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Update About Project to Install Driveway onto Jenifer St.

Aug. 19, 2010

Dear Willy Street Co-op Owners,

As you may have heard, we intend to install a driveway onto Jenifer Street later this fall. We have received a lot of support for this as well as some questions and some opposition.

The main reasons for the driveway are to ease congestion in and around our lot; to improve safety on Williamson St.; and to provide a way into the Co-op parking lot for customers and delivery trucks during Williamson St. road construction (currently scheduled for 2011).

We sent 260 letters to neighbors to inform them of the larger project to improve the parking lot and the Jenifer St. side of our property. We invited them to the neighborhood meeting on Aug. 16th and presented the plans. (The plans will be available on our website on the week of Aug. 23rd.) We received a lot of feedback and questions at this meeting, which we appreciate - that was a major reason for holding it. Meeting minutes will be posted by Aug. 31st.

The meeting has spurred a few initiatives:

  1. Although our management feels that we had been communicative about our plans over the last few years, a number of neighbors attending the meeting felt we hadn't done enough - for that we apologize. We have committed to do a better job from here onward.
    1. All pages about this project that are posted to our website will be open for comments.
    2. We have created a email address, and any comments, questions or concerns can be sent to that; we will do our best to answer them in a timely fashion. People can also email a request to be on a list that is sent updates about the project. 
    3. We pledge to post notices on eastside neighborhood listserves when we add updates about the project to our website.
  2. Co-op Management has established an ad hoc committee of concerned individuals who represent the interests of neighboring businesses, residents, as well as city staff to evaluate the long-term impacts and management of the Jenifer St. driveway. Willy Street Co-op management has elected to delay the use of the driveway for car traffic until work with the ad hoc committee has been completed.

While the makeup of the ad hoc committee is already underway, we are soliciting input from all concerned parties and welcome you to comment on this article here or email us at . Your input will have the most strength if posted publicly on our website and signed with your name, Owner number (if you are a Co-op Owner) and general location of residence or place of business (if applicable). The committee will be considering all input in advising the Co-op's decision.

The WSGC Management team is still committed to improving the overall safety of our neighborhood and believes that opening a driveway onto Jenifer Street remains a valid and likely means of doing so. For those interested in reading more about the motivations, history of our decisions, please reference our FAQ and this page.

Yours in cooperation,

Anya Firszt, Wynston Estis, Dan Frost, Lynn Olson, Brendon Smith

I am a WSC member and live on

I am a WSC member and live on the west side about midway between the two stores. I work on the east side and routinely shop at the Willy St store. I commute by bike during the ice- and snow-free months, but must otherwise drive due to my work schedule. When I do drive, I anticipate and deal with the hassles of parking. I'm grateful to soon have an option in the west side location. While I understand the need for access from Jenifer St while Willy St is torn up, I do not support it becoming a permanent feature. Jenifer St is fairly narrow and adding an element of commercial traffic would only cause headaches for motorists, pedestrians, and residents alike. I've been told by your neighbors that the Coop made assurances to them that there would be no driveway on Jenifer St. I would hope that promise is honored. If a patron chooses to access the store by driving, he or she should expect and accept the challenges associated with that choice or simply visit the west side location. Shoppers should otherwise be encouraged to use alternate/public transportation.

I certainly think that a

I certainly think that a driveway onto Jenifer St. will be needed during Williamson Street constuction next year. Beyond that I think all of us as members need to think about how we address the fact that the coop is a victim of its own success. The fact that membership and use of the coop has grown seems to me to be a clear indication that it is valued. People do have options.

With regard to what happens after construction one thing I haven't seen discussed (at least in my relatively quick perusal of the comments)is moving buses off Jenifer St. With the work on Williamson St. is there any intention to make it more usable for buses (like putting in bump outs)? Can this be on the table? Maybe this isn't in the works or feasible, but one of the constant arguments against the Jenifer driveway is all the traffic there already, including buses. But why do buses need to go down Jenifer? And if they were removed not only would there be less traffic there could also be more parking spaces where bus stops now stand.

I also think that we should all think about reducing car traffic to the coop. In response to the new program rewarding bikers my wife has started to do more of her shopping by bike and enjoys it. It is not going to be feasible for everyone all the time, but to the degree this can be supported it can be another piece of reducing the traffic. Maybe there are other ideas for reducing car traffic.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if there is Jenifer driveway usage during construction everyone will get a chance to see what its like. Opponents may find its not as bad as they feared; proponents might find it is horrible (although whether people in either group would admit this is another story). Either way the lived experience will likely inform the debate.

The only thing I find troublesome are hardened positions. There may have been problems with the process but we don't solve that by reverting to equally unhelpful processes. I personally think we can be more creative than that.

We support construction of a

We support construction of a driveway onto Jenifer Street. Left as is there will be no room for growth and continue to cause traffic problems. The Will Street business is obviously successful and will continue to attract customers who will come to shop using different modes of transportation. A community can maintain its vibrancy by being able to reasonably adjust to the changing needs of its business partners who employ their neighbors and ,in Willy Streets instance, provide wonderful goods and services. The driveway construction is a reasonable change for our community,

We have been following the

We have been following the debate about the driveway and wanted to make sure the co-op knows that we are members that support the driveway to Jenny St. We find the current parking lot circulation plan to be dangerous for everyone - vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. Please, please, please put in the driveway and keep it open!

I have lived in the

I have lived in the neighborhood for about 8 years. I Currently manage another small business that will be affected by construction in 2012, and we are already preparing for the loss. If you live in the neighborhood you should be doing everything in your power to ensure that Willy ST. does not die after this construction. YOU should be opening up your own driveways to business up and down Willy ST to prevent them from closing and Willy ST from turning into a ghost neighborhood. ALL of our traffic and business are already going to bypass the whole area for East Washington, we should be making the area as accessible as possible. the selfishness of the neighborhood to oppose this driveway is really ridiculous and reveals a nastier side of "liberal east-side" madison. This neighborhood is as great as it is because the business we support support us back by bringing in people. No business=no people. no people means the neighborhood fails. This is a diverse area and should stay that way, not just a home for the ultra rich who can piss and moan about a small increase in traffic in the Neighborhood. My 10yr old son and I will continue to ride our bikes to the Co-op and use the new driveway, even with the "increase" in traffic, and we will continue to trick-or-treat down that road, and i will still go for runs, and i will still drive my car the same as I always did, and my business's will continue to buy product from the co-op long after the driveway is built and the construction is done... As long as Willy street doesn't commit suicide. And while I sympathize with the people who have to live with the "conditions" the driveway presents, the short discomfort is a small price to pay for what could happen if we don't. Put the whole neighborhood before yourself this time and we ALL benefit.

Ultra Rich Coop Neighbors?

Ultra Rich Coop Neighbors? Please look around. These are working people, *small* business owners and students who lead pretty simply lives. The value in their houses is the biggest asset many of them have. Most are willing to let the Coop have a temporary driveway to Jenifer during construction. But, when that's complete the driveway needs to go away so property values and quality of life don't decline. Has anyone given thought to what will happen if the near neighbors sell out to management companies? The monied folks who now drive to the Coop might find the environment a bit less inviting.

I think the primary

I think the primary opposition is to a *permanent* new driveway onto Jenifer, after the construction on Willy St is complete. Like most of those who have spoken out, I understand and support the need for a temporary additional driveway during the construction period.

I fully support the driveway

I fully support the driveway as a way to calm the traffic situation around our Co-op. I live in the surrounding neighborhood and fully realized when I moved there a decade ago that I'm living in a densely populated area with lots of cars and vehicle traffic. I don't understand how Jenny St folks think they are somehow immune to this reality. A successful Co-op = a successful 'hood regardless of what the "Still NO to the driveway" peeps believe. Yes we can and yes we should install the driveway.

Kerrie
neighbor and member

I've lived on the 900 block

I've lived on the 900 block of Harvey Terrace since 1977 and have an office condo at 800 Williamson since 2006. Our house was in my wife's family since 1938. I/we have been coop members for 30+ years. We bike, walk and drive to the coop depending on when we are shopping and the weather. I am a supporter of the driveway on Jenifer Street because the alternate driveway will be safer for pedestrians, bikers and drivers, will help the coop continue to be the great neighborhood resource and employment opportunity it has always been. The coop has been a significant contributor to he growth, popularity and livability of our neighborhood.

