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Crenshaw Residents Fighting New Fresh & Easy Over Parking Lot

Crenshaw residents want a proposed Fresh and Easy lot behind the store, unlike this one in Arcadia.  Photo: ##
Crenshaw residents want a proposed Fresh and Easy lot behind the store, unlike this one in Arcadia. Photo: ##

The Segundo-based Fresh & Easy grocery store chain has earned high marks from environmental advocates for their LEED certified green building designs and hybrid-diesel trucking fleet.  However, the issue of where they place their parking lots and the impact that placement has on urban walkability may trip the green giant's plan to open a store on Crenshaw Avenue.

The Wave Newspapers report that residents of South Los Angeles are tired of second-class establishments and car dealerships popping up on Crenshaw Avenue and want the area to resemble the retail and pedestrian districts found in other parts of the city.  While they were excited that the supermarket chain wanted to build in their community, they're offended that the proposed design would qualify as a strip mall under the Crenshaw Specific Plan.  Strip malls are banned under the specific plan, but Fresh and Easy got a exception which the community is fighting at the City Council.

What makes a grocery store a strip mall?  The location of the parking lot has a lot to do with it.  In the case of the proposed Fresh & Easy along Crenshaw, the lot would be at the front of the store, separating the entrance from the sidewalk.  The Wave notes that you don't see this design in other communities with Specific Plans.

The Hyde Park Organizational Partnership for Empowerment explains:

“The Fresh and Easy on Central and Adams is exactly like we want ours to be,” declared Winnie Jackson, president of HOPE. “Our plan specifically forbids strip malls and that is what Fresh and Easy is proposing to give us. They plan to build on the lot next to an adjacent structure and the rest of the lot is for parking. We don’t want parking on the corner. We want the building on the corner, not cars. Otherwise, it’s a strip mall.

“We fought long and hard to get this specific plan in place, not to have companies like Fresh and Easy show up and not have to comply with our plan. Don’t get me wrong,” Jackson continued. “We are not against Fresh and Easy. We just want them to comply with the plan."

If you want to see what the Fresh and Easy at South and Central looks like, Fresh & Easy Buzz gives us a view.  It's no wonder the people living near Crenshaw want a community design instead of the sea of asphalt design pictured above.

Fresh & Easy. Central & Adams.  Image via ##Fresh & Easy Buzz##
Fresh & Easy. Central & Adams. Image via ##Fresh & Easy Buzz##

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