Traffic & Whole Foods

whole-foods-logo-100w.jpgLet’s examine the possibility of the Cafritz Property development including a Whole Foods. Many area residents might enjoy having a Whole Foods nearby—especially for rushed weeknight dinners. But are we ready for all the additional traffic?

If we give Whole Foods the benefit of the doubt and assume that their store will be at the small end of the scale, only 40,000 square feet, let’s think about how many trips might be generated each day as people drive to this new destination. (We’ve heard it will be 42,000 square feet, but we are generous folk.)

Supermarkets do about 102 car trips per 1,000 square feet. So, if this is a 40,000 SF Whole Foods, you are looking at 4,000 car trips a day, and about 500/hour during the peak afternoon rush. The source for these two figures is the traffic impact bible for planners and engineers: Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), Trip Generation , 7th Ed., 2003.

However, Whole Foods real estate criteria and existing store data make us believe that they pull from a larger geographic area and have customers that are willing to drive a greater distance, thus would generate more trips, than say, Giant. In Austin, Texas, Whole Foods has a smallish store, only 30,000 square feet. There, over 3,800 trips are made daily.

Route 1 is already overloaded. The State Highway Administration has determined that Route 1 is pretty much at capacity and its intersections are operating at a level of service that would receive a classroom grade of an E or F. This is permissible only because the state and county hope to push Metro use.

However, Whole Foods real estate criteria make it clear that they prefer stand alone stores with parking dedicated to their customers. Route 1 and 410 are both heavily traveled roads that meet at a failing intersection–that is about to become worse with the addition of Wachovia’s drive through lanes. The Cafritz site’s proximity to the intersection should be a real source of concern.

To make this project work–if a zoning change is granted–will require something more than the transit adjacent development style that’s been deemed acceptable thus far in the Route 1 corridor. The Cafritz team will need to address the number of trips generated by future residents and a Whole Foods (or other retail). Transit oriented development should limit parking and push users (commercial or resident) towards Metro.

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5 Comments

Filed under Cafritz Property, College Park, Developers, Hyattsville, Riverdale Park, Traffic, University Park

5 responses to “Traffic & Whole Foods

  1. I just found this blog. Great stuff! I hope you don’t mind my adding it to my Prince George’s Co. Blog Reader: http://www.pgcares.com/blog-news.html

  2. Jim in RP

    Background on the Cafritz Family

    I have been poring over the records on Calvin & Jane Cafritz and their history with the DC area. My conclusion may disappoint others who are skeptical of their intentions. Calvin is a native Washingtonian with not only a sterling reputation as a businessman but also the chairman of one of the most generous foundations in the area. I think it’s entirely appropriate to question whatever they do with property in our town, but my research hasn’t borne out any skepticism on their general intentions toward our town and our region as a whole. Check it our for yourself but when you do you might be surprised by how lucky we are that they are owners of property in our town. If you can find anything to disprove my research, I’d love to see it. Let’s work positively with our DC neighbors for the prosperity of this exciting development and if we do it right, it may pay us philanthropic benefits for many years to come. If there’s anything I can do to clarify this message, please contact me.

    Here’s a link for others to check out:

    http://www.cafritzfoundation.org/About/annual_report.asp

  3. Paul

    Jim: I can confirm that the Cafritz family foundation is well known to Washington-area nonprofits, at least those working on the immigrant service and homeless issues. Casa of Maryland has been one of their beneficiaries–Casa is a terrific organization. And I know two homeless groups who have applications before the foundation this year. FWIW

  4. Ann

    The one thing I found that gave me pause was this article which talks about the Federal City Council (Calvin Cafritz is listed as a member). See the end of the article about Federal City and efforts to push I-95 through Brookland.

    http://www.thecommondenominator.com/mdp1ir99.html

  5. Pingback: Cafrtiz Conundrum « Route 1 Growth

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