Hello! I live on the 1200

Hello!
I live on the 1200 block of Spaight St so while I am not on Jenifer, I am right around the corner. I fail to see what the big deal is about the driveway on Willy St.! There are buses, cars, and other commuter and business traffic on the street already. Before I moved into the area I used to drive to the co-op. Parking was a nightmare. The parking spaces on the west side of the building are difficult to access and frequently during busy times, I have gotten stuck with no place to turn around in that parking area. I think the driveway is great idea and I fully support it. These people who don't want the driveway are just self serving idiots with nothing better to do than complain about something as insignificant as a driveway. I want to see the Co-op thrive, I want to see a safer traffic situation on Willy St., and I think this driveway is a step in the right direction.
I hope that this plan can move forward at the very least temporarily during the construction and permanently in the future. I am confident that the addition of the driveway will not decrease the appeal of living on Jenifer St. Most people move onto that street for its close proximity to the Co-op- how ironic that they are some how demonizing those people who don't live that close and need to drive.
Keep up the good work. The Co-op has made the neighborhood what it is!
I say yes to co-op driveway.

I have some questions and

I have some questions and observations about the proposed driveway from Jenifer St and the opposition that has arisen. First, I understand that the co-op proposed this idea some years ago and backed off due to opposition from neighbors. Now I see signs sprouting on Jenifer Street announcing we "still oppose" the Jenifer Street driveway. Questions 1 is: how many of those who "still" oppose it even lived there at the time of the original proposal? Question 2 is: who is financing the opposition and providing all of the signs? (I note that the State Journal interviewed one neighbor who didn't even know how the sign appeared in her yard.) Question 3 is: are those in opposition hoping to destroy the co-op by limiting access during construction while the cashflow from the existing store is urgently needed to pay off the debt for the new store? Ask the owner of Jenifer St market how business was during this summer of construction around his store- and he isn't trying to finance a new store.
One of the reasons I live in an urban neighborhood is that I enjoy mixed-use development. I like that there is an ice cream factory and a grocery store within a block of my house. I like that I can walk to restaurants. I accept that cars and trucks drive through my neighborhood o get to those places. If I didn't, I'd go live on a suburban cul-de-sac.
I even wonder if a new driveway will add traffic to the 1200 block of Jenifer St. Currently, many cars approaching from the east on Willy St take Baldwin to Jenifer, turn right onto Few, then right onto Willy St so they can avoid the left turn across Willy St traffic. Leaving to the west (especially when left turns onto Willy St are prohibited), cars turn right on Willy, Baldwin, Jenifer, and Few (or Ingersoll). If we open access from Jenifer St, cars from the east will go only halfway down that block. Cars exiting to the west will only travel the other half of that block. While the current proposal is to open access during construction to prevent the co-op's demise, it may be that keeping that access will actually lessen the traffic burden of the neighbors.
While I strongly favor reduction of our dependence on cars (and I put more urban miles on my bike than my car), damaging or destroying the co-op by trying to keep cars away will not bring that about. It will take more to bring about a cultural change of that magnitude, and losing the co-op would be a step in the wrong direction.
The construction season this year has been the worst in my memory, with most of the streets (and the bike path) around my house torn up for some or all of the summer. Due to unexpected complications, each closure lasted longer than planned. The city's traffic engineering website doesn't even have a proposed end date for the Willy St resurfacing next year. How long will access to the co-op be limited? How long can it survive that? How much worse do we want to make it?

To answer your questions: 1 -

To answer your questions:
1 - Most (perhaps all) of those opposing the driveway lived in the neighborhood when the driveway issue was previously raised,
2 - I believe a group of concerned neighborhood residents chipped in to pay for printing the signs, out of their own pockets,
3 - Nobody wants to destroy the co-op, as I'm sure you're aware.

Your assertion that a driveway means people will only be traveling an extra half-block on Jenifer is ridiculous -- turning left onto Willy from Few is as bad or worse than turning left out of the co-op. It also ignores the problems that will arise in the winter, when the streets between Jenifer and Willy are often down to one lane and become significantly more dangerous to drive on or traverse on foot. (Never mind you lunatics who continue to bike through the winter despite the snow and ice. :))

Not having a driveway onto Jenifer St is certainly not going to put the co-op out of business; construction will no doubt mean lower sales, regardless of whether a driveway goes in, but the co-op is in much better shape than most businesses on Willy St to weather the impending slowdown.

Let's try to focus on the facts and avoid conspiracy theories and fear-mongering.

Edward Almasy
Co-op Member #4427
Neighborhood Resident

"(Never mind you lunatics who

"(Never mind you lunatics who continue to bike through the winter despite the snow and ice. :))"

Say what?

Are we lunatics, really, or just people who need to get somewhere? I've commuted by bicycle through all weather for the past 10 years because I choose to use a non-polluting form of transportation. Given what we know about the role of motor vehicle emissions in climate change, isn't non-polluting transportation a saner choice?

I've actually had people stop paying attention to driving their vehicles to roll down their windows and tell me to take the bus in the winter, but for any destination within 7 miles of the capitol taking the bus adds 30 to 90 minutes to a round trip to work.

Because of the amount of riding I do people regularly underestimate my age by a decade and I'm in better shape than most college age guys young enough to be my sons.

I will accept your apology for what you said. Thanks in advance.

(My aside was intended as

(My aside was intended as some good-natured ribbing, but I guess you can always trust someone to pipe up with a humorless PC viewpoint in our neck of the woods. :P)

Okay, if you want to talk about it seriously: I love biking and have been doing it all my life, and you're right, biking helps the environment and can keep you in much better shape. However riding on a street with 3,000+ lb cars is dangerous enough; throw in uncertain traction (for both bikes and cars) due to snow and ice and reduced or eliminated clearance due to snow plowing, and yes, I do think biking on the street in the middle of winter is lunacy. So sorry, but no apologies here. :)

I'm also against the Jenifer

I'm also against the Jenifer Street driveway. By working an irrelevant insult to bicyclists into your comment you managed to alienate someone on the same side of the issue as you. Congratulations. That's quite a talent you have.

Years of having people roll down their car windows to yell at me to get off the road or even throw things at me have eroded my sense of humor when it comes to insults to bicyclists. I'm sick of being treated as if I have less right to be on the road or as if my use of the road in the winter is somehow less appropriate than some motorist's use of that road.

There is risk involved in using any mode of transportation in any weather. When I ride my bicycle in the winter I manage the risks intelligently by remaining in control of my bicycle at all times, accelerating and braking gradually, being very defensive around other traffic, and using bright reflective clothing and multiple lights. There is no "lunacy" involved in that.

A person driving a car getting 30 miles per gallon commuting 5 miles to work generates 1,000 pounds CO2 in a year than someone making the same trip by bicycle. Tell the truth, now, how do you get to work? Are you a bicycle commuter or are you a motorist who goes for a ride once in awhile?

People are fallible and some of us are big enough to admit to mistakes. You have insulted people who have done absolutely nothing to you, this has been noticed by more than one person, yet you refuse to admit to your mistake and apologize. What kind of person does that make you?

The kind with a sense of

The kind with a sense of humor and perspective.

As man with a gas guzzling

As man with a gas guzzling antique car, motorboat, and SUV to tow that motorboat, you really ought to have more appreciation for year round cyclists for generating practically zero air pollution to compensate for all the unnecessary air pollution that you cause instead of insulting us and calling us names.

The kind with a sense of

The kind with a sense of humor and perspective.

(I usually hate double

(I usually hate double posting, but in this case it seems surprisingly apropos. :D)

(Also, Mitch, don't believe everything you Google.)

I won't believe that you

I won't believe that you couldn't be troubled to register your boat in 2007, either. :)

I understand that the roads

I understand that the roads in your neighborhood are narrow and that in the winter you may not have room to pass bicyclists as quickly as you like. I suspect that your motivation for insulting bicyclists comes from your resentment of us getting in your way and keeping you from getting home as quickly as you would like.

