Tag Archives: Safeway on College

Safeway on College: Round 2 at the Planning Commission

3 Aug

I know I promised a long breakdown of the Safeway draft environmental impact report (DEIR) in my last post, but after reading the DEIR again and thinking about it some more, I realized I’d need more than one post to cover anything substantive. So this first post will cover a couple of the issues that were discussed at public comment at the July hearing and mitigations the DEIR offers to many of these issues. I’ll write a second post discussing project alternatives after tonight’s continuation of the DEIR hearing (at the last hearing, the Planning Commission ran out of time and continued the hearing).

The hearing a couple of weeks ago was quite interesting. There were so many people there that the hearing had to be moved from Hearing Room 1 to Council Chambers! When I arrived, I surveyed the room and feared that as at so many past Safeway meetings and hearings, the room was dominated by opponents. As the night went on though, the comments seemed to be fairly evenly split by opponents and proponents. Even with such a mix of project perspectives in the room, people were generally very civil and respectful throughout the comments. It was quite refreshing, especially thinking back to the first community meeting on this project that I attended back in 2008, when I was one of the few people who expressed any kind of support for the project and I got heckled while speaking! Continue reading

Safeway on College finally at Planning Commission tonight

20 Jul

UPDATE: Though some public comment was made on the Safeway DEIR at the 7/20 Planning Commission meeting, the item was continued until Wednesday, August 3rd. At that meeting, public comment will continue and the planning commissioners will provide their feedback on the DEIR.

After years of community meetings and plenty of delay, the College Avenue Safeway is finally going to the Planning Commission tonight (Wednesday, July 20th) for a hearing on its draft environmental impact report (DEIR). I had hoped to write a post about this last week well in advance of the hearing, but I got busy and then spent a long time reading the DEIR. So the long substantive post will have to come post-hearing, but I wanted to at least alert folks that the hearing is happening.

To refresh your memory, since it’s been more than a year and a half since I’ve blogged about this project, the proposal is to replace the hideous Safeway on College and Claremont that is surrounded by a sea of parking and a gas station. You know, this place: Continue reading

Safeway on College – The cost of doing nothing is not nothing

19 Nov

Last night’s Planning Commission hearing on the College Avenue Safeway went well overall. Sure, the neighbors showed up in force to try to stop the project or at least to greatly reduce the scale of the project. But it was just a scoping session so staff and commissioners repeatedly reminded them to stick to scoping issues and that the merits of the project would be discussed later.

As I listened to speaker after speaker talk about their grave concerns about an expanded Safeway, I realized that they seemed to believe that the cost of doing nothing is nothing – that if we leave Safeway the way it is, there would be no cost to the neighborhood, environment, or the economy. I’d like to borrow a concept that Robert at the California High Speed Rail blog came up with about HSR – the cost of doing nothing is not nothing. Robert argued that not building HSR would end up costing the state much more in the long run, with increased air and car traffic, needs to upgrade airports and highways, pollution, etc.

In the same vein, we need to ask the question: what is the cost of leaving the Safeway as it is now? John Gatewood from ULTRA came up with these questions, about the environmental impacts of leaving the store as is:

  • How efficient are the existing HVAC systems in the present store?
  • How efficient are the existing refrigeration and freezer units?
  • How efficient is the energy usage?
  • How efficient is the existing loading dock? Do trucks need to idle longer because of lack of space, etc?
  • How efficient is the existing parking lot configuration? Do drivers spend too much time looking for a space?
  • What is the “embodied energy” of the existing structure, the energy that went into producing the materials used in the existing structures?
  • What are the energy and carbon footprint coasts of demo’ing the existing structures and can these be recouped in the energy efficiencies and more environmentally sound new construction?

