The AVCA Board voted four to two to "Not Oppose" the proposed McDonald's
Drive-thru. There was one abstention.
The issue here is: Should a merchant be allowed to expand his business
an estimated thirty percent and provide convenience
for handicapped people; mothers with small children; and women
who would prefer, for security reasons, to remain in their car?
The opposition is provided by a nearby homeowners group which opposes
the drive-thru on the basis of traffic congestion in
the left turn lane from McAbee to the Almaden Expressway and the encouragement
of other drive-thrus in the Almaden Valley.
This process took seven weeks of investigation and consisted
- Two public hearings listening to the arguments of McDonald's
and the homeowners group that opposed the drive-thru.
- The review of the City of San Jose's policy towards drive-thrus
and the noise analysis by a private firm hired by McDonald's.
- The interviewing of the city's development traffic engineer,
the manager of Trader Joe's, and the AlmadenTimes reporter who
surveyed the merchants at the shopping center.
- The polling of the AVCA E-MAIL address base consisting of AVCA
members and nonmembers.
The AVCA Board can only speak for its members, who have elected
the Board to represent them. Most AVCA members
do not have the time or the opportunity to investigate the factors
leading to a decision and they depend on the Board to represent
The Board majority, who voted to "Not Oppose," were influenced by
the following factors:
- The city's traffic analysis indicated that due to delay at the
drive-thru delivery window and the cycle of the left turn light at
McAbee, that no more than one car that had used the drive-thru would
be in the queue waiting for the left turn light. Traffic
impact was considered negligible.
- The manager of Trader Joe's stated the he "had no problem with
the drive-thru". This person would seem to be the most
impacted by the drive-thru, and much weight was given to his position.
- The noise analysis indicated no negative effect on the nearby
- The Almaden Times reporter stated that of the 24 merchants in
the center, only 4 or 5 had opposed the drive-thru.
- McDonald's compliance with design changes suggested by the City
- A tasteful landscaping design, offsetting the sound walls across
- Other possible drive-thrus, such as the Burger King in the Safeway
Center, did not depend on approval of McDonald's, but
could be considered, going through the same process, on a case by case
The minority portion of the Board, who voted to "Oppose", gave weight to the following factors:
- Consideration of the homeowners group that is opposing the proposal.
- The loss of 10 parking spaces.
- The entrance from Almaden Expressway is problematic now,
and is often difficult to enter. When the Trader Joe's trucks are
unloading, there is a bottleneck that would impact cars entering or
- The emissions from idling cars cause "safe air" problems.
- The negative responses from the survey.
- Not convinced of the need for the drive-through.
The polling of the AVCA E-MAIL base gave the following results:
|Opposed || ||19|
|For || || 2|
|Indifferent || || 4|
The poll asked the question: Are you for or against this proposal?
No supplemental information was supplied.
There was a technical flaw in the polling in that the total number of people reached
was not certain. If the total E-MAIL base had been
contacted, the "Opposed" vote would amount to 11.2%. However
it is clear from the polling that a large number of people in
the community are against the drive-thru. This is also reflected
in the split vote of the AVCA Board.
Bob Boydston, AVCA Past President