You could have just as easily said something like "I wouldn't feel comfortable riding a bicycle on the road in the winter." instead of making an unfair statement about people who do.

conspiracy theories and fear

conspiracy theories and fear mongering? really? wow. the potential for a business to fail during construction is massive. what happens to all the business the might rely on the coop for access to their own deliveries? turning left on baldwin however is wonderful... soooo..... lets not resort to martyrdom simply because you may have to sacrifice a tiny bit for the greater good.

So if you consider those of

So if you consider those of us who ride in the winter lunatics, how do you propose people get to the co-op to shop? Everyone should walk or take a bus? (Or do you oppose the buses on Jenifer St? By the way, I use special winter tires and many lights, as well as reflective clothing, and alter my routes for the winter.)

My "assertion" that people would only drive an extra half block on Jenifer Street is actually surmising that people may drive a half block less than they do now. (And I agree that turning left from Few is tough, which is why I said Few or Ingersoll, as Ingersoll has a stoplight.)

I'm not prepared to accept your word that most (or perhaps all) of the opponents lived on that block when the coop first moved to this location, nor that everyone who has a sign is an opponent. (How did the State Journal find that person who didn't know how a sign got in her yard?)

Again, I have only your word that people "chipped in" to buy the signs. Were you one of those people, or is that an assumption?

I'm certainly not aware that no one wants to destroy the co-op, nor would I say that everyone understands the full ramifications of her/his actions. I would agree that we should focus on facts. The problem is that, in answering my questions, you didn't provide any.

I do think riding a bike in

I do think riding a bike in the snow and ice on the same street with 3,000+ lb cars is foolish, but if you want to risk your neck, by all means go ahead. I prefer to walk to the co-op in the winter, and if I lived too far to walk, yes, I'd probably take the bus.

As for the signs, I wasn't one of those who paid for them, but was privy to some of the discussion on having them printed. If that isn't good enough for you, why not go around and knock on the doors of every house that's displaying a sign (and they're not all on the 1200 block of Jenifer, by the way) and ask each person who put up a sign how long they've lived in the neighborhood and who paid for the sign? That way you'll have your answers first-hand, and you can share some facts with us instead of just making vague unsupported accusations.

I support the coop and the

I support the coop and the driveway project. I do not think it will adversely impact the neighborhood. I think any impacts will be minimal.

Diane S.
Bicyclist, car owner, coop shopper.

missed evaluation criterion .

missed evaluation criterion
. I have a concern about the stated mission of the Driveway Ad-Hoc Comittee. From the FAQ, the mission is to: "Establish evaluation criteria on the driveway’s impacts on ped/bike safety, traffic control and drainage and long-term management of the Jenifer St. driveway." I feel that these 4 evaluation criteria, while all important, do not include the full range of impacts a new driveway could have, or concerns that were raised at meeting on August 16th.
The link below is to a thought provoking NYT article about the research of Dr. Donald Shoup, showing that building more parking, and making driving more convenient in general, INCREASES the amount of cars on the road. When people feel that driving is inconvenient, they are more likely to choose alternative forms of transportation.
Due to the success of the coop, its parking facilities and Willy Street in general are nearly at capacity in terms of the number of cars they can handle. But the research suggests that increasing capacity to make driving to the Coop more convenient will just cause more people to drive, and so the streets and parking lot will quickly swell to capacity again. Drivers will be just as frustrated; the only difference is that more customers will choose to drive, rather than bus or bike.
I strongly feel that in addition to the impact on traffic control, establishing criteria to evaluate the impact on "traffic quantity" should be added to the mission of the ad-hoc committee. An increase in traffic quantity would adversely affect the local neighbor in terms of air and noise pollution, and would adversely affect the health of the planet by contributing to climate change. Both are important issues, worthy of explicit consideration in the evaluation. Thank you for reading.

Sincerely,
Mike Amato

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/15/business/economy/15view.html?_r=3&sr

I have no problem with the

I have no problem with the driveway, and as such, support it. Currently, Willy Street is one of the few streets in the city where the speed limit is routinely observed by motorists. This is due to the wide variety of transportation modes that employ this route. The same will happen with Jenifer Street with the addition of a driveway. The street will not become any more dangerous for non-motorized use, which seems to be one of prevalent arguments against a driveway.
Sarah Gaskell
#12259
Madison

Pro-driveway, sometimes chain

Pro-driveway, sometimes chain it closed?
I have been living 2 blocks from coop for last 20 years, though not on Jenifer.
I used to go to the Eagles Club, which had other driveways -- and sometimes we even used them.
I think the egress onto Jenifer Street is a great idea and will be no more dangerous than all the other traffic that the Willy St construction is going to funnel there anyway -- and far less dangerous than trying to maneuver around Willy St itself.
What about, after the construction is over, chaining the secondary egress shut during the hours the store is closed and possibly at slow times of day, or only having it open during morning, noon, and evening rush hours?
Just an idea.
Thank you for dealing with all this. I am sorry that some driveway opponents have taken to maligning coop staff in a personal manner. I am embarrassed for my neighborhood that the debate has stooped so low.
Nancy
member #4444

I oppose the driveway because

I oppose the driveway because I don't think we should do anything to make driving to the coop more convenient. Car usage expands to fill available capacity - always. Only by making car travel the least convenient of options, will you stop needing to widen roads, add driveways, (insert growth management strategy here).

The steady state of all car facilities is congested. There is oodles of research that confirms this.

Thanks for listening.

Caleb Pourchot
Owner# 12439

Hello Everyone, Stopped to

Hello Everyone,

Stopped to chat with one of the anti-driveway petition gatherers this afternoon (sorry to the person who had to walk around my bike trailer which was blocking the sidewalk). She was "too busy" to have ready the traffic study but easily rattled off reasons why she thought it wasn't valid. I invited her to become more fact and data based in her views. Her reply was, "dude, I don't care what you think." I wished her a nice day and she screamed "don't tell me what to think" at my back as I was riding away.

During the national healthcare debates I was fascinated by many folks' views that were fear-driven and, in some cases, against their own interests (rationally speaking). On our local driveway issue, we don't have to look very far to see the source of the fear mongering. I know of at least one local landlord who believes the value of his properties will decrease if the co-op has a driveway. I understand he is doing his best to get unsuspecting folks all full of fear and riled up. It's another irony that his belief about property values may not even be correct!

Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

Jay DeNovo
Co-op Member #376 (& former WSG Board member)

I read the traffic study from

I read the traffic study from cover to cover, and am against a permanent outlet onto Jenifer. There are several important aspects the study didn't cover and remain (AFAIK) unaddressed, like traffic conditions during the winter months, when traffic flow and safety conditions on neighborhood streets are already often very poor.

I also think there's little doubt as to whether it will negatively impact property values, at least for the houses immediately adjacent to the co-op. Instead of just critiquing others' (hypothetical) motives, how about explaining how the increased automobile traffic could possibly be viewed in a positive light by potential nearby homebuyers? Of course this is something that always crops up in NIMBY situations, but that doesn't mean that it should be entirely discounted.

Finally, while I would certainly agree that some of those against the driveway have behaved poorly, I'd like to point out that many of the commenters in favor seem to have based their position solely on their positive feelings toward the co-op, without having taken the time to become informed about the issues.

More discussion of the facts, from all involved, rather than apparently partisan rhetoric, is much more likely to help bring about a positive resolution. Hopefully this is what's going on with the ad hoc committee, and we'll see the results of their work soon.

Edward Almasy
Co-Op Member #4427
Neighborhood Resident

I believe an exit on to

I believe an exit on to Jenifer is the best thing to relieve the dangerous traffic congestion on Williamson. I have lived on Jenifer for 15 years now, so I am aware that the Eagles Club always had the two driveways on to Jenifer. I am only hoping for the one... perhaps egress only.

