James and I were disappointed when we heard about the Superior Court Judge Luis M. Matos' decision to reverse the zoning variance that had been granted to the urban farm store Cluck!. Cluck!'s Facebook page calls on supporters to come to their site at 399 Broadway on Sunday at 9 AM and to "bring a blanket, bring a picnic, bring yourself and your West Side pride to the Cluck! parking lot!"
The issue of parking is key to this case, in fact, which makes a picnic in the Cluck parking lot appropriate. Cluck, which labored to open up as a local urban farm & garden business based significantly on bike and bus traffic, was designed to have limited auto parking in line with the ecological ideals of urbanism. Opponents challenged the store on the basis that its provision of chicken supplies would be unhygienic--and on more publicly contested grounds, that the store would take away free parking spaces for the neighborhood and create traffic congestion.
Transport Providence supports the repeal of parking minimums, which we think act to hinder development, make housing and commercial space more expensive, while undermining walkable, bikeable, and transit-oriented community design.
I'll be there with James to support Cluck! on Sunday, to take photos of attendees and to ask why people are out to support the business. As someone who does not drive and who considers urban farming important, I need a place close to me from which I can bike heavy loads of supplies back to the apartment. For me, the city is a hard place to be sometimes, and seeing the city trade gardens for pavement upsets me. Mayor Taveras has wisely been working to turn more parking lots into farms and gardens, and here we have a source for greenery being intentionally kept a vacant lot.