Beyond environmental impacts, the current store has real negative impacts on the neighborhood that effect quality of life and local business. In my comments to the Planning Commission last night, I told my story of being a pedestrian that frequently goes to that Safeway, as it’s a short walk from my home. Getting to the Safeway on foot is a nightmare – there are multiple opportunities to get hit by cars, and there are multiple times when both car driver’s and pedestrian’s views are obstructed. Part of the reason for this is that there are so many driveways – 9 in total on College and Claremont. Just the fact that the new Safeway will reduce the curb cuts from 9 to 4 will be a huge benefit to pedestrians, bicyclists, and to safety.

I’ve mentioned this before, but the current Safeway and its huge surface parking lot is a blight on the neighborhood that’s quite creepy at night. It is also entirely uninviting – unless I’m going to Safeway I avoid that side of the street entirely and often just go to a different part of Rockridge that’s more inviting to do my shopping.

The cost of doing nothing looks like this:

While doing something looks like this:

To me, the decision is obvious. I’m tired of this dangerous, ugly, and uninviting store being the center of the Alcatraz/College/Claremont shopping district. The cost of doing nothing is high, especially when we have the potential for a beautiful designed Safeway with hidden parking and more small, street level stories to keep the neighborhood dynamic.

If you’re interested in the details of the last night’s meeting, you can see coverage on Twitter #oakmtg. I just joined Twitter this week and will be using it primarily to cover Oakland meetings. You can find me @oaklandbecks.

Previous posts on College & Claremont Safeway:

November 16-22 Oakland Political & Community Events

15 Nov

Monday, November 16th – Oakland Local Community Meetup

Via the Facebook event: “Oakland Local is one month old! Come join us at our first community meetup in downtown Oakland–community partners, OL bloggers & reporters, people interested in being involved with OL and anyone else who wants to support us are invited to our first meetup at TechLiminal. We’ll have beer, wine, snacks, schwag–and a chance to meet–and join–the Oakland Local team. If you’d like to do blogging or community reporting for this site, this is a chance to sign up and get hands-on instruction–or just hang out and build community.” The meetup takes place from 6:35-8:40 at Tech/Liminal, 268 14th Street, Oakland, CA 94612.

Tuesday, November 17th – Oakland City Council Budget Workshop

Before the regular Council meeting, there will be a special budget workshop to discuss plans for closing the $19 million budget gap. This will be an important meeting, and V Smoothe has given an overview of the staff proposals. See the full staff report and check out my post about how to watch and understand City Council meetings if you need some guidance on how or where to view the meeting. The budget workshop is scheduled to run from 4-6pm in the Council Chambers in City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Tuesday, November 17th – League of Women Voters Forum on State Governance Reform Efforts

If you’re at City Hall, stop by this event in between the budget workshop and the Council meeting. Years of legislative stalemates, budget deficits, and declining service levels have led many to the conclusion that decision making in California government has become largely dysfunctional. The League has been closely following the growing number of proposals for reform, from changes in the budget processes to a constitutional convention. Several are in initiatives being readied for the 2010 ballots. A representative from the State League will outline these proposals and discuss the League’s positions. This event will take place from 6:00PM-7:30PM at Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Hearing Room 3 (just inside the 14th St. entrance).

Tuesday, November 17th – Oakland City Council Meeting

After two hours of budget discussion, the City Council still will have to conduct their regular meeting, and there is plenty to discuss. Among other items, they will be discussing Rebecca Kaplan’s billboard proposal, Oakland’s federal legislative agenda, participating in Alameda County’s obesity and tobacco prevention programs grant, a stimulus grant update, and the Oakland Fundy for Children and Youth (OFCY) 2010-2013 strategic plan.  See the full meeting agenda and check out my post about how to watch and understand City Council meetings if you need some guidance on how or where to view the meeting. The non-ceremonial parts of the meeting start at 7pm in the Council Chambers in City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Wednesday, November 18th – Planning Commission Scoping Session on College Ave Safeway

As John Gatewood wrote about last week, the Planning Commission will be holding an EIR scoping session on the College and Claremont Safeway project (not to be confused with the Pleasant Valley Safeway, which already had its scoping session). This scoping session will help determine what the EIR will study, and though public comments should stick to those issues, the neighbors who oppose this project will be out in force in an effort to try to stop the project. Whether you love the current project or not, if you’d like to see the current monstrous parking lot and ugly store updated, please come to this meeting and help balance the statements made by those who oppose it. The Planning Commission meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 15th at 6:00 pm in Hearing Room 1, City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza and the full agenda can be read here.

