Convenient Grocery Stores in Mixed Use Neighborhoods Are an Important Policy Goal

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The program that Allyson Schwartz traded for a vote for food stamp cuts doesn’t actually do what it purports to do – get lower-income people to buy and eat healthier foods – but I do want to stick up for its credentials as a transportation program.

The lack of supermarkets and full service grocery stores in low-income areas is a problem, because it sucks carrying all your groceries on the bus or train, and this is just one more thing that nudges people toward owning cars in the city.

It’s good to have convenient access to grocery stores, regardless of whether you plan to buy healthy food at them or not, and public policy at the state and local level should make it really easy to locate grocery stores in urban areas. The top policy levers here are not forcing grocery store developers to supply parking, and letting them sell booze.

This entry was posted in Governor, Land Use, Transportation.

5 Responses to Convenient Grocery Stores in Mixed Use Neighborhoods Are an Important Policy Goal

  1. Michael Noda says:

    Amen. The other thing I would add is to offer tax credits for vaulting a supermarket up to the second floor, a la the 2nd/Girard SuperFresh, to minimize the amount of blank wall presented to the street.

    The issues Bart Blatstein has had with renting out the street-level storefronts aside, 2nd/Girard is pretty much what we want/need for the future of urban supermarkets.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      Agreed, that’s a great design. Except for all the parking..

      • Michael Noda says:

        Agreed, they were way too conservative, and by conservative I mean wastefully profligate, with the parking supply. That’s disappointing but not actually surprising, given the unusually large size and shape of the parcel. But for a full-service supermarket, having zero off-street parking is unrealistic. (Also, it’s the perfect location for a multi-vehicle carsharing pod, for those as think they need a car for shopping trips.) So the one thing to fix with the design is cutting the parking supply in about half…

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