Having attended the community meeting in which developer Carl Paladino presented his case for sacrificing two lovely, irreplaceable 1890s houses to make room for an expanded Rite-Aid store and parking lot at Elmwood Avenue and Bryant Street, I cannot accept his arguments.
He says the store must expand because it is losing profits to the large new Walgreens at Delaware and North. I say with five other Rite-Aid stores in a roughly one-mile radius, Rite-Aid has saturated the market and become its own worst competitor.
He says these nearby Rite-Aids serve only "pocket areas." I say if this is the case, then this "pocket area" Rite-Aid hardly requires additional parking space, because it is unlikely to draw customers already served by another pharmacy.
He says "weak drivers" (translation: the elderly) require large parking lots to provide a sense of psychological safety. I say if developers would design for pedestrian, rather than automobile, convenience -- especially in this pedestrian-centered neighborhood -- then "weak drivers" might surrender their cars, something that would benefit everyone. This Rite-Aid, with at least three senior high-rises nearby, should offer a delivery service.
He says this store must double its floor space in order to compete. I say if this store provided pleasant service, plowed its sidewalks, concealed its ugly dumpster, installed adequate lighting in its parking lot, got a face-lift, ended the sale of alcohol and cleaned up its act, then it would quickly win back the customers it has alienated.
Cynthia Van Ness Buffalo