Wednesday, November 18th – AC Transit Meeting: Vote on Accepting MTC’s Conditions for Fund Swap

The AC Transit Board will be voting on the acceptance of conditions from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in order to swap BRT capital funds to operating funds, in order to stave off some of the planned service cuts. If you haven’t been following this issue, check out V Smoothe’s two thorough posts about it. The Board will also be discussing the creation of a funding task force, communication between the Board and the BRT Policy Steering Committee, and an employment agreement with the interim general manager, Mary King. This meeting will take place at 6pm in the 2nd floor board room, 1600 Franklin Street. You can read the agenda and see the relevant memos here.

Wednesday, November 18th – Community Convergence for Climate Action

Join the Oakland Climate Action Coalition in celebrating and supporting the community-based solutions we hope to see in Oakland’s Energy & Action Plan. Don’t miss this inspiring evening of live performances, free food, and community as we showcase the solutions that will make Oakland a model green city. Convened by the Ella Baker Center, the Oakland Climate Action Coalition is a cross-sector coalition of community-based social justice organizations, environmental experts and advocates, labor unions, and green businesses working for an equitable and just Energy & Climate Action Plan for the City of Oakland. This event takes place from 6-8pm at Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon St @ 9th Street. Find more info and RSVP at the Ella Baker website.

Thursday, November 19th – Oakland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Meeting

Oakland’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meets monthly to discusses bicycle and pedestrian issues. This month’s agenda covers the Kaiser Hospital—MacArthur Blvd Median Crossing Design, the Alameda County Union Pacific Railroad Oakland Subdivision Corridor Improvement Study, and Safe Routes to Schools Projects designs. The BPAC is extremely inclusive – any Oakland resident who attends three consecutive meetings becomes a voting member of the committee – so if you’re interested in bike and ped issues, you should consider attending. The BPAC will be meeting from 5:30-7:30pm in Hearing Room 4 of City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Thursday, November 19th – Walk Oakland Bike Oakland Meeting

Come to WOBO’s Nov. 19th volunteer meeting for an “advocate training session.” Have you ever wondered how to get your elected official’s attention and raise awareness about the importance bicycle and pedestrian improvements in Oakland? At this month’s volunteer meeting we will have a representative from the Oakland Heritage Alliance (OHA) speaking about effectively lobbying city hall. Some of the topics Naomi Schiff will cover include how to give effective public testimony, and how to work behind the scenes to persuade elected officials to champion a cause. Participants will leave with ideas for effective advocacy. The meeting will be followed by a pub crawl – not to be missed! This meeting will be held from 6:30-8:30 pm at Bay Area Wilderness Training, 2301 Broadway, Suite B – enter on 23rd Street. For more info, visit WOBO’s website.

John Gatewood: Safeway at College @ Claremont – Opportunity to Enhance an Urban Village

12 Nov

This guest post was written by John Gatewood, one of the co-founders of ULTRA (Urbanists for a Livable Temescal Rockridge Area), which supports higher density mixed-use development along the major transit corridors of north Oakland. John works in the Graphic Arts Industry and is a resident of Temescal.

Safeway is in the planning stages of replacing the existing store and gas station at College & Claremont with a new store. (Their plans can be found on their website.)

On Wednesday evening, November 18, this project will be before the Planning Commission. No decisions will be made at this time, as it is an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) scoping session to solicit comments from the community as to what should be studied in the EIR for this project.