I wonder what wealthy neighbor is funding those upsetting 'No' signs? Never mind, I bet I can name the one. Any one else want to chip in and buy some 'yes' signs? I don't have realtor money to fund them myself like some other neighbors do...

ryan
neighbor/owner

tonight, while walking my dog

tonight, while walking my dog past those selfishly upsetting signs i sighed and said to a couple walking by 'you know, some of us WANT a driveway here.' They smiled and said 'we do too.' I hollered out 'yes we DO want a co-op driveway' and a woman on her bike with a child trailer cried out 'right on!'

I find some comfort in the thought that it is just a small group of individuals campaigning against a safer parking lot for everyone. and support for the driveway is not just from drivers.

Reminder: We will pass all

Reminder: We will pass all comments posted here or sent to driveway@willystreet.coop on to the Ad Hoc Driveway committee for consideration. For your comment to carry the most weight it should be signed with your name, owner number (if you are a Co-op Owner) and general location of residence or place of business (if applicable). If you are uncomfortable posting your name publicly, please consider using the e-mail submission process (though all committee members will be shown your name).

Thank you.

Dan Frost
Store Manager, Eastside

I am writing in support of

I am writing in support of the co-op. Time and time again I think about how lucky I am to live on Jennifer Street, and a large part of that is the privilege of living near the co-op. They have made my life infinitely better and are the main reason I bought a house in the neighborhood.

I feel frustrated that currently when I walk to the co-op all I see is signs about the co-op saying "NO". What has happened to this neighborhood? There are such important issues facing our community and our country (homelessness, hunger, wars, politics, environmental concerns) and the only signs I see are about a driveway? It feels as though we have lost perspective.

I trust that the co-op will make decisions that are best for the community as a whole, not what is best for 1 or 2 blocks. I take pride in the fact the co-op is so busy that it needs to expand. It means that more people are enjoying the local and organic food as well as the community that the co-op offers.

I am confident that the co-op will work with the community to find the best possible solution for everyone.

Tom C., please stop being so

Tom C., please stop being so incredibly rude and antagonistic.

Though opposing viewpoints are certainly important, I and all of my friends are extremely put off by your personal attacks against the co-op's gm, staff, etc., as well as by your inflammatory language. We are boycotting your store (and we are FOODIES) because of your offensive communications, which are forced into our mailboxes, listserves, etc. Enough.

The leadership at the co-op is doing the best that they can, and are certainly intelligent, capable and empathetic individuals. The driveway is being made out of solid materials because it's safer (who would want to bike/walk/drive over gravel for months?) and because it's required by the city. It will also help with water flow, permanently. It will be CLOSED until street reconstruction. After street reconstruction, the co-op has already said that it could be closed again, turned into a wider bike path. Which, in my opinion, would be great, since I don't like risking banging into kid trailers or being hit by a biker on a cell phone when I walk in from the back. The co-op has even said that it is committed to any safety precautions needed during the time when the driveway is open during street reconstruction and is looking for input on what those might be. All of this sounds like reasonable people trying to do the best they can while juggling the various needs of a large membership, not plotting to undermine a neighborhood.

I am disappointed that some of my neighbors have been so incredibly rude. Communication about this issue has been nearly hysterical. Comparing the Co-op to BP or Monsanto is laughable and offensive. Calling the gm names is petty and small. She has no mastermind power in the cooperative structure. Having lived in housing co-ops for years, I am familiar enough with cooperative decision making to be certain that she would not be able to single handedly decide to put in a driveway, even if she wanted to (which I have seen no evidence that she DOES want to).

Sending constructive comments giving an opinion of how you want the driveway used after reconstruction is great. Suggesting safety mechanisms for when the driveway is open also seem great. Trying to drag the co-op's name through the mud just because they aren't saying what you want is a terrible waste of energy, mean-spirited and completely unproductive. I for one am sick of hearing the ridiculous rhetoric slamming my co-op, the place that allows me to live a healthier life, the place that in fact DOES respect its neighbors, on multiple levels, the place that provides employment to dozens of people from our neighborhood, the co-op that is doing the best it can. Be a part of the solution, not part of the problem. Why not take that energy and ask the city to put in more stop signs at the corners? Or move buses to a different street? Why not take up some of these other solutions to the traffic problems on Jenifer street that will need to be addressed anyway? Willy St. construction IS GOING TO INCREASE TRAFFIC ON JENIFER STREET, whether the driveway is there or not. It's going to happen. Why not spend some of this energy on getting long term solutions that will really help the neighborhood?

I agree. I am continually

I agree. I am continually shocked and appalled by Tom C. (who recently claimed he wouldn't make any more comments on the issue and then proceeded to do just that) and others' increasingly abusive language and overly dramatic rhetoric. You do disservice to your cause with such personal attacks. Demonizing Anya and other coop staff and belittling their intentions or hard work is unfair and unhelpful.

While truly sympathetic to neighbors' safety concerns, I support the building of a driveway onto Jenifer to deal with next year's inevitable construction issues. Look at how Jenifer Mkt's sales have been affected if you don't think construction can be a real financial threat to the Coop. I agree that it should be built now to work out any kinks before the construction mess occurs and per city requirements, sturdily of concrete (aka: a "permanent" structure.) While personally hoping for it to then be kept post-construction as a right turn only egress, I do support the committee evaluating the situation and possibly returning it to a bike/ped use function if determined best.

I find those claiming, or implying, that the Coop has become an evil, Wal-Martesque entity that should move out of the neighborhood, mind-bogglingly ridiculous and short-sighted. If you think a driveway will hurt property values, what will the Coop leaving your neighborhood do to them? When a Walgreens or other chain who can afford the space goes in, how sympathetic do you think they'll be to your vitriolic anti-car rhetoric? Will another business do a fraction as much to support this neighborhood and city? How many living wage jobs will it offer? Donate thousands of dollars every year to local organizations and festivals?

Thank you Coop for everything you do!

Ok, let me start out by

Ok, let me start out by saying that my husband works at the co-op. My opinions are my own and as the main grocery shopper in the household, I feel I have a right to comment also.

I am in favor of a full driveway during construction. After construction, I would like to see a double wide bike entrance/exit and a west bound passenger vehicle (no delivery trucks) exit only onto Jenifer Street.
I drive to the co-op from the Emerson East neighborhood several times a week and make 90% of my grocery purchases at the co-op. Traffic and parking are serious issues. I am not going to defend my use of a vehicle. Rest assured that I have my reasons for driving and I think that we need to respect the choices that everyone makes for their own families.

I really do not like the tone that this debate has taken. I find the personal attacks on the GM to be unacceptable. I see this as a member driven issue not an “abuse of power” by the co-op management, and I think we are all better people than this. I have been a member of the co-op for 8 years and there have been countless letters and customer comments written about the lot and the traffic. Among my peer group (not-so young families with small children) in the East Emerson Neighborhood, the parking and traffic is a constant topic of discussion. I would love to see those that are vehemently against the driveway table at the entrance of the co-op (per the policy) and entertain everyone’s opinion.

For the most part, I have really enjoyed reading everyone’s constructive comments and I think we really can be cooperative to come to a solution. I think the idea of limiting traffic onto Willy Street from John Nolen could be a good one. I think that applying alternate side parking rules in winter could also be helpful. I hope that the alder takes an active role in pursuing some of these great ideas with the city.

I know that this will be an unpopular point with those that live in the neighborhood, but even if the co-op had signed a legal document that said that they would never put a driveway onto Jenifer, I personally would want them to challenge that at this point in time. The circumstances have changed dramatically and “staying the course” for the sake of “staying the course” is not what I would consider a viable option. I don’t think anyone could have predicted 11 years ago, how important the words “organic”, “natural” and “local” would become in the world of food, or that the membership would grow so quickly. I believe strongly in organic and local food and am extremely happy that this available more readily to those that want it and that so many more people are paying attention to what they’re eating. The down side of this is that the co-op and, therefore, the neighborhood are really busy.

Reading a lot of the comments on the Willy Street website, Facebook, Madison.com, and the Daily Page, many seem to think that the Co-op has simply grown too big for the neighborhood and maybe that is the case. I would love to have the Co-op move into Union Corners and bring all the good and the bad with it. While I can see what benefits and drawbacks it would bring to my neighborhood (right now my nearest business is Red Letter News). I don’t see any benefit for the Jenifer street neighborhood if the co-op moves because something else would have to move in there and the odds are pretty good that it wouldn’t be as good as the co-op.

