I cross the Safeway parking lot everyday on my way home from work and always feel as if I’m putting my life in danger. A man died in August of 2005, when he slipped and fell and was hit by one of the large food trucks that are constantly coming in and out of the busy lot. There are no walkways across the vast parking area, the sidewalks are just short extensions of the main entrances, designed to make you walk through the store instead of around it. The store caters to the car culture, not pedestrians.
When I was active with the Westside Food Collaborative, we offered a tour of local grocery stores as part of a survey of food access in our neighbourhoods. We were looking at the size and number of stores and how they were distributed in the neighbourhood. We compared prices and whether or not the stores stocked fresh, healthy and culturally appropriate foods. Many mid-size local grocers serve as a community gathering place in addition to providing food within easy walking distance. Community-minded grocers consider the community they reside in and what their needs are. We have a large seniors population on the westside, many of them walk or take transit and are not as able to sprint across the lot. Ironically, Safeway is a member of the Safer Parking initiative, which is geared to anti-theft measures, but obviously the program doesn’t consider the safety of pedestrians.
Although it is not my main grocery store, I do shop at Safeway a few times a month. Perhaps if they made their parking lot more inviting, I might feel more welcome there.