Land Use Update: College Ave Safeway, Rockridge Shopping Center/Merrill Gardens, College Ave. Zoning

Saturday, December 13, 2014

College Avenue Safeway Project- College and Claremont Avenues Construction of the Safeway building is nearing completion, but there have been more glitches. In response to merchant concerns about the lack of parking in the pre-Thanksgiving week, Safeway agreed to temporarily reopen on-street parking on the east side of College Avenue. However, as of November 30, Safeway has stated the parking will again disappear between December 1 and December 6. RCPC will ask the city to insist that Safeway leave the College Avenue on-street parking spaces available for the shopping public until after Christmas, and, if possible, open the College Avenue sidewalk area, too. Local merchants shouldn't have to suffer because of Safeway's construction delays. Meanwhile, the Safeway store's opening has again been delayed, and it is not expected to open until mid-January. Construction of the retail building lags even further, as does approval of its tenants. Don't expect that building to open before late January.

The oak tree to be planted next to the College and Claremont intersection is still in the plans. Judicious pruning may be needed in the future to ensure visibility of the newly installed traffic signal. Once the Safeway does open, expect some traffic disruption on both College and Claremont avenues.

Call RCPC at 869-4200 or e-mail info@rockridge.org to report problems regarding the construction area or problems such as significant increases in cut-through traffic on streets west of College.

Rockridge Shopping Center/Merrill Gardens Senior Housing Project- Broadway and Pleasant Valley/51st St.
Demolition in preparation for both these large projects is expected to begin in December. Parking at the Rockridge Shopping Center will be reduced to allow space for construction "staging" - the storage of construction equipment and supplies. It may become more difficult to go between the remaining Safeway building and the AAA building to its south. Parking for construction workers will likely also be on-site. For the Merrill Gardens project on the other side of Broadway, construction parking will be on the southwest side of 51st Street (where the giant billboard is). Expect some additional congestion at the Broadway/Pleasant Valley/51st Street intersections for quite a while to come. You may want to look for alternative routes, such as along Telegraph Avenue or MacArthur Boulevard.

College Ave Retail Zoning Study
RCPC representatives met with city staff members to discuss a possible study of College Avenue retail zoning. The wide-ranging discussion covered topics such as: the appropriate size threshold for requiring use permits; whether limits should be placed on the extension of use permits to businesses subsequent to the original permit grantee (presently there are none); and how to maintain an appropriate balance of uses on College in the face of the increasing shift of retail sales towards the Internet. A follow-up meeting is tentatively set for December. There may be a future RCPC Town Hall to open the discussion up to the broader Rockridge community. Provide your thoughts: phone (869-4200) or e-mail info@rockridge.org.