Battle Royale: Cole Valley Versus Noe Valley

There’s been a bit of discussion around this site and some others lately regarding whether Noe Valley or Cole Valley is a better neighborhood. Rather than spreading that conversation around, we thought we’d bring it under one thread for the world to see.

Cole Valley:

Noe Valley:

Please share in the comments below and take us away to a great weekend:

Cole Valley, or Noe Valley. If you had to choose, and why?

-Noe Valley on Tour de San Francisco (real estate) [sfnewsletter]
-Cole Valley on Tour de San Francisco (real estate) [sfnewsletter]

62 thoughts on “Battle Royale: Cole Valley Versus Noe Valley”

  1. Cole Valley is better for younger people. More and better restaurants within walking distance. N-Judah is centrally located and runs 24 hours. UCSF Hospital is nearby. Haight, Golden Gate Park, and Inner Sunset is within walking distance. Noe Valley is not really connected to much except for maybe Mission. If you on the Castro side, that’s a long walk…

  2. Sun,

    You beat me to the first comment. Good on ya!

    My opinion is Cole Valley, and this is because my lifestyle is much more attuned to things North and West. CV is much closer to the ocean and surfing, closer to the great cycling in Marin, closer to the new Academy of Sciences (I have two sons), GG Park, Baker Beach, and all the great things I love to do in these areas. I also think that Haight Street has some of the best shops in the city and CV is about as close as you can get without getting all the riff-raff that comes with being near the Haight. Cole Street has some great restaurants, and CV is very close to 9th and Irving. The weather is a bit foggier, but I like a little fog from time to time and CV is definitely in a banana belt blocked by the hill above, so it gets much more sun than people think.

    Don’t get me wrong, NV is great too, just not great for me.

    That’s my $.02.

    alex

  3. I’ve lived in both, albeit only about nine months in CV. CV is definitely hipper because of its Haight proximity. NV has Mission proximity but the Mission isn’t like the Haight with everything on one strip.

    Also, let’s be real. BART isn’t particularly close to many parts of Noe. Folks like to claim BART for Noe tho … I always found that to be a little odd. Sure, there’s a steady stream of people walking down 24th every morning. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s quite a walk from many places in Noe. CV, on the other hand, has Muni right there. We all know BART is more efficient than Muni. However, Muni from CV isn’t the same thing as Muni from Judah and 18th. So as far as intra-city commuting, CV wins by and large. (But for southern commuting, Noe wins easily.)

    Weather wise, Noe has probably at least an hour more of sunshine on typical roll in, roll out SF fog days. That’s great. Noe wins by a wide margin there.

    Views wise? If you get high enough in CV the views are way better. The best properties have the GG bridge and the City both. Noe doesn’t compare.

    Restaurants? I’d call it a tie. Both areas have their good ones and their OK ones and their bad ones. Church and 30th is better than 24th, tho. (Can’t wait for that new Spanish place to open on 24th.)

  4. CV hands down every day of the week. For all of the reasons Alex listed (except my 2 are girls. Cole&Haight vs. 24th&Church that’s where CV is so much better. Transit is better in a car and on MUNI. More views (in general), Centrally located, Better bars, Amoeba.

  5. when we looked in cole valley (8 years ago), i remember thinking, “my child is going to come to me when he’s 25 and tell me about how he used to score drugs on haight street when he was a teenager.”

    so we didn’t buy there. i figure he should at least have to use some form of public transportation to buy drugs.

  6. is nv even in the city?

    i’m w/alex; cv is much closer to the things i like about the city. closer to the beach,downtown, gg park and other nabes.

    nv is better for commuters

  7. Paco I’m with you.

    the first aspect is that NV is MUCH larger than CV. So for the sake of the battle, let’s shave the odds of NV like Liberty hill, guerrero, beacon and all that is not close by and walkable to downtown NV (whatever the definition of downtown is for you)

    My second point is that NV is a little city within the city. The more I live there, the more I meet people who can live in NV for months, even 10 years, without stepping out of the Valley (beside a trip to the airport to pick up someone – at most).
    NV is growing into independance. There is mostly anything for anybody there. Healthcare, preschools, a coming WF for decent food supply, a couple gas stations “right there” (shell on SanJose is one of the best price in the city), a Google Stop, a growing number of small businesses (such as home based startups, adding day time foot traffic, laptop-coffee customers etc), decent public transportation, a large array of stores and food (not so much as choice, but there is at least one of everything, saving you a trip outside NV for a single emergency item).

    So I’d say that altho I love love love NV, this is not a choice for everybody, but would feel great to someone who wants urban peace, rather than the noise and activity of a city the importance of SF.
    To be honest, I feel I live in a remote burb. And going downtown becomes a real outting, with the kids being all exited about the trip. Burb is not the word. Village is, with 3 churches’ steeples, a post office and a market place to anchor it.
    (views are different from the postcard views of downtown and/or the Bridges. But a few specific rows of victorians riding the hills have a something like fairytale views)

    2 notes on traffic and weather. Until our first summer in our house, we had NO idea what the weather being “better” meant. That first summer, I called a couple friends in the city, saying how wonderful the weather was, that we were eating on the deck each day — to be told that fog had been worse than ever north and west.
    same goes for traffic. being right on 101 and 280, never taking the 19th and geary again adds something pretty amazing to city living.

