Here we go! It’s a summer of good energy — watch the progress of the solar parking project

by Chris Maher, General Manager

It’s really exciting to see that construction on our new parking lot and solar system has finally begun.  While this project comes with some temporary parking challenges, it’s really gratifying to see how well our staff and shoppers are working together to just take it in stride. We have a page on our website dedicated to parking project information, and will be keeping it up to date with all the information you need to find the best time to shop and eat at the co-op. You can find this information as well as a 24-hour parking construction webcam at www.briarpatch.coop/parking-lot/. There is also lots of great information here in the pages of The Vine.

I want to thank all the Co-op owners and other shoppers who offered feedback and ideas on this project as it developed. It is this type of cooperation and collaboration that makes our market so unique and this project so powerful. We will work to keep this two-way communication open and dynamic throughout the project’s duration. If you face any challenges while you are at the store, please reach out to any staff member. We are here to help you!

I can be reached with ideas and suggestions by email at chris@briarpatch.coop and at the store at 272-5333, ext. 100.

Questions & Answers

Why is BriarPatch expanding the parking lot?

If you’ve driven through our lots midday, you probably know the answer to this question. At times, there are no spaces available. The message from shoppers has been loud and clear, from in our surveys and in person. By far the most-requested store improvement is “more parking.”

The 2016 project will add parking, improve flow, and add features that enhance pedestrian safety and personal security in the lot.

What does the design look like?

Additional parking will be created in a new section of lot adjacent to the current back lot, in the area that is now a water detention basin.

The design includes a pedestrian walkway running the length of the back lot. The design also includes expanded areas for outdoor activities on the southwest side, nearest Litton Drive.

California-Solar-Crew

The solar project is underway! Look for the Cal Solar team around the Patch this summer, as they engineer the electrical system for feeding 300 kilowatts of power from the solar array to PG&E. The solar panel shown here, which is displayed on the store patio, is a smaller version of the type that will be used in the 680-panel array.

What are some details about the solar array?

A 680-panel, 469,000-kilowatt solar array will be installed on a steel structure over the center walkway and center back parking spaces. The solar array could provide as much as 55% of the store’s electricity needs, and shade for 48 parking spaces.

What other features are included in the plan?

The plan includes several features that will improve vehicle and pedestrian safety in the lots. Additional signage will help direct and slow vehicle movement, and more cart corrals will be placed within the parking area. For pedestrian safety, more lighting fixtures will be added and a dedicated pathway will connect the parking area to the store with a striped pedestrian crossing.

A future outdoor activity area for special events is planned for the upper hillside above the parking area.

What are the environmental impacts of the new parking lot, and how will they be mitigated?

The new section of lot will require filling the existing water detention basin, and utilizing a smaller but deeper basin at the far end of the lot. Native plants within and around the basin have been selectively removed for replanting by the local Redbud Chapter of the Native Plant Society. All trees removed will be replaced. A landscape plan has been prepared by Jo McProud & Associates, our previous landscape architect for the building. Native trees and plants will be added as illustrated in the site plan drawing. Drip irrigation and organic fertilizers will be used for the landscaping.

How many additional spaces will be created with this plan?

45 spaces, a combination of full size, compact, motorcycle, and handicapped accessible spaces.

parking project schedule

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