I thought I would take a Google Streetview tour to explore a phenomenon I’ve noticed about Safeway stores in Vancouver. See if you can spot the trend.
Ah yes. They all have ample parking. In fact the Safeway Model seems to favour cars over pedestrians. For these stores in Vancouver, the trend is an enormous building footprint surrounded by acres of surface parking. This surface parking is disastrous for pedestrian movement, particularly at the busy Kitsilano store on West 4th Ave where cars and pedestrians have to continuously battle for space and priority. Also, the last image is the store located next to the Commercial-Broadway SkyTrain Station – is this how we should be developing transit hubs?
To be fair, there are a few exceptions. Like the West End Safeway on Davie Street, or the Broadway and Macdonald Street store, below, which have underground parking.
Still, the unusually large driveway, blank walls and drive-through RBC ATM create a particularly unpleasant street realm for pedestrians. This clear favoritism of cars over people and incredibly wasteful use of land that is beloved by the American grocery chain might soon be at its end.
Here is what is happening on the former parking lot of the IGA store at Broadway and Arbutus. Goodbye, Safeway Model.