldwin Park, you might as well embrace it.
In-N-Out Burger. [Photo: AP]