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BEAUTIFUL SAFEWAY - but parking ???

Original post made by MP shopper, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park, on Dec 3, 2007

Having attended the grand opening Friday morning at 8:00 AM and returned Sunday afternoon to do some shopping, I come away with some thoughts.

The new Safeway is a beautiful grocery store with a huge variety of products from the ordinary to the up scale. The deli looks super and this store should be able to compete against Draegers and Andronico's on the high end without any doubt, yet be competitive with the other large chains on everyday goods. The prices are much better than Draegers on baked goods for sure.

However, what about the parking? Both times I visited the lot was full and congested. They have yet to build out the retail section, which is supposed to take another year. With the current parking problems, maybe they should give up on adding the retail and add more parking.

MP shopper

Comments (13)

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Posted by also shopped
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 3, 2007 at 8:35 am

I agree that the store is very nice and that the parking is a problem. Perhaps once construction is complete there will be more spots, without slots taken up by construction workers?

The new entrance/exit on Middle is quite worrisome. It backs up traffic turning from El Camino onto Middle, and because it's directly opposite an entrance at the gas station, introduces traffic turning onto Middle at the same place from both the store and gas station. Stupid.

And this is the intersection where there's talk of adding kids and families on bikes to a new bike tunnel? What a horribly unsafe idea.

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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 3, 2007 at 12:51 pm

Parking is pretty bad at Safeway.

Unfortunately, it is not just because of the construction crews. Ever since they paved and painted lines in the parking lot, I couldn't help but notice that the parking spaces are very very narrow. You will have to hit the next car when you open your door.

Someone was desperate for parking numbers in the planning stage. :-(

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Posted by Martin Engel
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Dec 3, 2007 at 1:04 pm

Parking is a problem at the Safeway, for sure. Will the Safeway abandon the underground parking in its former building? Wouldn’t that be at least a partial solution to provide adequate parking, especially with the parking needs for the new additional retail?

But, parking is, and will be even more so in the future, a problem for all of downtown and along El Camino. How big a deal would it be to re-zone for and require underground parking for any and all commercial construction (on lots of a certain size or bigger) along our 8,500 ft. of El Camino?

Eventually, parking will need to be eliminated on both sides of El Camino. Using the parking/curb lane for a bus only and turning lane would improve traffic flow and speed up buses. That will put a greater demand on downtown parking and multi-level parking will have to be taken far more seriously for our present downtown parking lots. For example, the California Ave. (PA) shopping area is successful because there are several readily accessible parking structures and even the inadequate parking at Molly Stone’s is balanced by parking in near-by multi-story structures.

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Posted by also shopped
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 3, 2007 at 4:51 pm

Safeway's underground parking is almost gone already. We tried to park there but there are new floor-to-ceiling barriers to the larger northern section. Although we didn't mind parking further up on Middle, that isn't an option for many people especially if they buy much or have kids in their carts.

With the love affair many seem to have with large vehicles, we should be getting LARGER spaces, not narrower ones. I fear that Joanna is right about trying to meet a planning number without consideration of appropriate sizes.

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Posted by safeway neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 3, 2007 at 9:42 pm

Safeway parking will remain limited for about a year as they remove the old building. They are looking into some underground parking -- but will most likely increase the parking footprint after construction is complete. Parking slots are also small I think to maximize space. It is rough going and I wish it could have been planned better.

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Posted by also shopped
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 4, 2007 at 8:46 am

I thought this did go through extensive planning. What happened? Does the city have inadequate rules or inadequate will to enforce them?

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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 4, 2007 at 12:09 pm

Also Shopped,

Money talks.

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Posted by JustWondering
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Dec 4, 2007 at 1:39 pm

Was this "approved" by Jellins-Winkler-Duboc? That would explain it.

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Posted by jenna
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 4, 2007 at 3:45 pm

Who cares! This store is amazing for our community, so it takes you 35 seconds longer to find a parking space people.. come on!

I've been there numerous times in the last week and it's really not THAT bad! Tell me you all have bigger fish to fry.

Good job Safeway and Menlo Park, the store looks awesome!

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Posted by Paul Collacchi
a resident of another community
on Dec 8, 2007 at 5:17 pm

City approvals for the Safeway are here: Web Link

From the Feb 26th staff report on parking:

...the City Council approved a rezoning ... for ... a new 65,017 square foot grocery store and attached 11,500-square-foot retail services structure (76,517square feet total). The construction, which is currently underway, is structured in phases to allow the grocery store to remain in operation while the site is improved.

Parking Reduction
The total number of off-street parking spaces would be 370. Relative to the 76,517 square feet of gross floor area in both the grocery store and retail services building, parking would be provided at a ratio of 4.83 spaces per 1,000 square feet. By comparison, the 2005 approval was for a ratio of 4.95 spaces per 1,000 square feet, and the pre-construction store featured a ratio of 4.59 spaces per 1,000 square feet. The applicant reports that the pre-construction store rarely, if ever, had a full parking lot, and that it is Safeway’s experience that the proposed number of spaces would adequately serve this facility even during peak periods.

The number of spaces would be below the ratio of 5 spaces per 1,000 square feet that is used as a guideline for retail spaces when conducting an administrative review of a parking reduction request. However, as stated in the parking reduction policy guidelines, other factors may be taken into account when determining an acceptable parking requirement. In this case, the experience of the pre-construction store operating adequately with a lower parking ratio is a significant factor. In addition, the presence of both a grocery store and retail services building generates the potential for shared parking, in which a consumer would visit more than one establishment at this site without generating an additional vehicle trip. Staff believes that the proposed ratio of 4.83 spaces per 1,000 square feet would be sufficient for this site.

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Posted by Bulldozer
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 8, 2007 at 6:34 pm

I just returned from visiting Safeway (5pm Saturday). I dreaded going because of all the negative comments about parking, but quickly found a spot very close to the front. On my way out, I saw 3 open spots in my row.

Of course, there were many people looking for that great spot near the front and holding up others. No doubt some continued to circle as I shopped.

The store is in its honeymoon phase as people go there to "check it out". Once the mystery decreases, the parking issue should improve. There are always other stores in the area to patronize for groceries, including the Sharon Heights Safeway which is smaller but quite nice.

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Posted by menlo park mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 9, 2007 at 9:43 am

Safeway is nice, vast, but nice. No one can beat Dreager's produce. Safeway is pretty but the produce was bad and still is. I am sticking with Dreager's. I don't need my running shoes to shop there. You get what you pay for.

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Posted by Super-Size This
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Dec 10, 2007 at 12:50 pm

Does anyone know how big the old Safeway was? This new one - listed as 65,000 sq ft in the above post - is "super-sized" to say the least. It puts the massive one in Redwood City to shame. And they are going to add 11,500 sq ft of other retail stuff as well???

What exactly was the council that approved this bemoth thinking - obviously they weren't real good at math (or visualization). So now a relatively big - but still friendly - grocery store has been exchanged for a mega-food-warehouse, complete with inadequate parking! What's next? Home Depot across the street??

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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