  8. Cole Valley. Topographically 24th street in NV is surrounded by hills making me feel a little claustrophobic, like I’m at the bottom of a bowl, when I’m there. That and there’s this faux “progressive” vibe in NV that I find irritating – sort of like lots of folks there used to live in the Mission but feel guilty about all the money they made. Ever see the episode of South Park lampooning San Franciscans as being so rich and full of themselves that they literally all smell their own farts and drive around in Priuses? I immediately thought of NV. At this point, it’s almost Pac Heights south, but at least in Pac Heights (which I think is better than both neighborhoods) people are rich and pro-business and unapologetic about it.

  9. Ok, so i live in NV so obviously biased. But I like them both but I just think they’re different. A huge reason that folks pick NV to live has to be the commute/job factor. We just couldn’t do CV if we wanted to – it’d add too much more time. I also think the weather in NV is much much warmer (about 1 hr ago I actually was driving all around CV and it was foggy..come back here, and it’s super sunny). However, I will agree w/folks that NV misses the more urban feel of CV, and NV does have, at times, a weird vibe. Plus, I wish the main drag (24th) went the other way as the wind comes down and just blows down that street.
    Also, not ideal, but on the transportation side, a lot of folks just take the 24 to Market, then it’s super fast to downtown (via underground the 5 or so trains that run thru there).

    On CV side, you guys have some great houses, an excellent village, and younger vibe all of which I like. But the biggest thing I love: it has all those older trees and wow, that makes a difference…you drive down the streets and it just feels great, and for some reason in NV, all the trees are younger and shorter. Sure wish they were like that here, now.

  10. I am surprised Whole Foods still lists Noe Valley on their website when I remember hearing they declined the Bell Market location because of lack parking and the building being too small to handle a typical Whole Foods footprint. Sadly, I a NV friend said there are a group of people waiting to fight Whole Foods at that location because of NIMBY traffic concerns and because of strange anti-yuppie bias hatred. They have already made their concerns known to Whole Foods.

    I still think the California St. Whole Foods has the most stressful and entertaining parking garage in the Bay Area.

  11. “I still think the California St. Whole Foods has the most stressful and entertaining parking garage in the Bay Area.” … and gave me my major (and only) dent on my car :-(

    Justin. You can contact WF anytime. I did last week, and the project is going forward as far as they told me.

  12. I really think it comes down to your interests, and likely your age. Noe Valley is great for young families or pre-baby couples (late 20s-early 40s) who want to be close to green spaces and a similar demographic. We’ve got literally everything you could need in a few blocks…restaurants, bars, banks, cafes, 100 nail salons, gym, etc. (although the impending news of Cala closing is very troubling). It is def. NOT great if you are single (as i was a few years ago…man, depressing!)

    I always thought CV was cool, but it’s really small and frankly being that close to the Haight is no bonus…unless you like meth addicts sleeping on your doorstep. I’m confident in saying that the mission way trumps the Haight for food, interesting stores and nightlife…but i guess that’s another battle ;)

    As for the sun comments…sorry CV…but we def. get more sun, less fog and warmer days. But you get the park.

  13. Is it just me but everytime I go to Noe, I get the strongest vibe from the people declaring their entitlement….to just about everything. The people are snooty, the drivers are obnoxious and rude, and frankly, the place is just way too blond. Sorry but I just can’t wait to get out of that little suburban enclave and back into the real heart of the city.

  14. you’re spot on coco. which is why i sold my noe condo in 2005, and am now happily living in the mission. i must admit it was rather amusing selling at the top of the market, and observing numerous scared-shitless yuppies fighting to overbid for that condo :-)

    noe has become a bland, sanitized, yuppie entitled suburb- it’s getting more akin to palo alto every day. and it’s most annoying demographic: 30-something-single-women-yuppie-wanna-be’s-waiting-to-have-it-all.

  15. “30-something-single-women-yuppie-wanna-be’s-waiting-to-have-it-all.”
    c’mon 44yo hipster… I’ve been here (NV) about a 2 yrs, having moved from Russian Hill, and the last thing I feel like I see around here are single people.

    btw, though, I do not, however, agree w/folks that think NV is just amazing…it’s got a lot of flaws and there are times living here i’m scratching my head on why folks claim it is so great. It’s nice…but it’s nothing “amazing”.

    i do hope a WF comes in though..i’m already paying WF prices at Cala anyway.

  16. 2005 was not the top of the market for Noe. Take it from somebody who developed a property and needed to sell it in ’05. 2007 was the top of Noe’s market.

  17. Sorry to be a hater, but these battle royales do not appear to be much more than a popularity contest–which adds very little value. Explaining an area’s strengths and weaknesses, like in the Tour de SF, is valuable. But comparing Cole (population 4,000) to Noe (population 20,000) is pretty close to comparing apples and oranges. To each his or her own.

