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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Is the New Safeway Really Safe?

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Wed, Mar 21, 2012 at 4:22 PM

So it's been almost an entire year since the Safeway on SE 28th and Hawthorne closed its doors. As promised, its shiny new replacement is open for buisness starting today. And they don't want you to forget it—my house alone received three notices in the mail.

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  • Randy Albright

But not all neighborhood patrons are as overjoyed as others (by others, I mean Sarah). Randy Albright, a local bike advocate and neighbor to the newest (and largest) Safeway in town, is working to reconfigure the mega store's funky traffic situation. As of now, the new underground parking garage funnels cars out onto the corner of SE 27th and Clay. Albright is concerned that the current system will boost traffic on a mellow, neighborhood street as well as hurt bike traffic along 27th and 26th—streets that the city dub as "shared roadways"(PDF). Ideally, Albright would like to have seen the Safeway traffic dump on to the already busy Hawthorne Ave.

While it's too late to completely reconstruct the parking garage's makeup, Albright is petitioning around the neighborhood for some significant traffic changes. "Although I'm not a huge fan, I would ultimately like to see a few speed tables up and down 27th and 26th, to be used as traffic calmers," says Albright. "Or some kind of method to divert traffic to Hawthorne." Albright made his intentions know at today's opening day, posting signs and encouraging folks to sign his petition.

Dan Anderson of Portland Bureau of Transportation, on the other hand, says that divvying out traffic to the streets surrounding Safeway was a better call: "PBOT development services worked toward achieving a balanced transportation plan for the Hawthorne Safeway," he says. "This means a plan goal is to distribute traffic in a balanced way on all the streets that border the grocery store. Having all cars access the store from Hawthorne only presented potential problems, especially during evening rush hour"

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