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Lyell Ave. Wegmans


When a Wegmans opened in Columbia, Maryland, there were the usual concerns over how the superstore would impact mom and pops. But there was another concern. With Wegmans less than two miles from a village, residents were interested in walking over. They found it wasn’t easy, Patch reports:

But, at least in Owen Brown–a village center that has two pizza places, a bar, a McDonald’s, and three places to get a haircut–some are talking about how to embrace the new super-retailer, and find a way for residents to walk there.

“There’s not a safe way to walk to Wegmans,” said Howard County Councilwoman Jen Terrasa, who represents Owen Brown, along with King’s Contrivance, North Laurel and Savage. “I heard from a lot of residents who are walking distance from Wegmans who would like to walk over there.”


Wendy Webster, manager of the Wegmans in Columbia, said she has not heard any concerns from residents about a lack of access, but said they have modified the curb to be more handicapped-friendly and added bicycle racks.

“We’re working hard to make sure that we’re accessible,” Webster said. “If there’s someone from the community who wants to partner with us, if we need to do more, I’d be open to listen.”

But Webster said there are currently no specific plans to change pedestrian access to the store.

Besides East Ave., is there a walkable Wegmans in Monroe County? I would occasionally walk to my job at Driving Park and I would always ride the bus with my grandmother to get her groceries at Midtown. But those stores are history.

Building stores away from villages and cities means you have to get there by car. That’s long been an accepted part of big box shopping. That’s why I thought it was interesting Wegmans’ newest home asked, “Why can’t we walk to Wegmans?”

Links of the Day:

– Like Rochester, Buffalo is cracking down on convenience stores. Buffalo’s efforts have focused on stolen goods, but there are also quality of life concerns.

– Thinking of switching to an ESCO? National Grid data shows customers end up paying more.

– …”when teachers point out the relationship between income and achievement, they’re not shirking responsibility. They’re just stating an inconvenient truth.

Welcome back to Rochester, John Lithgow.

10 Responses to Walkable Wegmans

  1. East Ridge by East Irondequoit, Hudson-Titus plaza. Both are older stores. I keep expecting to hear that one or both is closing.

  2. Baytowne is walkable if you are in the area along Bay Road behind the store.

  3. You come up with some beauties Rach, but this one is absolutely absurd. What is Wegman’s or any other retailer supposed to do? Construct the infrastructure for every town they’re near? How ridiculous. Do they need to build sidewalks so residents of Hopewell can get to the Canandaigua Wegman’s? Get real.
    Maybe what the retailers need to do is partner with local transportation services to provide a means to their stores. This used to be done at the senior complex my Mom lived at. Why not suggest that to Wendy?

  4. September 18, 2012 at 9:26 am Havahd St responds:

    What they can do is adapt their store model to their surroundings. Too many retailers have only one model for a store rather than molding the store to the surroundings. One thing that is frequently involved is the amount of parking. Lots of stores/zoning require that stores have parking available for the maximum shopping time (XMas), when they almost never need that much. This creates a huge empty space around the store making it inconvenient to walk.
    Think about the RIte-Aid on Monroe Ave. It has a large parking lot made for 100+ cars, while lots of people walk and bike to that store, leaving a large, empty parking lot that is an eyesore.
    Make the store fit the neighborhood!

  5. Maybe if Wegmans stopped selling beautiful produce, we could all return back to the days of growing our own too! Argh…damn you Wegmans! You’re making me drive there AND spend $40 or more on a lousy little bag of groceries!

    Next store must have underground tunnels so we can walk there rain or shine. Or better yet, a sky walk so we can still enjoy the scenery. Please mandate that planning boards require this with every Wegmans proposal.

  6. They will walk to Wegmans thinking that they just want to buy a pack of gum & leave needing a van-sized taxi ride home!

  7. September 18, 2012 at 10:55 am Aaron Read responds:

    The Geneva NY Wegmans is pretty walkable, especially with its proximity to HWS Colleges, but it’s also older and smaller.

    Wegmans has been experimenting with plans to expand into Boston with smaller stores, but it’s not as simple as some people think. Wegmans has a very established brand and people expect a certain look, feel and selection whenever they go into one. Accomplishing that with a smaller footprint can be very, very difficult. And reducing parking access means you’re also unconsciously prodding customers to buy less (can’t carry as much walking as you could throw in the car) which is not necessarily a bad thing but it DOES mean you have to increase volume of shoppers to make up for the loss of volume in product. That means the location needs to be in a high-density neighborhood (of which Monroe County has few, if any) and the store itself needs its interior and product lineup designed around shoppers who are hand-carrying all their items home…a design that tends to mitigate AGAINST the more traditional cart-n-car shopper.

    For those who cry “make the store fit the neighborhood” – the satellite photo above shows mostly single-family homes with driveways surrounding the store. A car-driven design *IS* fitting that neighborhood.

  8. September 18, 2012 at 1:28 pm Kevin Yost responds:

    The new East Henrietta/Calkins Wegman’s is walkable.

  9. Walking to a store is nothing compared to walking home with groceries.

  10. Parking garages. Storefront at the road, parking garage under it. Smaller footprint, no plowing, lower initial cost for land. Haven’t any of you been to NY, San Francisco, London or anywhere where land is expensive? Parking garages are the norm. The ‘refusal’ of developers here to build parking garages stems from 2 things: cheap developers who don’t want the initial cost of the garage and municipalities that allow land to be paved over in trade for those cesspool geese infested retaining pools called ‘ponds’. The old myth of garages being unsafe is just that.
    Pave, pave, pave. And then we don’t even build sufficiently deep and dense parking lot and road sub-bases to allow us to not have to re-pave, re-pave, re-pave every 5 years. Asphalt vs concrete. Concrete wins.

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