Eight years ago, Whole Foods Market bought a 4.2-acre site on the corner of Third Street and Third Avenue, steps from the infamous Gowanus Canal. Since then, the chain has had a ribbon-cutting and removed the toxic waste on the ground to the state’s satisfaction — but still there is no store. Whole Foods adjusted its plans because of the economy and community concerns about parking and traffic.

Pros: Whole Foods has garnered much acclaim for selling and promoting organic and natural products, for its exemplary employment practices, and for its overall good corporate citizenship. The new store, which will be built at 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street, will create several hundred local jobs, and add to Brooklyn’s grocery-shopping choices.

Cons: They intend to build 420 parking spaces, an excessive amount for an urban neighborhood, especially one in which only about 40% of households own cars. Oversupply of parking encourages people to drive rather than use mass transit or other more environmentally friendly modes of transportation, and more cars means more traffic in Park Slope and surrounding neighborhoods, which are already seeing a major upsurge in traffic from rapid development.

In addition, Whole Foods lacks a good transportation-management plan, which could make it easier for customers to access the store by mass transit, bicycle, or on foot. The company could take several easy steps to promote alternatives to driving.

3 Things the neighbors are complaining about:

* Eliminate at least one-third of the parking. Oversupply of parking encourages driving at the expense of better transit options, and promotes road congestion. 420 spaces are at least 100 more than what are needed to fully serve customer demand.

* Replace rooftop parking with a green roof, solar panels, or both. A green roof will reduce run-off, lower energy costs and promote a healthy environment. Solar panels will supply a significant portion of the store’s energy needs and reduce harmful emissions.

* Implement a comprehensive transportation-management plan, including jitney service, bus stops, bike parking, Pedicabs and fee-based parking.

After all of its time and financial investments, Whole Foods is more than ready to proceed to the building phase. “There seems to be this vision that we’re a big-box store and not building and designing the store to be a part of the community,” said Michael Sinatra, a regional spokesman for Whole Foods. “We want to be a local community center.”

Posted By: @BrookLynnDiva

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