The latest version of Safeway’s proposal is an improvement upon the previous iterations they have shown the community but it could still be better. ULTRA, Urbanists for a Livable Temescal Rockridge Area, agrees that the existing store and gas station must be replaced. These two relics from the auto-centric 1960’s have no place in the small-scale urban village that Rockridge has become.

But one of the project alternatives studied MUST include a housing component. We think it is an excellent location for senior housing. This site has very good transit access and it is in an aging community. Rockridge is built-out. There are very few locations where there is even the possibility of building higher density housing. This site is one of those rare locations. This project is an opportunity to do some strategic planning for the future of the neighborhood. We are sure that now and in the future there will be more and more residents who will want to remain in the neighborhood but no longer want the burden of maintaining a single family house. Senior housing at this site would address this coming need. Furthermore Safeway has already partnered with a housing developer at the Mission Bay development in San Francisco. They now have the experience of building a new Safeway with a housing component and they need to bring that experience to this site.

In Safeway’s latest proposal they have small storefronts on the first floor along College Avenue and the Safeway store above. We think the Safeway should be on the first floor BEHIND the small storefronts. This has multiple benefits – It reduces the bulk of the building because the lot slopes up more than a full story in the rear, meaning that the supermarket would be partially below-grade, greatly reducing the visual impact of the store. The storefronts lining College would echo the existing land use, that is, small storefronts close together creating a lively and dense retail experience. These storefronts need maximum flexibility as to their eventual use. Ideally they would be filled with independent businesses and that should remain the goal for these stores. But just because a project has ground floor retail doesn’t mean that there are businesses that can be successful in these spaces. A row of empty storefronts does nothing to help the community.

ULTRA Safeway Proposal 1st Floor

Putting Safeway behind the storefronts will make these spaces much more flexible. As part of the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and on an interim basis only, each of these spaces could be used as retail spaces for Safeway’s various departments. Having their various specialty departments with their own entrances on College Avenue could serve as an inducement for customers to enter the main Safeway store. As part of the CUP and on an interim basis only, these storefronts could also be permitted to be used by neighborhood-serving community groups. Having the Safeway store on the first floor would also have the additional benefit of freeing up the second and possible third floor for housing. Housing would not encompass the entire roof space but only the periphery along the avenues, echoing the existing land use pattern along College Avenue. The larger portion of the rooftop could be a parking deck for the store.

ULTRA Safeway Proposal 2nd Floor

Instead of a garage entrance on College Avenue like in Safeway’s proposal, we think there should be a public plaza. The entrance to the first floor Safeway would be at the back of this plaza. What is missing and needed at this end of College Avenue is a civic space, a place for people to gather. This would address that need. We envision this space evolving into a place where small public events such as arts & crafts fairs could be held. This would be to the community’s benefit and it would redound to Safeway’s benefit too because the more attractive the public space outside the store, the more likely it is people will enter the store.

Please join ULTRA and others at the Planning Commission meeting next Wednesday to share your thoughts about the Safeway EIR scoping issues:

Planning Commission Meeting
Wednesday, November 18th at 6:00 pm
Oakland City Hall
1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Hearing Room 1

You can also submit comments and/or questions in writing to:
Pete Vollman, Planner III,
City of Oakland, Community & Economic Development Agency
250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Suite 2114
Reference Case Number ER09-0006 in all communication.
Comments must be received no later than 4PM on December 1, 2009.

Previous posts on College & Claremont Safeway:

Safeway submits application, but “concerned neighbors” are not so happy about it

7 May

I had hoped to have a post up about the Oakland Airport Connector this morning, but I spent too long reading TransForm’s brand new report on the subject and didn’t have any time to write. Check back tomorrow though because I’ll have a lengthy post up about it.