Melanie Smith
#30850

We need some intelligent,

We need some intelligent, mature, and informed leadership at the Coop. All thru the last 18 months of the debate against the Coop’s legal right to tear into the residential neighborhood with a driveway, there has been no one in Coop Management, or on the Board, that has spoken up with any amount of intelligence, or perspective, in this debate. There has been a constant and consistent exertion of power, “we are doing this because we can”, and an absolute ignoring of the points being made by many people against this unbridled use of power. Who is this business accountable to? It appears no one except management. Even the Board remains silent thru this debate. What in the world are they doing?! Are they wimps? Are they unintelligent? Are they incapable of thinking? One would have every right to suspect so given the absence of any substantive rebuttal to the points being made against the Coop’s power move. Go ahead and disparage me for my use of words, if that is all you can do. But look up the meaning of the words. I have chosen them very carefully. They can be proven wrong, if anyone in management and the board has the capacity to think and speak intelligently, and shows that capacity.

I give you one simple example. There are many who attest to the fact that Anya provided an implicit covenant to the neighbors in order to secure their allegiance in getting the zoning change needed to permit the Coop to occupy the back half of their current parcel. Anya has said, “I made no such promise.” Ok, but the neighbors believe otherwise. What is the Coop and Board doing about the fact they so many other people believe this convenent was established. They are simply ignoring this claim. Ok, then have Anya answer these two questions: Did you know at the time the zoning change was being negotiated with the neighbors that as soon as it was granted the Coop would be able to put the driveway in any time they wanted? If the answer is “yes”, then what do those reading this think that implies. Do I need to spell out “disingenuous”, “deceitful”, or “manipulative”? No, she wouldn’t carry those traits, would she? So the answer must be “no”. Ok, then when did she discover that the legal right existed to put the driveway in? And what belief was she operating under up until that time? And there are historical records of Coop management stating they believe they have no right to put a drive into Jenifer St. So, what is going on here folks?!

Do you see what I mean, that there is no intelligence operating on the Coop side of this discussion? Will Coop Management and the Board comment on the above? Probably not, it would mean they would have to twist a lot of history in order to disprove the claim that the Coop is betraying its neighbors; that the Coop has no integrity; that the Coop is dismissing the values most of us belief are core in our society. So all of you reading this have no reason to trust the Coop, unless its blind loyalty, and that carries no weight.

I just can’t see how a community that prides itself on embodying the highest ideals of our society can quietly sit by and let this travesty continue. I don’t care how many bumper benders there are in front of the Coop, that doesn’t change the fact that the Coop is betraying its members. What in the world is going on? Something is seriously wrong at the heart of the Coop, and they are accountable to no one. That is a very dangerous situation. What else will they decide to do, just cuz they can? You can’t just sit back and say, oh trust them, they have proven so clearly they don’t care about being trusted.

There, now those of you who want to argue about the arithmetic, the numbers of cars going somewhere and somewhere else, let’s hear from you about why integrity and betrayal are not at the top of the list of problems here! Somebody must have an argument against integrity. Speak up.

Tom C.

I would like to express my

I would like to express my support for the driveway onto Jennifer Street. I would also like to express my support for moving the store to another location more conducive to the continued growth of the coop. Perhaps you should look at the Salvation Army building in the 600 block of East Washington Avenue. I would be thrilled to have the coop across the street from my house and you could have egress onto E. Mifflin and E. Washington Avenue. I think the Jennifer Street neighbors and Willy Street folks would miss the coop dearly once it was gone.

Dear Willy Street Co-op, Your

Dear Willy Street Co-op,

Your updated FAQ page is misleading in several respects.

First, you state that Anya did not make a promise in 1999 to never put in a Jenifer Street driveway. In a technical sense, that may be true. But up until at least 2008, Anya believed that a driveway would not be permitted under the C1 zoning. “Owners have repeatedly suggested the driveway idea, but an earlier Plan Commission decision to restrict our ability to add a driveway onto Jenifer Street had left us with little hope of ever seeing it happen. .... Our first steps were to .... learn the process involved in having a Plan Commission decision overturned.” http://www.willystreet.coop/article/616

Also, although Anya may have never made that promise, it looks like your Operations Manager in 2004 believed that the Co-op had made the promise. “At that time, as a condition of our use of this property, we agreed with the wishes of the city and those who would become our immediate neighbors not to put a driveway on Jenifer Street. That conditional use still governs how our property is zoned (and thus how we can use it).
http://www.willystreet.coop/Newsletter/Newsletter_Archive/0409/ops.html
But then again, you could say that the agreement to not put in a driveway only applied at the time the store opened.

Another misleading FAQ is the number of accidents on the 1200 block of Williamson in 2009. You do not overtly state that the 13 accidents are all related to the Co-op but, in the context of your FAQ, the perception is that these 13 accidents are due to the Willy Street driveway and that a Jenifer Street driveway would solve the problem. However, if you look at your own traffic study from 2009, in which your consultants analyzed the 1200 block crash data over a 6-year period, only about 20% of the crashes in the 1200 block of Williamson could be attributed to the Co-op. Assuming that same percentage continues to apply, 2-3 of the 2009 accidents could be attributed to the Co-op. (And who knows what other factors may have been involved – like talking on the cell while pulling into traffic.)

This massaging of facts to help support one’s position is more an attribute of law firms, not cooperative associations. It can make people wonder what is really going on and result in a feeling of disrespect.

The Co-op has been most respectful of the business on the other side of Willy – as I recall, you would not proceed with eliminating any parking on that side of the street without the business’ consent. Perhaps you did not think you could legally disregard the wishes of that business, perhaps you wanted to maintain good relations. The neighborhood would appreciate that same consideration.

The Co-op still demonstrated consideration for the neighborhood in 2008. Anya said, “As members of our neighborhood, bound by the City’s conditional use permit process, we will follow their requirements and nothing will proceed without a neighborhood meeting indicating general support for the idea.” I am unaware of any neighborhood meeting indicating general support for the driveway: a meeting to present your plans is not the same as a meeting to gauge support. But that was just a commitment made by the Co-op. Is a commitment a promise?

I support the Co-op's plans

I support the Co-op's plans for the driveway to Jenifer. I have been following the driveway controversy carefully since it heated up again about two years ago. I believe the Co-op's plans are carefully measured, based on substantial data and clear evidence of need, and based on careful consideration of the views and interests of all affected parties.

These parties include not just those who have vociferously made their views on the issue known. The parties include not just Co-op owners and the Co-op itself but also, among others, residents of Jenifer near the Co-op, residents of the Marquette Neighborhood, and all people who use the Co-op - old and young, regularly and differently abled, pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers, owners and non-owners from near and far.

Bill Scanlon
Member #11282
616 S Ingersoll

Drilling Down, As They Say. .

Drilling Down, As They Say. . .

The following is a truncated version of my recent blog post:

My Position

I think that the Jenifer St. Access will be more dangerous and would rather that they don't do it. I have been a professional driver in Madison for a couple of decades--I know Madison traffic. However, I don't use Jenifer St and I live about three blocks away towards the river so I won't have to deal with the traffic. In addition, I can see the need for managers to find a way to keep the revenue stream up and are probably quite freaked out about the potential cost to revenues that construction will bring as well as the long term effect if people get used to getting their organic foods elsewhere. Basically, I maintain the position that I put forward last year when I ran (unsuccessfully) for the Willy St. Board:

1. Until the neighbors change their mind and collectively agree to open Jenifer St., the co-op should honor the right of the people living on the 1200 block to be safe on their street.
2. I can't believe that allowing cars to exit onto Jenifer St. will ease the parking lot traffic that much, but it will reduce safety on Jenifer Street especially with the high amount of bicycle and bus traffic.

Construction changes the second position a little bit (especially if all access to Willy St. is closed); however, that brings me to the real point of this post:

It isn't really about the driveway.

