The Sacramento Natural Foods Coop is considering relocation to 28th and R streets. As a coop member, I’m interested in how the new location addresses transportation. Though plans are preliminary and vague, here is my reaction to what is available so far on the website at http://www.sacfoodcoop.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1726:store-relocation-update.
- The new location is a bit closer to the 29th Street RT Gold Line light rail station. It is about the same distance from the RT bus routes 38, 67, and 68. Transit accessibility is a key locational factor, so this is good.
- There seems to be no special consideration for bus riders using the routes on 29th St. There could be a bus bay, large bus shelter, large but landscaped waiting pad, and a clear pathway from the bus stop to the store without having to cross through the parking lot and/or cross the driveway entrance-exit. These might be included and not shown on the generalized drawing, but I rather suspect that they weren’t even considered.
- The building is oriented to face the surface parking lot, not to face the street. The message of this orientation is that members who drive are more important than members who live in the community and walk or bike to the store.
- Bike parking seems an afterthought. The drawing appears to have 16 bike parking spaces, north of the store entrance, while there are 302 vehicle parking spaces. Common practice in cities with high livability is 20% of all parking for bikes, which would be 60 bike parking spaces. The bike parking area is also further away from the entrance than several non-handicapped spaces, which should never be the case. In the conceptual schematic drawing, the bike parking may be contained in the weird structure that sort of looks like a water tower.
- Several news articles in local media and in the Co-op Reporter have emphasized the additional parking but said nothing about bike parking, or other modes of transportation, and I suspect this is not an oversight. Does the staff and board regularly bike to the store, or drive? I don’t know, but the emphasis on parking is an indicator.
Given the stated mission of the co-op, “…consumer-owned natural foods grocery store that places the values of cooperation and sustainability at the forefront. Our focus is to benefit our owners, support our local growers, participate in our community and protect the environment,” every instance of a member or customer driving to the store instead of getting there by active transportation is a step away from these goals.
I hope that the co-op will revise its plans to reach out to people who walk, bike and use transit.