Uptown Secures 50 More Years of Drive-Thru Banking

A Google search for “do people still go inside banks?” shows that, for some of us, physical banks are a thing of the past. Which means you might not be aware of the dangers of car-free banking. Read on, for a story every parent should see.

Yesterday, the Planning Commission considered Wells Fargo’s plans for a new branch building at the corner of Lake and Humboldt. The building would replace the bank’s existing structure built in 1973. The maximum number of car parking stalls allowed for the proposed building is 17. Wells Fargo wants 36.

A representative for Wells Fargo cited safety concerns, for employees and customers, as one reason the Planning Commission should allow double the parking maximum. Commissioner Ben Gisselman also had questions about safety:

When we’re talking about bank transactions, I feel like there is some argument that perhaps customers–I don’t know if this is legitimate or not–but perhaps customers do want the safety of having their vehicle there.

@happifydesign @mikesonn from watching that meeting, I gather it’s hugely dangerous to do your banking without a getaway car nearby.

— Wedge LIVE! (@WedgeLIVE) November 17, 2015

Considering the neighborhood context (frequent transit, multiple bikeways, walkability, density, the transportation preferences of nearby residents), Commissioner Nick Magrino expressed “surprise” that all 27 Wells Fargo employees at the site are driving themselves to work: “I think it’s probably possible that you’re sort of inducing some of that demand from the employees by having free parking available on site.”

The Planning Commission denied the request for 19 additional car stalls. They also required that three bike parking stalls be added at the bank’s Lake and Humboldt entrance. As a result of these two decisions, several long-time residents probably made dramatic Facebook pronouncements about moving to St. Paul.

The Planning Commission also voted to continue the tradition of drive-thru banking in the heart of Uptown. The new drive-thru will be two lanes, which is considerably smaller than the existing building’s seven-lane monster.

Sam Rockwell, the lone commissioner to oppose the drive-thru, noted that the Hennepin-Lake area is a Pedestrian Overlay District, and the first rule of Pedestrian Overlay District is don’t talk about drive-thrus. Rockwell also pointed to the fact that the area has the fourth highest bicycle counts and the third highest pedestrian counts in the city. [to watch his entire remarks, visit SamRockwellSpeech.com]

It’s impossible to say whether the Millenials of tomorrow will make virtual banking transactions from a retractable kiosk mounted on the titanium-alloy ceiling of their driverless Space-Ubers. But even if we can’t know what banking will look like a decade from now, we do know that Uptown might be stuck with the banking equivalent of a VCR, in the form of a one-story drive-thru bank that could last 50 years.  

Based on your past purchases, you might also like:
Rockwell’s Travel Guides – Drive-Thru Banking in Minneapolis

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