Ealing Council and the Mayor’s cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, fear that a proposed McDonald’s drive-thru would put cyclists using London’s east-west cycle superhighway at risk.
The London Evening Standard reports that the council granted planning permission to McDonald’s for a drive-thru restaurant on the A40 at Gypsy Corner in Acton in February. However, the decision was subsequently reversed amid fears that the location would result in drivers cutting across the cycle superhighway at speed.
McDonald’s has since appealed to a planning inspector and Gilligan and Ealing council leader Julian Bell believe the fast food chain is “aggressively fighting for an entrance which both of us believe to be unsafe.”
This is despite the franchisee, Atul Pathak, supposedly being in favour of the cycle route – it seems it is McDonald’s corporate headquarters which is seeking to win approval for the original plans. Gilligan and Bell hope that a compromise can be reached involving a different entrance off Western Avenue.
McDonald’s drive thrus have had a mixed record with cyclists. A couple of years ago, we reported how a Portsmouth cyclist and his four-year-old son were refused service at one when the person at the service hatch took issue to his being on a bike and told him he had to park and go inside.
In contrast, the firm has recently been trialling ‘McBike’ – prototype takeout packaging specifically designed for cyclists. Although there is no saying that McBike will be widely adopted, it reflects the chain’s growing desire to project a more health-conscious image.