“Nob Hill neighbors rally to stop another proposed chain store,” The City, Jan. 22
“San Francisco may expand chain story ban to Polk Street neighborhood,” The City, Feb. 8
New Whole Foods store not opposed by all
As a long-term resident of Nob Hill, I am baffled why anyone living in this neighborhood would oppose a Whole Foods taking over the vacant Lombardi Sports building at Jackson and Polk streets. The nearest supermarket, Traders Joe’s at California and Hyde, is so popular that during busy hours, the lines stretch all the way to the back of the store and beyond. It takes almost half an hour to reach the cashier.
Your front-page story unnecessarily clouds the issue with its headline “Nob Hill neighbors rally to stop another proposed chain store” followed by the sentence, “Nob Hill business groups are once again banding together to try to stop a ‘big box retail’ establishment from opening …”
Who is opposed? The neighbors or the businesses? Of course, the two nearby Walgreens and CVS and Trader Joe’s — because they all sell food. No surprise that local business organizations want to build housing on the site instead. That would bring more customers and less competition.
Polk Street already suffers from too many shuttered businesses, including Radio Shack, the Big Apple Supermarket, the large Town School shop kitty-corner from Lombardi’s and City Discount on Polk, all of which closed in the last two years.
Please, let’s have another store. I don’t care if it sells moon rocks — anything but more housing in this crowded and underserved neighborhood.
Choosing for ourselves
Why can’t neighborhoods decide what businesses are appropriate? Supervisor Peskin, along with outspoken special interests, has decided the Upper Polk Street neighborhood can’t have a Whole Foods 365 store.
If you travel east on Polk, from the location in question, including a half a dozen blocks either side, you will run out of land without finding a supermarket. Your only choices to buy food are at corner stores or a health food store. All are quite expensive and have limited options. Do we not deserve a reasonable place to buy groceries in walking distance?
I appreciate the need to maintain the character of our unique neighborhoods, but working-class people need to shop for groceries close to home without emptying their wallet.
Ironically, the one neighborhood that every tourist visits, that should retain local charm, has had a mushrooming of franchise stores and restaurants under Peskin’s watch. That is Fisherman’s Wharf, and it is an embarrassment.
Existing markets are enough
Middle Polk and Nob Hill are well-served by existing markets, such as LeBeau and Trader Joe’s, with excellent transit access to four Safeways, if the latter is your choice.
San Francisco is a compact city with “world class public transit,” according to Walk Score. Walk, get on a bus or ride your bicycle to the grocery store of your choice. It doesn’t need to be at Polk and Pacific.