For now though, a brief update on Safeway. Today, their consultant, Elisabeth Jewel, sent out a brief update about the College Avenue store:

Yesterday, Safeway submitted its development application to the City of Oakland.  The application reflects two years of work by the Safeway team along with countless citizens who offered their ideas and opinions.  The current proposed development designed by architect Ken Lowney is vastly different from where we started two years ago.  After 20 hours of community meetings, hundreds of emails and many phone calls, the design evolved in large measure due to community input.  While some people don’t feel comfortable with the proposed size, others appreciate that what we are proposing delivers unique retail and public spaces and revitalizes the current intersection to one of activity and excitement.

The city’s process from here is long and multi-faceted.  There will be noise studies, traffic studies, environmental review, and zoning conformance checks.  There will be many meetings between city departments such as traffic, engineering, planning, and zoning.  After these issues have been studied to the satisfaction of the Planning Department, the Planning Commission will call for public hearings.

I’m so glad to hear that they’ve finally submitted their application, and I’m mostly pleased with their plan.

But not everyone is so pleased. A friend forwarded me a link to the Concerned Neighbors of College Avenue Safeway blog, where the writers and readers are, uh, not so happy.

Their most recent post asks for comments on the new plan. I highly recommend heading over there to check them out and add your comments, but here are some of the highlights:

  • I choose to live in Rockridge, not Walnut Creek.
  • Since we’re neighbors, let’s be friends? Remember that jingle. Well, it apparently it is only true if you see eye-to-eye with Safeway.
  • Bike racks can’t mitigate traffic (and air & noise pollution) for a massive grocery store and up to 12 chain-type retail stores on this small stretch of College Avenue. It’s a mall, designed as a big-box shopping destination . . . which means multiple shopping bags & cars, cars, and more cars.
  • Safeway is ignoring the character of this neighborhood, as well it’s geography. As everyone learns in kindergarten, one can’t squeeze a large rectangle into a small triangle without breaking one or the other. Same goes for neighborhoods.

Looks like the Planning Commission meetings on this proposal are going to be interesting.

Safeway unveils new design plans for College Avenue store

30 Apr

Last night I attended what I thought would be another community meeting about Safeway. Well it turned out to be less of a meeting and more of an exhibition, which means that I don’t have dramatic moments to share but I did get to look at Safeway’s plans closely.

Overall, I’mvery pleased with what I saw. The design is modern but complementary to the neighborhood – V Smoothe’s first comment was that it looks like Market Hall, and it does, especially from this vantage point:


I love that the design is much more bike and pedestrian oriented than the current store and parking lot.  Nearly all of the parking will be hidden behind the retail stores on the ground floor and underneath the larger Safeway store that will be on the second floor. Safeway is giving up some of its property to increase the width of the street and the sidewalk. Also, there’s tons of bike parking and places to sit.

I do have a few concerns about pedestrian impacts though. They’re keeping the driveway on College, which I think is a very bad idea. It causes traffic jams and is dangerous for pedestrians. Also, there’s going to be a bus stop on College but no actual space for the bus to pull into. I’m not sure I understand how this will work, but I was promised that this was what AC Transit wanted. On the bright side, Safeway is working with AC Transit to put in a bus shelter complete with NextBus, which will be a huge improvement over the current bus stop that doesn’t even have a bench. And Safeway is looking into providing AC Transit eco-passes for its employees.

As for the store, it will be 49,000 square feet, compared to its current 25,000 feet. I think an expansion is sorely needed. The current store has very narrow aisles and just isn’t very pleasant to shop in. Probably the most exciting thing I heard last night was that because they’re expanding the store, no shelves will be higher than 5 feet! I’m really short and often find myself having to ask for help in grocery stores to reach items on the top shelf so this is my dream come true.

The increased size will also allow Safeway to expand their pathetic offerings. They currently have no bakery and their deli is basically worthless. Check out this before and after shot of the deli:deliw560h420deli_2w560h420

(You can find before and after shots of all of the departments at the Safeway website.)