What is it about? It is about process. It is about how a democratic enterprise as large as Willy St. Coop has become makes decisions that affect the membership and stakeholders of the community. If Willy St. Coop were a municipality, it would be the third largest city in Dane County and 37th largest city in Wisconsin. It is almost the size of two aldermanic districts and represents close to 8% of the population of Madison. Ten years ago, it was a fourth of its current size.

This means that while Willy St. Coop wants to be a great neighbor (especially since so many neighbors are members as well), it also has the needs of the thousands of members who don't live in the neighborhood to meet. That is a tough order for any store manager, but add that reality of the expectations of the membership and the political organization of the neighborhood and it might be an impossible task. Sisyphus might consider himself lucky to roll the stone uphill if he could see this situation.

Part of the cause of the conflict might be that the Co-op hasn't expanded its governance and communication infrastructure to meet its new size and demands. I believe that the board is the same size that served a 5,000 member co-op. My guess is that the committees are the same in number and have the same number of seats. There probably isn't much room for non-member stakeholders. Assuming my guess is correct, it creates a process that simply can't handle this discussion. However, I do know that they created an employee advisory committee (which sounds very neat) in anticipation of issues connected to the second store, so it isn't as if they have ignored the growth issues.

This leads to perceptions and dealing with conflict. Part of the feeling of the neighbors is a sense of betrayal. They feel betrayed because they believed that there was an agreement (albeit, not written down) and that the co-op is reneging on it. They also feel betrayed because they believe that Co-ops, in principle, are supposed to be better than this. These feelings create a perception of mistrust that may make it impossible for the chasm between the two parties to be crossed. That is a shame.

Managing perceptions and conflict is a key component of managing a cooperative or any business. As part of my day job, I handle complaints at Union Cab. I can tell you that perception is very central to any conflict. Two people can have the exact same experience, but come away with totally different perceptions. One of the metaphors that I use (because of the cab industry) is baggage. All of our customers enter the cab with baggage. Most of that baggage is based on their life experience and invisible to the driver. The driver, of course, also has baggage. How we handle each others' baggage is central to the human experience. This doesn't mean manipulating or trying to spin people to a different perception. It means using the qualities of compassion and empathy to understand the other person's point-of-view.

I recently earned a Master in Management: Co-operatives and Credit Unions from St. Mary's University (Halifax). My MMCCU program manager, Tom Webb, likes to say that there is nothing about a co-operative that automatically installs a halo upon the head of a director, member or manager. That is why the identity statement is so important. Adhering to the ethics of openness, honesty, social responsibility and caring for others, the values of solidarity, equality and equity, and the principles of Concern for the Community can't simply hang upon the wall. They need to be activated and utilized constantly. This sounds easy, but it isn't. It is especially hard if one is feeling attacked. I know of very few people who are immune to the "flight or fight" response. It exists in animals for a very real evolutionary purpose. If someone is attacking me, I will still speak the truth, but I won't likely be open unless decide to really fight tooth and nail. Of course, active listening pretty much shuts down in these moments so even the open and honest discussion gets tainted by the emotion.

What is the solution to the Willy St. Crisis? First, everyone needs to take a deep breath (or five) and reset. As a therapist reminded me once, breathing is a very automatic process until we consciously change that. However, learning to breath is very simple. Ironically, the best way to relearn is to stop breathing--the automatic process will kick back in. Co-operation is how a community breathes. It is also automatic until we consciously change that. It also serves an evolutionary process and helps prevent the need for "flight or fight." Of course, it isn't as easy to re-learn as our egos and emotions get in the way.

I think that people need to be brave and be willing to sit down and discuss the core issues of communication between the cooperative and the membership as well as between the cooperative and the neighborhood. As the news article suggests, the Co-op is already on top of that.

As part of that discussion, both groups need to be willing to hear things that they don't want to--they probably need a skilled facilitator (I know a very good one who lives in the area--it's not me). Both sides might need to be willing to shake some skeletons out of the closet. Both sides need to figure out what they can and can't live with. It might be that Willy St. has truly out-grown the location that it moved into 10 years ago. A move to another east side location wouldn't be the end of the world. The neighbors need to decide if an organic, natural foods coop in walking distance is worth extra traffic on a street that already has buses coming by every 17 minutes. In my mind, the Coop leaders need to expand their FAQ on their web site. Take every concern and answer it in clear unambiguous language. More importantly, the board needs to realize that relations with members and non-member neighbors is a board issue. They need to be at the table speaking for the co-operative.

Regardless of the outcome of the driveway fight, the Co-op needs to look at its governance structure. It has to do this anyway as it is adding another large store in Middleton. It already needs to deal with a membership that will be divided geographically and may never come into contact with each other. If the Middleton store is as successful as the Willy St. location, the membership of the Co-op that lives outside of Marquette will quickly dwarf our little east side community. It will also become larger than a couple of committees and a nine member board can really handle. The board needs to take this dispute and create new institutions that will handle conflict in a trans-formative way so that fights over driveways stay in the scale of the issue.

Willy St. Coop has been a key part of the neighborhood since its founding in 1974. It isn't what defines the neighborhood, but it is the largest business/employer/meeting place. The Coop has played a key role in the community. I know the people who manage the coop and I know that they are good well-meaning people. Likewise, the neighborhood is a very proud neighborhood with a rich history that goes back much, much further than the formation of the co-op (I understand it was illegal secret food buying clubs in the 'hood that led to the formation of the co-op). I lived in this neighborhood since 1994 (and another 3-5 years on and off before that). I've helped candidates run for office and know a lot of the "anti-driveway" folks who are also good well-meaning people. That the debate over a driveway has caused such a schism suggests that their are deeper issues. I can only hope that both sides find the will to step forward and resolve these deeper issues because a simple win/lose scenario over the driveway won't really resolve anything. Small "c" cooperation provides the hope and maybe the answer.

The full post is on my blog at http://rochdale.livejournal.com

I think the Jenifer St.

I think the Jenifer St. driveway is a great idea. It's often difficult to maneuver at that end of the parking lot, and the new driveway will be especially appreciated during construction.

I'm also excited about the West side location opening up in a few months, and hope that will also decrease congestion at the East side store.

Enough Growth Here at the

Enough Growth Here at the current location. No driveway on Jenifer Street. This problem of outgrowing locations has a longer history than some may realize. The residents near the previous store on the corner of Willy and Few Streets suffered with traffic, parking and delivery truck problems after the Coop acquired the adjacent appliance store roughly doubling the store's square footage. Moving to the current location was supposed to solve all that. And, it did for those neighbors. But, increasing the store size further and adding parking just allowed bigger problems of the same nature to grow at a different location. And, effect different neighbors and more of them for a greater circumference around the Coop. Please just stop with the growth at this location. Add more small stores around town. People love them. But, keep them at a human scale.

Member #5083

This brings to mind a new

This brings to mind a new undesirable side effect of the growth at the current location: the parking lot fills up, people sit in their cars with the engine running waiting for a space to open up, and more waste heat and smog is (very unnecessarily) dumped into the atmosphere.

I think you're dead on with the idea of limiting growth at the current location in favor of opening other stores as needed. Smaller and local is much more in keeping with the ideals espoused by the co-op and held dear by most co-op members. Adding a permanent opening from the parking lot onto Jenifer Street is a step in the wrong direction.

First of all I have never

First of all I have never ever had a serious problem with parking at the Willy Street Coop parking lot. At the worst times you wait a few minutes you get a space.

Obviously a permanent exit would eliminate the need to turn left on Willy Street and eliminate the need to go right around the block on Baldwin to Jenifer. Because of congestion and the no left rule (4 to 7) on Willy thats what I am forced to do be because I want to go west. A temporary entrance during construction might be a good thing too but I don't see a permanent one as necessary.

There has been entirely too much made of this issue. I've never had a serious problem. Just put in an exit please. It should have been done years ago.

I do not have a strong

I do not have a strong opinion on the permanent driveway. I have been a member for years (since the previous location), and it has been difficult to use the "dead end" parking lot. Having an egress onto Jenifer could be a great solution.

I have read a number of previous comments, which are thoughtfully written. Many of them express concern about people speeding on Jenifer Street. I think one way to mitigate this concern would be to put speed bumps on the street, perhaps especially near the coop.

