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: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/frazgo/1486846350/##Frazgo/Flickr##
Crenshaw residents want a proposed Fresh and Easy lot behind the store, unlike this one in Arcadia. Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/frazgo/1486846350/##Frazgo/Flickr##

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##http://freshneasybuzz.blogspot.com/2010/02/fresh-easy-store-opens-its-doors-in.html##
Fresh & Easy. Central & Adams. Image via ##Fresh & Easy Buzz##http://freshneasybuzz.blogspot.com/2010/02/fresh-easy-store-opens-its-doors-in.html##
  • Chris L

    Good for this community for standing up for their plan. What’s the use in putting all the effort into planmaking if a developer can just ignore it? Its like they said, nothing against Fresh & Easy, just make it comply with the plan.

    Strip malls ARE nasty. For me, still an LA newbie, its the #1 thing that makes this city hard to love. This city’s filled with beautiful buildings, but to truly appreciate them, you have to squint to avoid looking at the asphalt laden strip malls that always flank them.

  • Erik G.

    Of course the way we in the USA design parking lots versus how parking lots in, say, Holland, are designed says a ton about how we value the potential customer who might be approaching the store by means other than an internal-combustion engine.

    http://www.kleissen.nl/images1/Image/projecten/IKEA_Groningen_2005_a-BIG.jpg
    http://cf2.vgtstatic.com/thumbll/5/0/50794-v1.jpg
    http://meiadeleite.com/wp-content/uploads/8.jpg

  • mark vallianatos

    and for standing up for stores connecting to sidewalks/ streets/ people. Fresh & Easy should use some of the space in front for a cafe or seating to attract more walk in customers and for bike racks

  • When the curvature of the earth prevents you from spotting a grocery store, something has gone wrong.

  • la rider

    Good 4 them. Parking lot in the front is a horrible design.

  • I’m glad they’re fighting this fight. And I’d encourage them to make sure that there’s a store entrance at the front on the sidewalk.

    It always dismays me that I have to walk around to the back of my local Trader Joes, local produce market, and local bank to enter through the parking lot. It really kills the street life on that block.

  • Joseph E

    The Fresh & Easy in Long Beach on 7th (near Alamitos Beach and close to Downtown) was put in a remodeled building. The enterance is on a parking lot next to the building, but most of the parking is away from the main street, and the signs are right up on the sidewalk. I wish they could have cut a couple of windows into the wall along 7th, but considering what this store looked like before, adding better signs, better lighting, and making it pedestrian-accessible was a good improvement.

    I’ve noted that at least half the customers arrive on foot or by bike. They really need a bigger bike rack.

    Streetview, BEFORE: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=fresh+%26+easy+near+long+beach+ca&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=54.22533,79.013672&ie=UTF8&hq=fresh+%26+easy&hnear=Long+Beach,+Los+Angeles,+California&ll=33.775342,-118.174113&spn=0,0.154324&t=h&z=13&layer=c&cbll=33.775343,-118.17399&panoid=BLzSe8xRMBifCtHK1FojVA&cbp=12,221.06,,0,2.83

    The store now has lighting along 7th, a better sidewalk and ramp, new plants, and new paint and windows.

  • I’ve often wondered why the only choices are put the parking in front or put the parking behind a store.
    Why aren’t more stores designed sideways (facing towards the flow of traffic), so both cars and pedestrians would have equally easy access from the main street?

  • Erik G.

    I keep forgetting that F&E is owned by Tesco. Hey, why not get someone from the UK to look at the parking lots?

    These are nicer than what we usually get in the USA:
    http://www.en4m.org.uk/files/tesco_0.jpg
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/southeast/slideshows/images/pontypool/tesco.jpg
    http://www.sfxtechnologies.com/images/news/tesco_parking.jpg
    http://edinburghnapiernews.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/221940750_c3fdcf2d77.jpg?w=350&h=263

    Of course, I am not looking forward to the coming Tesco Wars:

  • Actually, that is the Fresh and Easy on Valley and Rosemead. The store faces Rosemead but the entrance is adjacent to the sidewalk on Valley. The sea of parking is basically surrounding the store but away from the street, on the other side of the store. Too bad the store just opened but it is a design that works.

  • yyy

  • Dear La Streets Blog Editor:

    Thanks for the link to our blog – Fresh & Easy Buzz.

    Please note however, that as it clearly states on the Fresh & Easy Buzz blog front page, we are an independent blog and not affiliated with Tesco’s Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market or any of its competitors.

    Would you please correct the sentence (reproduced) below to reflect the fact we’re independent and have nothing to do with the grocer Fresh & Easy:

    “If you want to see what the Fresh and Easy at South and Central looks like, Fresh and Easy’s blog gives us a view.”

    Thank You
    Fresh & Easy Buzz Editor

  • It’s fixed. Sorry.

  • To: Damien Newton

    Thank you very much for fixing it. Feel free to delete my initial comment if you like.

    Editor
    Fresh & Easy Buzz

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