Since the previous community meetings hadn’t gone so well, Safeway clearly bent over backwards to mitigate neighborhood concerns. Initially they had proposed taking away some parking spots from College (which I would have loved). Now, they’ve left those parking spots and somehow managed to add parking spots on Claremont. Additionally, they’ll have 175 parking spaces in their lot (compared to the  106 spots they currently have), all of which will be available to Safeway customers and the public. They’ve planned a closed area for trucks because neighbors have complained about loud trucks at night. They’ve also moved their generator as far from residences as possible.

But no matter how hard Safeway tries, they’ll always have their detractors. Most of the crowd last night seemed pretty calm, and many people seemed happier about the new designs. But the hardcore anti-expansion group was not mollified. They were passing out a handout titled “Rockridge IS Small Retail” (PDF), which argues that the expanded Safeway is too big and will destroy all the small businesses around it. Of course, they fail to mention that the new Safeway will have 10,000 square feet of small retail space that will house 8 or 9 small businesses.

Here were some of my favorite overheard comments of the night from the Safeway detractors:

  • “Looks like Ralphs in Encino.”
  • “This isn’t Walmart; this is Safeway.”
  • “This looks like a shopping mall in Walnut Creek.”
  • And my favorite, “You can fight it all you want, it’s like fighting God.”

You can decide for yourself whether you agree with those comments or not. Check out this great YouTube video that shows the renderings in detail from all angles:

And if you’d like to look at more of the still renderings, head to the website of Safeway’s architect, Lowney Architecture.

The next step for Safeway is a hearing before the planning commission, which I’m sure will be well attended. I’ll post about that when a date is set.

Previous posts on Safeway:

April 27-29 Oakland Political & Community Events

26 Apr

This week’s listing is a bit sparser than usual, since I was busy all weekend at the California Democratic Party convention. If you’re curious about how the convention went, I highly recommend checking out the fairly thorough coverage at Calitics. (For my perspective, check out my post at Calitics.) Tomorrow I’ll finally post a write up of last week’s BART Board meeting, and later this week I’ll share some thoughts on Gavin Newsom’s meeting with bloggers at the convention (I got him to answer Joel Young’s question on transit funding). But for now, here are the events, all of which I’ll be attending. If you have anything to add, please do so in the comments.

Monday, April 27th – Budget Town Hall

This will be the third and final of the budget town halls the City is hosting throughout Oakland to get feedback from residents on the budget and budget cuts. V Smoothe wrote some background info on the budget, and I couldn’t agree more with her take on these town halls: “Go to the town halls and go to the budget meetings and tell them what your priorities are. If you don’t, I guarantee, somebody else will, and you can take a wild guess who’s more likely to get what they want.” This town hall will be held from 6:30-8pm at Lakeside Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Avenue (off of Grand).

Tuesday, April 28th – CED Committee Hearing on the Uptown Surface Parking Lot

I know a lot of you have gotten fired up about the proposed surface parking lot in Uptown, and thanks to those who have written letters. If you can, come to the Community and Economic Development committee meeting on Tuesday, to speak about this item. The item is the first on their agenda so it should come up relatively quickly. If you’ve never spoken at a Council meeting, I recommend reading V Smoothe’s guide. Committee meetings are a bit different than the full Council though in that you do not have to turn in your speaker card before the meeting starts – you just need to turn it in before your item comes up. The meeting will be held at 2pm in Hearing Room 1 of City Hall.

Wednesday, April 29th – College Safeway Community Meeting

As V Smoothe mentioned earlier this month, Safeway is planning another community meeting this week. After some community members shot down earlier proposals, Safeway hired a new architect and will be unveiling the new drawings and renderings this Wednesday. This is likely the last community meeting that will be held before they head to the Planning Commission, so if you’d like to weigh in, this is your chance. The meeting will be held from 7-9pm at the Claremont Hotel, which is inconveniently located on Ashby just east of College. You can take the 7 or the 9 AC Transit lines there, if for some strange reason you live near one of those lines. Otherwise, Safeway encourages you to park, though they will provide free parking if you must drive.

