The Planning Department isn’t making it easy for new grocery chains to move into the Castro, and now the issue is over paid parking. The City wants to require both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s to plan for paid parking spaces in the limited lot space they would have at their proposed locations — Whole Foods’ at the S&C; Ford location across from Safeway, and Trader Joe’s all-but-abandoned plan to move into the Tower Records space at Noe and Market. The City thinks paid parking will help discourage people from driving, and avoid “queuing problems” on the streets outside the garages. The Chron reports today that the Whole Foods deal is now stalled over the issue, and both the developer of the site (which will also have condos) and Whole Foods are looking at paid parking only as a last resort. Trader Joe’s let go of their lease on the Tower Records space last month, though they might still come back to the bargaining table if the City compromises with them.
Says Adam Smith, a Whole Foods design coordinator, “”I wouldn’t say we’re at an impasse. It’s a great site, a great urban location, with Muni right at the front door. But the reality is, people will drive.”
Also of note, the Whole Foods opening in the Upper Haight is delayed until February.
So if the City’s so sensitive about parking, how the hell did that Whole Foods at Franklin and California get approved with their teensy bumper-car parking lot and virtually no public transit access? And what of the Trader Joe’s on Masonic with their forever packed parking lot? At least these two Market Street locations, would, conceivably, be walkable and train-able for a large number of people.
That’s the answer, by the way, in case the City is listening. Make the parking nightmarishly small and dangerous! People get discouraged from driving when parking is a nightmare, as it is at that Pacific Heights Whole Foods. Paid parking would be a moot point since it’s still maddeningly cramped in there no matter what.
Parking threatens to curb Whole Foods in the Castro [Chron]
Earlier: Trader Joe’s Puts Castro Move on Hold [SF Business Times]