Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Once again, Chico needs to fight down Wal-Mart

Last June, I wrote a somewhat impassioned post about Wal-Mart sniffing around in north
Chico, looking for a new place to pave. In today's paper, I came across a new article that states that they are still fighting to lay waste to the beauty that is the rural cycling haven north of town. Why have we not defeated this yet?

I'll say it again. Half a million square feet of China-made disposable goods, parking lots full of obese people in their giant trucks, and 168 acres of land is going to absolutely destroy what makes the northern areas of Chico and Butte county a wonderful place.

I have seen this type of unplanned growth completely wreck the town in which I grew up. I watched in happen outside of Boulder, Colorado. And now, I'm currently wondering what the residents of Chico are going to do.

Are you going to allow completely unplanned growth and traffic to consume what is left of Chico, so that there are no low-traffic places left to ride?

Wal-mart already has a football field-sized store five miles from this proposed site. They are also going to expand that existing store to 250,000 square feet. I'd say for a town of 100,000, that's more than enough.

Aside from destroying what are currently amazing cycling areas, the roads in the north simply can't support the type of automobile traffic that a Wal-Mart and strip malls would bring to the area. The auto traffic would be horrendous. And who do you think will pay, if they actually do build new roads to support the strip mall lifestyle?

Look at your paycheck stub next time. Look at the local taxes that are taken from you. And then ask yourself if you want those taxes going to support roads that will 1) wreck much of the area that you ride in north Chico and 2) support yet another Wal-mart in a small town that simply doesn't need another Wal-mart.

Chico Velo and Chico Corsa need to step up to the plate on this issue, and we need to do everything in our power to, with civility and constructiveness, defeat it. You can start by emailing these people of the City Council:

  • Email city council
  • Email Mayor Andy Holcombe
  • Email Vice Mayor Ann Schwab
  • Email the city manager
  • Email the Editor of the Chico Enterprise Record

  • The Bay Area has done a good job of beating back Wal-mart. We should as well.

    This isn't just about the character and charm of Chico, or even cycling. This is much more about quality of life we have right now, and actively planning the future of what might be the last great small town in California.