If you’d like more background before the meeting, check out my previous posts on Safeway:

College Safeway Update

25 Feb

Back in December, I shared the news that the Safeway community meeting had been canceled, and for months after that, the Safeway website was not updated and no one really knew what was happening. Well, a few weeks ago, Safeway finally sent out an email and updated their site. Here’s some of what they had to say:

After the stakeholders meeting on November 12, 2008, the Safeway team decided to take a deep breath and evaluate next steps. We recommitted ourselves to taking the time needed to come up with the best designed proposal we could – even if that meant delaying coming back to the stakeholders and community members with a new, detailed plan.

We are very pleased to announce that we have engaged a new architect for this project – someone who is not only a resident of the neighborhood, but who designed the beautiful Whole Foods store in the old Cadillac dealership on Harrison St. in Oakland. Ken Lowney brings decades of experience to this project having designed markets, housing, offices, and mixed use developments all over the Bay Area. (For more detail, visit his website at www.lowneyarch.com.)

Ken received a detailed record of the comments and concerns expressed during each stakeholder meeting and in your many emails. He will use this record to inform the design, taking into account the unique needs and perspectives of neighbors, merchants, residents and many others who care very deeply about this neighborhood. He will soon be meeting with the neighborhood architects group to have the benefit of their expertise and insight.

Safeway plans to convene a community meeting in April to present the detailed plans that Ken prepares and get your comments. Shortly after that meeting we will make a formal application to the City of Oakland to begin the entitlement process. A series of public hearings will be held by the Oakland Planning Commission as this project moves through the approval process.

I am so glad to hear that Safeway is moving ahead with its plans and I look forward to seeing their new proposal. I am hopeful that Safeway is not going to cave in, scrap most of the project, and just do a patch and paint job. I know a vocal minority of neighbors want this to happen and are going to oppose any proposal that’s larger than the current store. For some reason, they think that anything larger would be out of context in the neighborhood. A couple months ago, I took photos of several of the buildings neighboring Safeway to show the true scale of the neighborhood, which is quite different than what some of these neighbors have been claiming:

The corner of Claremont and College, across the street from Safeway.

The corner of Claremont and College, across the street from Safeway.

Claremont, a couple buildings from College, across from Safeway. I believe this building is a similar height to some of Safeway's initial plans.

Claremont, a couple buildings from College, across from Safeway. I believe this building is a similar height to some of Safeway's initial plans.

College at Alcatraz, across from Safeway.

College at Alcatraz, across from Safeway.

The beloved Cole Coffee, that neighbors opposed to the project constantly talk about as being endangered by a larger Safeway, is housed in this three story building on College and 63rd, across the street from Safeway.

The beloved Cole Coffee, that neighbors opposed to the project constantly talk about as being endangered by a larger Safeway, is housed in this three story building on College and 63rd, across the street from Safeway.

I think these pictures tell a pretty persuasive story of what the neighborhood looks and feels like. Hopefully Safeway and its new architect will keep these in mind while creating their new proposal.

Previous posts on Safeway:

Safeway stakeholders meeting canceled (or postponed?)

8 Dec

I’ve been planning to write another long post about the College Avenue Safeway rebuild, but haven’t quite found the time. I did want to alert everyone who’s interested that the meeting that was planned for this Tuesday, December 9th has been canceled. Unfortunately, there’s no further info on Safeway’s site about when the next meeting will be or if there will be one so that’s all the information I have.

In the meantime, you can check out the sketches that I mentioned in my blog post about the last stakeholders meeting:



And if you’re looking for a good read (and by good I mean sometimes madenning and sometimes humorous), check out the notes from the last meeting. Then you’ll have a better idea of why Safeway decided to cancel or postpone tomorrow’s meeting, as it was pretty clear to me after leaving that meeting that the neighbors in attendance were never going to come to an agreement with Safeway over the project.

I’ll continue to follow this project closely and will post an update when I hear more.