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The Whole Foods debate
Readers weigh in on whether Whole Foods is a good fit for Monroe Avenue.
This is of course driven by greed. Obviously, developing the Whole Foods plaza is more lucrative than an Italian restaurant. Why would the Daniele family care about a traffic nightmare?
Development is all about taking nature and building on it and paving it. If there is already a building on it, development is all about cramming more into a small space.
It seems few can recognize when enough is enough. This section of Monroe Avenue has gradually become more and more unbearable. The city without the Inner Loop is much less appealing, and soon Monroe Ave will become another "must avoid" area.
Whole Foods is expensive. Starbucks is expensive. The retail stores located in this plaza will be similarly expensive.
Most of the potential customers, those with high incomes, are already driving right by this location. Let's say the traffic is backed up and hardly moving, if somebody turns into the parking lot, well, that's one less car on Monroe Avenue. If someone goes from the lot to the street, then that's one more car on the street. There's no net change.
Some people will not shop there until Monroe Avenue becomes less clogged; they'll be doing some good. There just needs to be enough parking. The good news is that you can always dig down and build up for more parking.
The project should be allowed to move forward. This development won't be drawing tons of people from all over the region. Let's not get carried away. The vast majority of customers live nearby and are already using Monroe Avenue. Otherwise, Whole Foods wouldn't want to locate there.
Obviously this development is driven by the people who own the land. I think it's just madness to put more traffic on this small stretch of Monroe. Why not put a Whole Foods in Victor at Eastview Mall? There's lots of retail traffic, an upscale demographic, and significant existing roadways to handle an increased influx. Plus there's no good grocery in the area.
You can write the town or contact Whole Food's regional office with your thoughts: 930 Sylvan Avenue, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 07632.
A place to start on guns
Could we all take a moment to acknowledge that even hard-core opponents of gun control are OK with banning civilian ownership of anti-tank weapons; surface-to-air missiles; chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons; incendiaries; landmines; and a host of other military technology?
So there's a line between "O.K. for civilians" and "Not O.K. for civilians." Now that we've established that, can we please have a conversation about which side of the line machine guns should be on? Maybe with actual reasons why?
Jazz Fest appreciation
When Makoto Ozone came on stage during the Arild Andersen concert the music went in a slightly different direction, and for 20 minutes, the first-set audience was treated to what will surely be a highlight of the 15th XRIJF. The set ended with a rousing, sincere standing ovation.