My two cents.

Jay Edgar
#13636

I think the driveway is a

I think the driveway is a great idea. It will make traffic better for cyclists on Willy Street by alleviating the traffic flow there. It will help the people who make left turns in and out of the co-op to not make those obnoxious left turns. What's so wrong with cyclists sharing a driveway anyway? We want cars to share the road with us, so why not share our driveways with them?

Jessey
Member number 40907

looking forward to the

looking forward to the driveway on to jenifer and an improved parking lot. thanks to all who have worked on this project. keep up the good work!

-ryan
neighbor/owner

I am a member of the coop and

I am a member of the coop and have lived on Jenifer Street for the past 10 years. I support a temporary outgoing only driveway onto Jenifer Street only during the construction period. I will not support a permanent driveway after the construction period is over. I walk to the coop on a daily basis and enter through the Jenifer Street side. This area is used heavily by bikers and walkers, who feel this space to be a much safer entrance than entering on the Willy Street side. To add a permanent driveway onto Jenifer Street would create a huge safety concern and a large increase in traffic through the residential streets, making it even more dangerous than it already is. We already have the buses that speed down Jenifer along with many cars, that make it quite dangerous for pedestrians and bikers. A permanent exit/entrance would also create a backup in traffic on Jenifer Street when cars are pulling in and out of the parking spaces along that side of the building, which is not real wide for cars to go in both directions. I could even see some fender benders in the parking lot because of the chaos of cars going in many different directions.

Tracy Gallo

Against a Temporary or

Against a Temporary or Permanent Driveway onto Jenifer

I live in the 1100 block of Jenifer Street. We bought our house in 2008 and love being able to walk to all the Willy Street businesses.
I am against the driveway for 2 reasons:

1. Why should we make it easier for cars to get to the co-op? Environmentally don't we want more people to walk, ride their bikes or take the bus? The co-op is very easy to get to by alternate methods.

2. I love my house and neighborhood but don't want any more traffic on Jennifer Street. It is already abused by many commuters who speed through to avoid Willy Street. I feel strongly that adding a driveway onto Jennifer Street will add more traffic to the street.

-Tara
Member #49271

I oppose both a temporary and

I oppose both a temporary and permanent driveway onto Jenifer St.

There are many compelling reasons to oppose the Coop’s decision (without consulting its members, which it erroneously and irritatingly calls “owners”), but I think this graphic illustration says the most as to why the Coop should be striving to minimize rather than maximize the number of people driving to the Coop.

http://www.unep.org/geo/geo4/media/graphics/Zoom/2.06.jpg , and for good measure you could add a picture of 40 people standing in a street without a bus or their bikes. Simply put, cars take up a lot of room. The square footage devoted to car parking probably exceeds the square footage of the Coop itself. The Coop simply shouldn’t be equating shoppers with shoppers who come in cars.

Beyond that, the Coop should use its considerable membership heft to help advocate for measures that, during the construction period and beyond, minimize the numbers of cars that drive through the neighborhood, with no intention to stop at the coop or any other neighborhood business. One step would be to eliminate the “flying right” off of John Nolen onto Williamson, or at least to time the lights so that there is never a green to the right when straight onto Blair is a red. At the other end of the neighborhood, at Schenks Corner, the right lane on westbound Atwood (currently left turn OK) should be made no left turn. Both of these moves would drive (pun accidentally intended) more cars to drive on East Washington, the street taxpayers just paid over $100 million to reconstruct.

Cars should also recognize their limitations. They take up too much room for them to be commuting on side streets, better left to people who use those streets for walking and bicycling. So, people, if you need to continue driving (some people actually do; I suspect the majority could use other means to get there), you should get to enjoy the congestion you create, and not zoom onto side streets to terrorize people who avoid arterials to have a safer non-motorized commute.

The attached article (
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/15/business/economy/15view.html?_r=2&pagewanted=print ) entitled the High Cost of Free Parking demonstrates the problems that accrue to a society that bases its transportation system around the private (usually single-occupant) automobile. As the NYT article says, “We end up overusing land for cars—and overusing cars too. You don’t have to hate sprawl, or automobiles, to want to stop subsidizing that way of life.” Professor Shoup notes that the value of a Los Angeles parking space at over $31,000—much more than the worth of many cars, and concludes “if we don’t give away cars, why give away parking spaces?” And further the article concludes “if we’re going to wean ourselves away from excess use of fossil fuels, we need to remove current subsidies to energy-unfriendly ways of life.” Maybe the Coop should charge for car parking.

No one expects the Coop (especially with its current management) to be a leader in adjusting to the twin challenges of peak oil and climate change, but it seems as though it should at least try to be neutral rather than increasing its carbon footprint and endangering the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.

I oppose a permanent drive

I oppose a permanent drive opening on Jenifer Street, but support one during the Willy Street construction period. Keeping the drive permanently open negatively affects way more than the immediate neighbors. It will divert traffic off Willy Street and onto all the streets between Willy and Lake Monona all the way to Olbrich.
Many years ago when Michael Christopher was the alder there was an agreement to take buses onto the interior streets in exchange for persuading commuters to use Willy, Winnebago and Atwood. It's worked well. Having parking access from Jenifer Street to the Coop would weaken what's been working all these years.

i think the second entrance

i think the second entrance on jenny is a good idea during construction, provided that you eliminate some of the parking spots on the street surrounding the exit, (for visibility and safety reasons), and you install, (temporary or not -- i'm sure the residents wouldn't mind), frequent speed bumps on jenny st. we've got them on my street and they work most of the time in slowing people down. it's not just cars that barrel down jenny street -- bikes and busses both pick up speed going east on the street.

but after construction and removal of the new exit and even after the west side store opens, the fact remains: willy st. co-op is in a high traffic, car-friendly intersection, and another multi-use structure just went up across the street. it's not out of this world to think that, yes, it's great having the co-op where it is, convenient for many of us. and it is a neighborhood asset. but getting there, on bike, foot or by car, is dangerous.

it's a fair thing to say that the co-op has outgrown the neighborhood; it's just too congested for most of the day. considering the volume of business that is done there in a day, it boggles my mind that the store has even stayed there. perhaps all the issues that creep up now and again are more telling about the location of the co-op than those who visit it.

# 21345

ps- i almost always shop there soon after it opens; it's just not worth it otherwise. to me.

Face it. It was dumb way

Face it. It was dumb way back when to agree not to have a driveway onto Jenifer. Rush hour (a prime grocery shopping time) is busy on Willy St. and the goofs trying to make a left turn out of the lot just make it all worse and as another pointed out the folks making a right often make 2 more and drive west on Jenifer. I virtually never park in the lot. I park on Jenifer St. I see others doing the same. I feel bad for the neighbors since you agreed not to do this but you are an asset to the neighborhood with an egress problem.

Dave Watts
member number 30599 (would be a lower number but I quit in protest when my "lifetime" membership from 1977 was revoked because I would not pay. Came back for the Fish Market!!)

Concerned About A Permanent

Concerned About A Permanent Exit onto Jenifer St.

Dear Coop Board Members and Coop Members/Shoppers.

I am writing in concern of the possibility of a permanent egress that would exit onto Jenifer St.

