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Wegmans East Ave.

 

The new East Avenue Wegmans has been open for a month. Customers love the store, but I hear a lot of kvetching about the parking lot.

The East Ave. Wegmans is forcing us to rethink the big box store in the city. The planners didn’t get it perfect (The Winton and University sides of the building look like a prison). But it did get the parking right. The complaints shine a light on our car-centric, suburban-shopping mentality.

1. “There are not enough parking spaces.” 

There are far fewer parking spaces than we will find at a suburban Wegmans. The project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement says, “Wegmans is proposing a total of 484 spaces, of which 352 will be surface spaces available to customers…In its suburban locations, Wegmans is providing between 400 and 850 parking spaces, with an average of 628 spaces. By Wegmans’ normal standards, the proposed Food Market would be under-parked by approximately 140 spaces.”

Except on opening day, I have yet to see the parking lot appear full. (Even on the first day, I got a spot.) Peak times are Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons, which Wegmans acknowledges could be dicey. Is it such a big deal for customers to have to circle a bit to find a spot or walk a little farther during peak times?

There is a consequence to building too much parking. Parking takes up space for greenery and development. It’s ugly. It is also not feasible to build an expansive parking lot in a dense urban area. Furthermore, there are surrounding businesses with a lot of empty parking lots during off-hours. Businesses should learn to share.

There’s simply no way Wegmans could have built a typical parking lot at East Ave.Keep in mind, parking lots are almost never full. Look at how parking eats up the Lyell Ave. store:

 

Lyell Ave. Wegmans

Lyell Ave. Wegmans

 

2. “There should be more than the two access points on East and University avenues.”

Wegmans predicted a 35 percent increase in traffic to the store. “Because of its urban location the trip rates for this store are skewed since many patrons frequent the store several times per week, often on their way home from work, versus completing one large shopping trip on the weekends, which is typical of other store locations.”

Wegmans’ traffic studies showed there could be backups during peak shopping times, but they weren’t horrible. I’ve been caught in a couple bottlenecks at the East Ave. store and waited no more than 10 minutes to enter or exit.

3. East and/or University should have been expanded to accommodate additional traffic to the store.

Wegmans addressed this in the EIS. “The traffic study does not warrant the addition of travel lanes. Reduction of travel lanes reduces traffic conflicts and makes travel safer. Also, a two lane layout on East Avenue to the west of the Project Site will meter volume of traffic through the area.”

On the issue of pedestrian safety:

“Wegmans has incorporated several mitigation measures to increase pedestrian safety:
– Reduced number of curb cuts, around entire project site, from 11 to 4
– Direct access to Market Café from East Avenue
– Sidewalks will surround site
– Truck maneuvering completely on-site, which limits vehicle/pedestrian/bike conflicts”

4. The curvy road down the middle of the parking lot is weird and frustrating.

It’s safer. Just imagine how cars would zip back and forth, making it difficult for shoppers to reach their cars on the other side of the lot.

When it came to mitigating impact of cars on the neighborhood, Wegmans did a rather good job. The rest is in our hands. Drive slowly in the parking lot. Look for customers and other cars before we back out of a parking space. Be patient when coming and going. Enjoy a new kind of shopping experience closer to home.

 

Links of the Day:

 

– This is an important read. Erie and Niagara counties added hundreds of miles of roads over the last two decades, even as the population dropped. Sprawl without growth is costly. That’s why developers building in outlying areas are lying when they say they’re adding to the tax base.

Cornell and Wegmans are teaming up to boost New York cheese.

Might not be able to call them 315-ers for much longer.

Buffalo News columnist is fed up with Terry Pegula.

Brogurt? Yogurt makers target men.

Beware of the turtle crossing the road.

It’s ROC Transit Day!

14 Responses to I Like Wegmans East Ave. Parking Lot

  1. When comparing to the Lyell Ave store, remember that the parking lot west of the building used to be the Chase Pitkins. With no one to take over the space, they tore it down (rather than maintain an empty structure), and built the parking lot and pond.

