Land Use Report: College Ave. Safeway, Rockridge Center Rebuild, Off-Street Parking Requirements

Saturday, June 8, 2013

College Avenue Safeway Project, College and Claremont Avenues: This project, modified extensively by a settlement agreement between Safeway and community groups in Rockridge and Elmwood, is moving toward closing and demolition of the current store this summer. (If you see people in white "hazmat" suits on the site, they're exploring to ensure that hazardous or toxic materials such as asbestos or PCBs are identified for safe disposal.) Construction of the new store and shopping building should begin late this year, and is expected to take approximately a year.

The 60 percent construction drawings have been released and will be reviewed by the three community groups to ensure that "value engineering" - i.e., reducing project costs - doesn't cheapen the store or eliminate any hard-fought concessions extracted from Safeway during the settlement negotiations.

Safeway has leased the former Shell station site on the southwest corner of College and Claremont avenues to serve as an equipment staging area during project demolition and construction phases.

Rockridge Shopping Center Rebuild and Expansion Project, Broadway and Pleasant Valley Avenue

Safeway's second Rockridge area project is to rebuild and enlarge this major shopping area, adding about 120,000 sq. ft. and including a larger (65,000 sq.ft.) Safeway. City planner Darin Ranelletti (238-3663; reports that additional traffic measurements and analysis are being done to address community concerns about cut-through traffic on residential streets, including Coronado and John streets. He expects the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to be released in July, after which the Planning Commission will hold a hearing to consider project approval.
Project documents are available on the Planning Department's website:, and the draft EIR is available at the Rockridge Branch Library.
Offstreet Parking Requirements, Citywide Rezoning, Phase 2
Based on many comments received (especially from the owners of commercial buildings) during phase 1 of the citywide rezoning two years ago, the Planning Department is considering modifying offstreet parking requirements for commercial and residential projects. This fits with the General Plan's emphasis on encouraging transit use at transit hubs and along major transit corridors. This may reduce the minimum parking requirements for new development in such areas, including Rockridge. This is a matter of concern if it would lead to more severe parking "crunches" in the bordering residential areas, especially when many older homes and apartment buildings have neither garages nor driveways. According to planner Darin Ranelletti, the department expects to release a report and perhaps an accompanying proposal by July. RCPC will be following this issue closely.