Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ashland co-op should emphasize auto alternatives

As related by Vickie Aldous on June 4 on the Medford Mail Tribune and Ashland Daily Tidings websites, the Ashland Food Co-op proposes that Ashland change a law limiting drive-through windows in its historic downtown:
“The co-op, which is in the historic downtown area, doesn’t want a drive-thru window for itself.
“But the busy grocery store — which often has a jam-packed parking lot — is interested in purchasing the property next door that houses Umpqua Bank. The co-op could then expand its parking area, according to city planning documents.
“A deal between the co-op and bank is unlikely unless Umpqua can get city approval for a drive-thru window within the historic downtown area.
“The co-op has proposed a change in the law to allow relocating the four grandfathered drive-thru windows in the historic downtown. To minimize visual impacts, the drive-thru facility would have to be located mainly underground or be screened from view from public streets.”
 As a member/owner of the Ashland Food Co-op, I would like to see the co-op put as much effort into promoting a ride share among its members and Rogue Valley Transportation District use as it does toward trying to secure the use of more parking spots.

Allowing Umpqua Bank to transfer the location of its drive-through window seems reasonable and fair, but is only a short-term fix.

As the co-op continues to grow in operation, it will continue to perpetuate an ever-increasing need for more parking space.

Just as it responded to the values of its membership when it ceased single-serving bottled water sales, I believe that the Ashland Food Co-op should lead the way toward reduced dependence upon cars.

Update: a version of this entry was posted June 7 as a letter to the editor by the Ashland Daily Tidings.

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