Donut fix

A yankee transplant

Dunkin’ Donuts, the fabled donut purveyor based in Canton, MA, serves over 3 million customers a day in 31 countries worldwide. It has recently started a push into the deep south–where Krispy Kreme has long reigned supreme–and the second (“flagship” , according to the News article here) metro location will be on 6th Avenue South between Richard Arrington and 22nd Street. It is in a small, historic commercial structure wedged between a massive Regions drive-through and the Fish Market restaurant. It was most  recently a Domino’s pizza outlet.

Cohen Carnaggio Reynolds has prepared the rendering shown above. The News article states that the owners will be attempting a drive-through here; speaking of drive-throughs, the same architects are slated to slog it out again on behalf of Chick-Fil-A at another working session for the controversial Five Points South restaurant proposal today at 4 PM at the Auburn Urban Studio, 1731 First Avenue North, 3rd floor.

Local favorite under attack

It’s great to see this small structure being reinvigorated; and while many may decry the Yankee usurper bringing it’s cake-ish donuts (and renowned coffee) to Dixie, a little competition may be good for everybody. As to the drive-through? While not at the same level of density and diversity as the heart of Five Points just up the street, this block is still a very urban situation with good pedestrian access from the surrounding hospitals. The City should think long and hard before allowing a drive-through here. Such a concept is fundamentally anti-urban and should be discouraged.

Birmingham, brace yourself. Just when we thought we couldn’t ingest anymore calories…

[Rendering from the Birmingham News; KK donuts courtesy karenn]

20 responses to “Donut fix

  1. I wonder: Will as many people speak out against a DD drive-through as have against the Chick-Fil-A drive-through? Or will it turn out that our sense of protectiveness is focused on 5 Points South?

    • Probably focused on 5 Points. Because in most people’s minds, this site would be one of the “many other sites” close to Five Points that would be “appropriate” for a drive-through due to its less prominent, more generic position. Still not good though.

  2. Drive-thru or not, this is a net plus. The site plan (at least, as it currently exists) is good for pedestrians (although the sidewalks by the Fish Market are missing/used for parking/something else bad). And a donut shop is better for activating the street than a pizza delivery joint.

    It’ll be a tough sell restricting the drive-thru. In Five Points there is the contextual argument – no other buildings have drive-thrus. But this would be the third drive-thru on this block.

    • Overall, yes a net-plus. This small building is much more vibrant as a DD than as the delivery pizza place. However, while it may be tough in the current zoning law to restrict a drive-through, I still would say it’s wrong. Just because there are 2 more on the block already doesn’t make it right to add another. An already fragile pedestrian environment would keep eroding.

      Under the law, though, we don’t have the same Historic and Commercial Revitalization ordinances that help up at Five Points–so there may be no way to deny it.

  3. When the DD opened in Pelham on 119 by I-65, they had a problem. Traffic from the drive-through backed up in the mornings onto the road and the police had to get involved.

  4. JCE: Subtle but to the main point conclusion. Wondered what Cheryl Morgan is thinking about. Sure isn’t the health of the population. ECE

  5. The following is a message from the Sarcastic Bureau of Public Transportation of the Wayward Path:

    “Let’s just push for every new business in this city to have a mandatory drive-through regardless of whether it’s needed, or not.

    We think everything should now come with a drive-through.

    Oh, and forget about the overweight, diabetic patients at Kirklin Clinic. Obamacare will protect them”.

  6. Considering that Arby’s nearby has a drive-thru, I would think that DD wouldn’t have Chik-Fil-A like issues. And yes, the endocrinologists at Kirklin must be smiling…

  7. The following is a message from the Sarcastic Bureau of Public Transportation of the Wayward Path:

    “Let’s just push for every new business in this city to have a mandatory drive-through regardless of whether it’s needed, or not.
    We think everything should now come with a drive-through.
    Oh, and forget about the unfortunate consumers at Kirklin Clinic. Obamacare will protect them”.

  8. Concerned Citizen

    The proposed Dunkin Donuts does fall with in the Midtown Commercial Revitalization District, therefore will need to be presented to the Design Review Committee.

  9. Interestingly, the site is only 1 block or so south of the “Historic Automotive District”. Maybe that’s the district where we should push for mandatory drive throughs.

    Looks like the Fish Market is in the Southside Historic District, but the remainder of the block is not.

    I don’t know what guidelines pertain to the Midtown CRD, but I expect the board will want to at least look at the traffic patterns in the area and make sure that Dunkin Donuts plans don’t exacerbate the situation. (Or does exacerbating inconvenient car movement promote pedestrian activity…)

  10. Where will the drive-thru be? If it’s on the left side of the building (when you’re facing the building), it would run through the Fish Market parking lot, which might allow cars to get off the street, depending on the location of an order box. I’m not sure there’s any room for a drive-thru on the right side. (I’ll take another look at the site tomorrow; our office overlooks it.)

  11. I went through the McDonald’s drive through on on 29th Street today. Unusual for me, because I rarely get anything from them and if I do I normally park and go in. But my daughter & I were on our way from one event to another, in bathing suits, and she needed to eat something. So, I threw caution to the wind and went for the nearest drive-thru. Bad choice. Even at 2:00 pm they have to have a policeman directing traffic and it took ages to make our way through the line!

    So, I was wondering if such policemen are being paid by the business for whom they’re directing traffic or by the city. Anyone know? If it’s by the city, I’m going to be really annoyed. There should at least be a provision for any drive-thru businesses that they have to pay for their own traffic-directing-cop. Because our police really have other things that they need to be taking care of. . . .

  12. The problem is that the zoning allows drive-throughs.

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