November 18, 2008

Forget Whole Foods - Noe Needs a Parking Lot

At least that's what some commenters over at The Front Steps would have you believe. They seem to think that the only way to keep Noe Valley vibrant and a "charming little neighborhood" is to tear down Bell Market and pave it over so that more people can drive here and shop. Given that the Noe Valley Merchants Association has long fought for more parking, we're going to go ahead and postulate that they are behind the campaign to keep Whole Foods far away from here. They're not against Whole Foods - they just don't want it in our back yard. A parking lot would be better.

Also claimed: Whole Foods is evil because they are a large chain store. Good thing we don't have any of those here.

So what do you think? Should Noe Valley lobby for a parking lot in the middle of the strip? (We could be just like Burlingame.) How 'bout we make 24th St. a pedestrian and bike mall?

Update: An NVPMA board member let us know that they are not organizing this campaign at this time: "While I don't believe that we've taken an official position on Whole Foods, the general consensus among the NVMPA board and members seems to be that Whole Foods' arrival is, to borrow Martha's line, a Good Thing."

[The Front Steps: Battle Royale: Cole Valley Vs. Noe Valley]

14 comments:

malia said...

i won't comment on the parking situation, but i do think that whole foods will be really bad for the neighborhood. the traffic on 24th street is already a disaster, and whole foods will just make it more of a mess...not to mention even more yuppified. we need a grocery store in the neighborhood, just not a whole paycheck. i love bell market and i'm sad to see it go.

"Dave" said...

People who like Bell Market and desire better parking should just drive themselves up to the Safeway in Diamond Heights... I personally welcome Whole Foods to the neighborhood.

I'm always dismayed when people fear and reject any form of gentrification. (Walmart, I can understand, but only in San Francisco would people reject a store like Whole Foods...) Ask somebody what Noe was like 30 years ago and decide whether or not you want to go back to that.

It's the same kind of BS in the Mission. People cry fowl if somebody wants to invest money to fix up the place but conveniently look the other way as the murder count reaches record levels.

bats said...

I'm with Dave on this. I think the traffic and parking situation will be no different than it is today with the Bell market.

Also, a viable, stable tenant will be a plus for the community in the longer term -- as opposed to a parking lot or an empty store post-Bell, neither of which would do anything for the "village" feeling of 24th street or for the property values in central Noe.

For me, I welcome a market with a different product mix than the nearby Safeways. I live in upper Noe Valley, near Alice's, and walk to 24th street regularly to do my shopping. I'm looking forward to this new store as a source of specialty items and interesting things to prepare at home.

bats said...

Add: Regarding additional parking, why not continue the space-enhancing diagonal parking experiment on Castro at 25th? It could easily be extended another block, maybe two. And to my eye it even looks like there's enough room to install it on both sides of Castro street.

Trixie said...

One would think the tough traffic on 24th would encourage people to park their cars on side streets and just walk on over to 24th -- and Whole Foods.

I can't WAIT for it to open. Bell Market's offerings are dated and out of step with the neighborhood, and I'm more than ready to break out that granny cart and walk over to WF to do my weekly shopping.

Gwenny said...

It's great to see all of the comments. I hope that Whole Foods won't make it too crazy on 24th. Someone suggested that they do what Molly Stone's does at Tower and run a shuttle around. As far as diagonal on Castro, my store is on the block that has it. It can't go on both sides because the buses can't get through. It gets too congested. It could continue down in front of Walgreen's I guess, which would add only a couple more spots. Maybe across the street in front of the Peaks instead. The only real solution to traffic and parking is City Car Share, or an improved MUNI in reality. There are only so many cars you can cram into this city and the traffic noise/pollution takes away from living and shopping here, to me anyway.

murphstahoe said...

don't forget bikes Gwenny :)

anna b said...

Quoting Dave
"Ask somebody what Noe was like 30 years ago and decide whether or not you want to go back to that. "

What is that supposed to mean? I grew up in Noe Valley in the 70's and it was amazing! Less crowded, no parking issues, wonderful small businesses. Also, there were THREE grocery stores, two Cala markets and the Bell Market. And of course, less crime and less congestion in general. It would be a DREAM to go back to that time.

murphstahoe said...

People trying to get to whole foods and having trouble finding a parking spot could always just double park in front of Pasta Gina. Nobody seems to have a problem with that... except me of course. Am I really alone on this one?

anna b said...

Ooops, memory failed me, there were actually two Bell Markets and one Cala.

And btw, I would enjoy a Whole Foods, am not against it.

Anonymous said...

I'm thrilled to see Whole Foods move into Noe Valley. Bell Market is just not that great. I'm within walking distance, so parking isn't an issue for me. People with cars can shop anywhere, including the other Whole Foods markets with bigger lots. This is definitely a positive change. Now, if only something can be done about the Real Food blight across the street.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of anything if the only anchor store on 24th Street closes most small stores will close. We need more walking and biking and less parking. What use is parking if there's nowhere to shop?
Bevan Duffy needs to actually do something about the whole business, he apperas to be hiding these days....

Anonymous said...

Whole foods should tear down the existing building and replace it with two stories -- one for parking and one for store. Either both above ground or one basement level and one street level. Heck, I'd love to see two levels of housing above that. Either way, I'd love to see that stretch of sidewalk have a storefront to look at and not a parking lot.

Anonymous said...

We need less parking, less cars, less driving.

Why encourage more traffic by putting in more parking spaces. I would make 24th between Sanchez and Noe "Child Friendly" and ban cars.

They have done this for decades in Europe. Why have your child slammed by an angry driver on a cell-phone making a left turn out of Bell/WholeFoods?

Leave the car at home, walk to the grocery store (take the kids along for some exercise) and say Hi to your neighbor, not give them the finger while you block the sidewalk waiting to pull out on to a crowded 24th St.