District 3 Blog
Grandview, Kwik Trip, Yet another perspective, and refuse pickup
Happy New Year!!
We've heard a great deal about Kwik Trip in the last six weeks or so, and I'll happily add to that in a moment but we also have Grandview Town Center updates to announce so I figured it was a great time to be in touch.
Tonight the Urban Design Commission unanimously approved the proposed development in Grandview Town Center. Commissioners raised questions about bike racks/facilities, planters and vegetation options, angle of the southeastern corner building, and number of driveways and driveway alignment on the eastern edge of the development. Ultimately the commission seemed pleased and the proposal heads to the Plan Commission on Monday January 25th. If you think you won't be able to make it but want to share your thoughts with the commissioners, you can find their email addresses here.
Much has been said at our neighborhood meeting, in emails to me, and in general neighborhood communication about the Kwik Trip proposal. We've discussed beer licenses, traffic patterns, fairness to neighboring businesses, and best use of space. If you think that's a great deal to weigh and consider, you'll love this next bit.
One issue we haven't discussed with respect to the Kwik Trip proposal is food justice. Food justice refers to the societal goal that everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, has access to safe and nutritious food and that growers are paid a fair and living wage for what they grow. This relates to Kwik Trip in this location with specific regard to the underserved folks living right near the proposed site. Families in that area without reliable car transportation will likely make KT a mainstay of their daily and weekly grocery needs and we must be conscious of the implications of that.
Having reasonable access to a grocery store is one major element of keeping a neighborhood from becoming classified as a food desert. Underprivileged families in our area have access to a grocery store in the form of Woodman's. Is this reasonable access? Using Madison Metro's trip planner I determined that from the area in question, it is a 22-45 minute bus trip one way to Woodman's, depending on time of day. 45 minutes on a bus with bags of thawing groceries isn't anyone's idea of feasible. So we must really question whether we are doing right by our neighbors to keep food access the way it is.
To be sure, having a KT in the neighborhood would be an improvement for families with few other reasonable grocery options. KT carries more fresh grocery selections than any other fuel station of which I am aware. All the same, how many meals can a family make from KT's oft-referenced bananas, milk, potatoes, and onions? For other staples like flour, sugar, soup, and pasta noodles, families with no other options will end up paying the premium prices for grocery basics which we see at all convenience stores. Simply put, while it's a convenient spot for many of us to pick up a few staples, KT simply cannot take the place of an actual grocery store for the underserved.
So-what can take that place? Only another grocery store could likely do that and we all know how unlikely that is. Other potential options which would not provide groceries but would provide a tremendous social or cultural value to all families in the neighborhood include a community or senior center or community garden. With MSCR opening shortly, much of the need in that area is addressed. So, are we ok with choosing an improvement from the current status instead of holding out for something perfect years down the road?
It would be pretty arrogant for me to make any attempt to speak for the folks in a different socioeconomic status from me, and I haven't heard from anyone in this specific area, but I believe this should be a part of our thought process. I haven't heard anyone else involved in the process mention it, and in the interest of considering all perspectives and making an informed choice, I wanted to bring the topic up to you all.
What do you think?
Thank you for being informed and engaged citizens who consider all different perspectives. I look forward to our neighborhood continuing to mull these issues as KT begins its city approval process. By staying engaged in our neighborhood conversation, we will find the best answer together.
On an unrelated but important note, there will be no refuse/recycling pickup next Monday, January 18th, in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Thanks for reading a lengthy update! Be well and stay in touch!
Alder, District 3
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