Monday, June 29, 2009

Permanent Status for PSFC Shop & Cycle Committee

The Park Slope Food Coop's May 26th, 2009 General Meeting took up two proposals of the Shop & Cycle Committee, as described in the June 18th, 2009 issue of The Linewaiters' Gazette. The first was to move the Committee from its current exploratory status (since the spring of 2008) to permanent status. The Committee would be charged with supporting cycling as an eco-friendly means of traveling to and from the Coop.

The second proposal was to commission a survey of the Coop membership, to cost a maximum of $300, on bike and general transportation related issues to and from the Coop. Both proposals passed by large majorities.

The Committee has already produced some results, having successfully petitioned the Department of Traffic for new bike racks near the Coop. You may remember that almost two years ago, the Environmental Committee first successfully petitioned the DOT for additional bike racks. Those racks were quickly overwhelmed, such was the demand for bike parking. So these newly installed racks come as a welcome addition. The new committee has also begun to set up valet bike parking trials at the Coop.

An intriguing discussion arose about the possibility of a fleet of pedicabs servicing the Coop. Imagine shopping at the Coop and then instead of calling a car service to transport you and your groceries home, you called a pedicab service. Better still, imagine if a member of the Street Squad rode you and your groceries home in one of the Coop's very own pedicabs, instead of just returning Coop carts that members use to transport their groceries to their cars. Such a service would extend the reach of the Street Squad far beyond its current range and help eliminate the need of many members to use their cars to shop at the Coop.

Traffic on Union Street and 7th Avenue is fairly legendary. A recent Transportation Alternatives study of traffic in Park Slope found that 45% of traffic on 7th Avenue are cars looking for parking, that during normal business hours, 97% of free and metered spaces are occupied, and that cars sometimes cruise for nearly an hour looking for a space. Clearly, any trend away from driving would dramatically improve air and noise pollution, congestion, and general quality of life in the the Coop's 'hood.

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