College Ave Safeway Runs Afoul of City Rules

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Construction of the College Avenue Safeway project has recently slowed to a crawl due to several factors:

  • One, over which nobody had control, was the weather. This years rainy December stalled much of Safeways outside work - now focused on the plaza area.
  • A second factor was trying to coordinate scheduling with the utility providers - PG&E and East Bay MUD - who needed to install underground pipes and conduits before streets and sidewalks could be finished.
  • A third factor was that Safeways late start of construction (due to changing the construction plans from those approved in 2012) meant that construction was not finished by November. However, Oakland has placed a moratorium on street and sidewalk work between Halloween and New Years on major commercial streets, including College Avenue.

The moratorium is intended to protect the local merchants, who are especially dependent on easy access and available on-street parking during the hectic (and profitable) holiday shopping season. Safeways delay brought it into conflict with the moratorium, even though the city had already given them an extra three weeks of work - through mid-November. Safeway asked for an extension through New Years Day, and a permit was mistakenly issued - in violation of the moratorium.

When the mistake was uncovered, the city invalidated the permit and issued a "stop work" order against Safeways work on College Avenue. The city allowed work on the Claremont Avenue side to continue. Since then, Safeway appears to have violated the city rules by continuing work on College - including stopping traffic for construction vehicles, much to the dismay of nearby merchants.

These incidents have been brought to the citys attention by merchants and others.

In any case, in January, College Avenue work will presumably resume at full tilt, although the store opening now looks to be delayed until at least February.