  2. Also, when entering the parking lot, if you cannot make the turn to the first parking row you see because other cars are blocking it, just keep going to the next! Don’t wait. You just make it slower for everyone.

  3. I pretty much agree with you, but using Lyell is a bit out of context. The store wasn’t built that way. The huge chunk of lot to the left of the store in that image used to be a Chase Pitkin. When that closed and nobody took on the space, they opted for that rather than an unused building.

  4. They should have kept the on street parking on east. The parking lot is giant and doesn’t fit in a city. They did good with landscaping and hiding it, but its a waste of space.

  5. June 20, 2013 at 3:49 pm Kevin Yost responds:

    The metro Rochester area is too automobile-dependent and centric anyhow. That’s why we have Roc Transit Day today.

  6. June 20, 2013 at 6:08 pm dan pearl responds:

    Excellent viewpoint Rachel! I once read a study that explained if you pulled into a large parking lot and just used an easily available space farthest from the door you would be walking past those trolling for the very close up spaces. I’ve found that true most of the time. Even quicker than the “lunatics” that speed into the lot frantically searching for that coveted close-in space. A quick look at our fellow shoppers reveals that most could use the extra exercise steps too. 🙂

  7. June 20, 2013 at 11:52 pm Cary Barnhart responds:

    The store at east ave is a monstrosity…period. At best ugly and so out of place.

  8. June 21, 2013 at 9:29 am pacquetsniffer responds:

    Incoming and outgoing traffic blocks internal lane egress, during “crowded” times. Liked the old store better. Had lots of character.

  9. I have to disagree – There are plenty of spots, especially compared to the old lot, getting to them (Safely!) is the issue. It may be a good design, but “the rest is up to us” is the problem. It’s not realistic to assume that people using the lot will slow down and be patient – they won’t! There are too many corners that increase the likelihood of bottle-necks, accidents etc. They should have skipped the restaurant and added another entrance/exit.

  10. What, no mention of the cool contraflow bike lane on Probert St and bike-only left turn lane on University and the new bike lanes on University? I hear the City is going to extend the bike lanes on University out past Blossom Rd to the west and to East Ave to the east. Should give credit to City planners/engineers who are actually making this place a fairly decent place to bike. Finally putting ROC on the map for something hip and progressive.

  11. June 22, 2013 at 9:58 am Orielly responds:

    Complain complain complain

    IF I was Danny & Colleen Wegman I would have put the 60 or so million they spent on the east ave Wegmans into a burb store in DC / Boston / NJ / Philly or a new market like Pittsburgh.

    And let East ave be the outdated too small market it was or close it entirely.

    The Wegmans have 1000s of communities not in Roch, that want them and will welcome them with open arms. Build what you want where you want is what they are told on the invite from other areas.

    Think the “Prison Wall” on East ave looks bad? Think the east ave. store is now an out of place monstrosity? How would a closed empty east ave former store look for 10yrs? How about a nice Tops like the one down the street on Winton?

    Meanwhile a new store would go up in Boston, costing the Wegmans far less with less hassles.

    IF your store that you use is the East Ave Wegmans you should be thankful for what you have now. It meets far more expectations and needs than no store.

    If not get your friends together save your money and build your own store in the area. See how you do against the competition from Wegmans.

  12. Hmmm… my issue is more with the layout of the lot. Car aisles seem narrower than typical. You must make a very sharp turn at corners of lot, making it hard to two cars to pass, creating jams. Seems like taking a few places out and thinking a bit smaller in terms of car content would not hurt. If you like that parking lot on a Saturday afternoon around 1 pm, you may also want to check out root canals, toenail fungus, and going camping for a couple weeks with the Kardashians.

  13. March 3, 2014 at 11:00 pm Don Murphy responds:

    I HATE the parking lot AND the limited access/egress. So much so that I now no longer shop at the store unless it is during off peak hours or an emergency. I love Wegmans, but I detoured to the Pittsford store today from Rochester to have dinner rather than deal with the East Ave issues.

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