With the likely congestion of traffic that will occur on Williamson St. during the rejuvenation of Williamson St., I can understand a temporary exit onto Jenifer St. However I cannot understand the reasoning for a permanent exit. There are many factors to consider here, such as traffic flow (this includes cyclist and pedestrians). I live close to the Coop currently and use my bike or walk to get to the Coop. I access the Coop via the "Pedestrian and Cyclist" entrance on Jenifer St. The reason that I do this is I have had several close calls with cars when entry the Williamson St. entrance. People are concerned with making a quick left or right to enter the Coop that often a pedestrian or cyclist is the last thing on their minds. This makes for a very dangerous situation....Now if we make another exit, we are essentially doubling the danger for cyclists and pedestrians. Are we not supposed to reward those who take personal initiative by walking or riding a bicycle? As a Coop ethos, are we not supportive of green initiatives? It seems to me that we are now bowing down to the almighty gas machines instead of rewarding our loyal members who choose to ride or walk by adding a permanent "drive-way" for people who choose to use their cars. I understand it is difficult to make everyone happy, but we already have an entrance and exit on Williamson street that is specifically designed for customers with cars. What about the loyal customers who cannot afford a car or choose to walk or ride to do their shopping? In addition we need to respect the people who live in the neighborhood during Coop hours and after-hours...(yes the will cut through the parking lot. People live in this neighborhood and will already have to deal with increased traffic due to Williamson St. being slowed down. It would be a grand idea to involve some type of mediation with the Jenifer St. neighborhood, in order to bring about an amicable decision that is representative of what the Coop should stand for....Community! To end I was walking with my son (6 years) to the Coop the other day and we were talking about the possibly Jenifer St. exit and he looked up with a sullen face and said..."Papa...Does this mean there will be more cars and less bicycles"? It is something to think about as the board makes decisions that not only affect the Jenifer St. egress, but also how the Willy St. Coop in seen in the public eye and more importantly its long time customers (some of them who walk and ride instead of drive)....

Thank you for your time and may peace find you....

Stefan Berggren

I do think temporary access

I do think temporary access from the co-op parking lot onto Jenifer Street is needed during the upcoming Willy St construction, however I am strongly opposed to a permanent egress.

The traffic study being used to support the decision (which has apparently now been pulled from the co-op web site?) doesn't take into account the condition of the surrounding streets over the winter months. For roughly one-third of the year, Ingersoll and the other streets exiting off of Jenifer are often down to one-lane roads. Safety is already an issue (Paterson from Jenifer to Williamson can resemble a sledding hill), and increasing traffic will only make it more so.

Automobile access to the co-op is clearly problematic, but there are other steps that could be taken, that don't appear to have been explored.

What if the co-op parking lot had an outlet onto Willy St at each end, instead of just one in the middle? With one an entrance and the other an exit, traffic flow within the parking lot itself might improve.

The traffic study provides hard data indicating that the problems lessen significantly during the weekday afternoon period where parking on Williamson is prohibited in front of the co-op; what if parking on Willy from the co-op down to Baldwin were prohibited all the time? At the cost of a few street parking spaces, access to the co-op would be improved and (as an added bonus) traffic would flow better through the Williamson/Baldwin intersection.

I understand the desire and need to address the parking lot traffic issues, but adding a permanent outlet onto Jenifer that will reduce quality of life for surrounding residents is not the answer, and I hope the WSGC management team will realize this and seek an alternate solution.

Edward Almasy
Co-op Owner #4427
Marquette Neighborhood Resident

The traffic study can be

The traffic study can be found here:
http://www.willystreet.coop/files/Willy_Street_Coop_final_traffic_report_03-01-09_with_appendix.pdf

The study only addressed a "right-turn only, exit-only movement onto Jenifer Street."

Thank you for the link! I do

Thank you for the link!

I do understand that the study conclusions were focused on the possible effects of an exit-only outlet onto Jenifer Street, however the traffic count data the study contains may be relevant for other possible solutions as well.

I would support a temporary

I would support a temporary exit onto Jenifer that would be open only during the construction period. I do not support a permanent driveway. I walk to the Co-op and appreciate the fact that I don't have to dodge cars on the Jenifer Street approach. A permanent driveway will put more traffic on Jenifer, which is already overburdened for a residential street. I understand that many people don't have a choice about driving to the Co-op and that the single entryway at Willy Street has problems, but I don't think the solution is to create similar problems on Jenifer Street (if the argument is that only a handful more cars than now will be turning on or off Jenifer every hour, then the driveway won’t make much of a difference to the traffic on Willy; if the Jenifer driveway will carry dozens more cars onto or off of Jenifer, then that will be a mess).

The ad hoc committee is a pleasant-sounding idea, but I'm not sure what the point is. The Co-op appears to have decided what it wants to do, and to the cynic in me, it just seems as though this is all to try to put a good face on what's become a PR problem and make a show of getting input from all sides. I don't feel that I can call myself an "owner" given how this whole thing has played out; my number is 38588.

Sue

I support a temporary

I support a temporary driveway.

Support for a permanent driveway is not out of the question for me, but the driveway should be considered temporary until the construction project allows neighbors and co-op owners to gauge the benefits and various impacts.

I appreciate greatly that the Co-op is extremely supportive of bike-ped customers, including expansive bike rack space and even Bicycle Benefits discounts. I have concern for those who are not fortunate enough to live close to the co-op, or are not physically able to walk or bike for groceries. Everyone deserves access to the healthy, organic foods and products that the Co-op offers, and it makes sense to me to ease access during that time.

But it is critically important that commitments are reasonable (temporary driveway during Willy Street construction only) and clearly documented. These agreements can always be revisited at the appropriate time.

Can someone please post how the ad hoc committee was selected, and who is on it?

Deb Hanrahan
member 42158

Hello, Yes, I can address

Hello,

Yes, I can address the question about how the committee members were chosen.
Two, 1200 Jenifer block neighbors who attended the Monday night meeting and expressed being deeply concerned and affected by the addition of the driveway agreed to participate, our alder, an MNA representative, a rep. from the City, a rep. from the Madison Fire Department - Willy Street station, a GWABA member and 2 reps from the Co-op, Wynston Estis, Operations Manager and myself, Lynn Olson, Director of Cooperative Services.
Not all of these people have confirmed their commitment, but we're trying to schedule a meeting A.S.A.P.
We will post the results of our first meeting after its been held.

Thank you for asking.
Lynn Olson
Cooperative Services Manager

I think the driveway onto

I think the driveway onto Jenifer Street is a good idea. Much of the west bound traffic leaving the Coop already uses Jenifer Street by making three right turns out of the parking lot. I doubt the will be a substantial increase in vehicle traffic on Jenifer Street - which has never been a quiet street as far as traffic is concerned. The Jenifer Street driveway will make the Willy Street driveway safer to all cars, bikes and pedestrians by reducing it's volume.

I believe the Coop is one of the best assets in our neighborhood. We should add the driveway to ensure it's continued success thru the Willy Street Reconstruction.

TR Loon Coop Owner #15042
I live on the 1100 block of Spaight.

Thanks for the opportunity to

Thanks for the opportunity to comment. I reside outside of Madison and shop at the coop weekly. I think the driveway to Jenifer St is a great idea to relieve congestion on Willy St., and I believe it will be an absolute neccesity during road construction, which will last over one year.
Thank you,
Kathy Andrusz
38534

This is my last post on this

This is my last post on this topic.

If one shows they do not have the capacity to face their lack of integrity, they are announcing they can not be trusted.

Good Bye - Tom C.

We purchased a bike trailer

We purchased a bike trailer last year in part so we can haul groceries. However, I get really stressed out trying to navigate all the traffic on Willy Street with a bike trailer (and my 1 year old son inside). Can't wait to use the Jenny Street entrance! Thanks for making comments possible - 'bout time!

Rachel, as a bicyclist, you

Rachel, as a bicyclist, you CAN use the Jenifer St. entrance NOW. And if fact, you can do it WITHOUT the risk of sharing it with cars. If it is turned into a car driveway, you and your son will be at GREATER risk sharing it with cars than if you use it as it is now.

Perhaps the apron approach to the existing entrance could be widened by a foot or so to better accomodate larger/longer non-motor vehicles like your bicycle and trailer. But I've navigated the existing approach with a long semi-recumbent bike with a gear trailer in tow, with no problem. Believe me, turning this entrance into a car driveway will make it LESS safe for you as a cyclist.

Paul
Member 31664

To whom it may concern, I

To whom it may concern,

I live at 406 S. Few St right around the corner from the co-op. I am concerned with how a permanent driveway on Jennifer St. would effect the movement of traffic in our neighborhood. My son is nine and walks to school at Marquette. He is not allowed to walk or cross Willy St. alone because there is to much traffic. I would hate for the same to be true of Jennifer. Cars tend to speed on Jennifer because the street is so wide and I think increasing traffic on Jennifer St. is a mistake for the residents of this neighborhood.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerly,
Wendy Plutchak (member # 35086)