Freddie Kruger himself could not have produced a worse nightmare for FGC residents than the one that has materialized since the Georgia Avenue Walmart opened three days ago. Since then, the vehicles of at least three co-op members have been hit while parked on 9th and Peabody Streets; one car had its driver’s side mirror knocked completely off and another car was so badly damaged that it had to be towed away just last night. This problem is the result of the sudden influx of vehicles crowding onto narrow streets that were not designed to accommodate stadium volume traffic.
DDOT impact studies that reportedly preceded the opening of the store were apparently several pages short of a reality check. A poorly positioned traffic island at the entrance of Walmart’s underground parking garage makes it difficult for drivers to navigate a right turn off of Peabody. Some of the numerous drivers entering and egressing the garage seem oblivious to pedestrians crossing the ramp. At least two FGC residents walking by there were nearly hit by cars that did not slow down as drivers turned left to go into the garage or raced up the ramp and onto Peabody Street. During the busiest hours, one or two Walmart employees are stationed in the garage area to direct traffic. Still, a speed hump or stop sign, SOMETHING needs to be placed at that location to force drivers to slow down – especially at the egress side of that driveway — before a pedestrian is run over. And with so many inattentive school children coming and going pass that entrance, an accident may be waiting to happen.
Vehicles parked on the street are being treated like amusement park bumper cars by unconcerned drivers intent on getting their shop on. One issue frequently voiced at the pre-Walmart meetings was that people who dislike parking garages will be grabbing the limited parking spaces on the street, thereby decreasing the number of spaces available to people who live in the neighborhood. Three FGC board members stood outside last evening and watched this occur. Touche´!
Traffic aside, FGC now has to contend with unauthorized vehicles parking on our property. Yesterday, a couple who looked to be in their twenties was sitting in a truck parked in the co-op driveway. When an FGC member asked them several times to move off of our property they refused. They told the member that they were waiting for someone who was in Walmart and when told that they were trespassing, the female on the passenger’s side became argumentative. Even as a board member stood near the truck while giving a 911 operator information about the intruders and reading their license number to her, the driver refused to move the vehicle. The truck had been parked on FGC property for at least 45 minutes. Knowing how long it might be before a squad car arrived, the board member walked to the precinct. As she was returning with an officer, a squad car had already arrived and was parked on the FGC lot. The truck containing the trespassers sped past the board member and the female passenger shouted at her. The reason that the huge Private Property signs were posted at the FGC driveway months before Walmart opened was to prevent Walmart shoppers from trespassing on our property.
Thanks Walmart. Another conquest for big business. Another nice neighborhood destroyed.
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For FGC residents exclusively: The Knights of Columbus, Shrine Council #4944, is holding its annual fruit sale. Residents interested in purchasing a fruit box, perhaps to give as a holiday gift, should stop by and see Bobby Woodland.