Livable Streets Community News: Accessible Grocery Stores & More

Kroger.JPGHow can ped access to grocery stores like Kroger be improved? Image via Wikipedia.

Our New York readers who’ve been keeping close tabs on the stalled MTA rescue will want to check out the South Bronx Livable Streets group this week, where Susan Donovan has been blogging about the saga, including yesterday’s protest at Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr.’s office. The group is also a great place to join up with others working on issues such as waterfront access in the Lower Concourse rezoning.

Elsewhere, Maura McCormick in Dayton, Ohio shares this success story about improving pedestrian access to her local grocery store:

Many months ago I submitted a comment to Kroger via their website
asking them to make a safer, more accessible path between their store and the Route 12 bus stop to
the east. Currently, one must walk either through a drainage ditch,
behind some bushes in the entrance for cars or climb over a mound.
There is no way to get to or from this stop safely and easily walking,
let alone pushing a cart or in a wheelchair.

The store manager has been working to address her request, and she’s just received word that a new sidewalk between the bus stop and the store is probably on the way. Maura’s fired up for more…

I am very encouraged by this victory and would like to ask for more changes from more grocery stores, grade them on the availability and quality of car-free access they offer after they’ve had some time to respond to our requests and send out a press release with all of their grades and an explanation.

She’s asking people to respond to her through her discussion topic, What are your grocery store car-free access problems?

Wrapping up this week, a group of University of Chicago undergrads have started Chicago Open Space Study to post field notes, photos, and observations of Millennium Park. They’ve chosen this space because "it is the newest and most acclaimed public space in Chicago [and] has a history of criticism for its cost and — as some claim — pervasive security measures." They welcome others to comment on their experience of the park as well.

  • We are expert witnesses on a case where a woman was walking through a parking lot on her way to work, from the bus, and was hit by a snowplow and seriously injured. We are working with her lawyer to demonstrate via observations, research, and on site data collection that the design of the parking lot, the lack of a safe and more direct route from the bus stop to the stores, the absence of sidewalks, lights, speed bumps, parking lot lane markings etc. contributed directly to her accident. Bottom line, in these kinds of environments, we want to establish the liability of the business owners for the safety of patrons and their culpability should their neglect of these spaces lead to accidents. The case goes to trial in Philadelphia in May. If they leave their parking lots a mess and don’t provide for safe routes for people they can be sued. That’s the stick.

  • Cynthia,

    That’s interesting. Keep us posted on how your case goes, would you? Is this unprecedented or has anyone ever won a law suit like this before?

    Also, are you going to argue that the municipality is also responsible for the design of the streets?

    Can’t the businesses just respond to you by saying: Well, zoning allows us — even encourages us — to design our properties like this. Sue City Planning if you don’t like it.

  • Thank you for the mention Lily! I just started that group and already I’m a celebrity!

    I just made one correction to that blog post; it’s really a drainage field, not a ditch. There are at least three big ones around the parking lot there.

    Cynthia, you are so right to be working to establish the liability and culpability of businesses (and municipalities too Aaron). I suspect that a major factor in this victory was the danger of people getting hit while walking in the east auto entrance to the store, where they often do and motorists can’t see them well. I was sure to make that point in my initial message to Kroger.

    Another thing that could shake businesses from their complacency regarding car-free access is the threat of being charged with a violation of the Americans with Disability Act. If anyone knows of a precedent for this, I’d love to know about it.

  • Awesome news! The city of Davis, CA seems to go to great strides to even make sure their strip malls have good accessibility and tons of bike parking. I have pictures of bike parking if anyone needs.

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