    [Editor's note: Nicole, Thanks for the comment. These Battle Royales are an effort to allow the readers a voice, rather than just reading what I (or other contributors) choose to write.]

  18. @heidi-

    NV is not as straight as you think. on my block alone in NV there are 8 gay couples; male and female..and some babies too.

  19. It really depends what you’re going for. Noe Valley has the feeling of being a small suburban village unto itself and this has been the case for a long while. It feels very similar to places like Mill Valley and Palo Alto (which, i admit, some people consider quite different in themselves).

    Having lived here for years, I will admit that there is certainly more of a ‘car culture’ here. Obviously there are an endless number of families who made the very self-conscious decision to move here. The suburban quality is not primarily caused by Noe Valley’s feeling of being physically removed from the city, though. I think it is more caused by the feeling that everyone in Noe Valley is deeply focused on the practical going-ons of their individual every day life. For instance, you are more likely to see young people off on their own in Cole Valley, just sitting in a cafe with a book. In Noe Valley, on the other hand, one is more likely to see a group of women having coffee, with their local jogging group, with their babies, with their jogging strollers, on the way to a play dates, or shopping, and then yoga, etc

    What I mean to say is that while Noe Valley feels removed from city life, that such a feeling may be just a manifestation of this suburban mindset on the neighborhood’s residents’ parts. They may not want to live entirely ‘in the city’ in every sense of the term. They want to be near a lot of things (which NV certainly is, and not at all far away from great things as some posts here have stated), without sacrificing the feeling that their neighborhood is ‘more home’ in a certain sense than the rest of the city.

    So, the people in Noe Valley simply have a fully realized liberal fantasy. The ‘charm’ of a tightly controlled social environment, while being near all of those other parts of the city that they can’t quite bear to give up…

  20. This is nonsense. Whole Foods just announces they’re coming to 24th St without first consulting with local business owners? Who do they think they are? Noe Valley does not want chain stores, we fight them every time. And we certainly don’t want even more traffic congestion.
    The reason so many of us live in Noe is to get AWAY from pervasive chain stores and traffic, we want to remain a family neighborhood. When we want to shop at WF were are perfectly willing to drive to other areas — but we do not want WF here in our charming little neighborhood.

  21. Bland? Well, trust me, as soon as Whole Foods comes here it’ll be blander yet.
    Forget it. NV is a neighborhood, not a destination for supermarket shoppers.

  22. I am so sad that Noe Valley would allow our lovely neighborhood to be invaded by people coming from all over the place to shop at Whole Foods on 24th st. I’d like a WF nearby, but not right IN Noe. Not slap bang in our center. I’d like to see them up on Diamond Heights instead – where there is far more parking available and where we don’t stroll with our small kids to local stores.
    Plus the smaller this WF would be (and this will be a very small one) the more we will get terrible traffic tie ups given that the size will not stop people coming here to shop.
    It’s a very very bad idea. Very bad.

  23. Are you folks actually happy with the current grocery situation in Noe, the situation that is Bell, Drewe’s and the 30th and Church market? Come on now. Bell is a joke and the other two are boutiques. The neighborhood needs a decent supermarket. Sorry. It just does.

  24. Sure Bell is inadequate. We are not debating that. But WF will bring about a lot of new problems, including massive parking and traffic problems and forcing a lot of small businesses out of operation.
    I like shopping at WF – but I don’t them slap bang in the middle of 24th St.

  25. This is my concern as well. I like Wholefoods, but I don’t want them right here on 24 st causing more traffic problems. It’s already pretty bad at Bell’s, but will be a lot worse with Wholefoods.
    What we need on that site is a parking lot. That is what Noe Valley needs. I’d happy to drive to Wholefoods in another area, just as i already do.
    The manager of Bell’s told me that that site will a parking lot, not Wholefoods, and that is what we need.

  26. By Noe Valley, SF on Nov 17, 2008 | Reply

    Bring on the Whole Foods!! The small location (combined with other SF stores – including Market/Dolores) will keep traffic down. NV needs a real food option.
    ——
    ^ Just how would it keep traffic down? Wholefoods would draw shoppers from surrounding neighborhoods. We live in NV to have a family kind of community, we don’t want people coming to 24th st to get their groceries. What we need is a good parking lot instead.

  27. Noe Valley does need a better grocery store, but not right in the center. Let WF find a much larger site somewhere not on 24th street. A small WF right on 24th would serve only cause a LOT of parking and traffic problems, as well as putting a lot of our local stores out of business.

  28. It wouldn’t be that small, and I don’t understand the traffic argument. Bell is already nearly almost always packed as is. 24th st is already always busy too. And WF will most definitely NOT draw from surrounding. Bernal has two markets. DH has one, the Castro has two, and the Mission has more than enough. GP now has one as well.

  29. Bell is already full – yes. And they are not a very good market. And yes, 24 st is always busy as it is.
    With a new Whole Foods on 24th studies are already showing traffic and parking would increase a lot.
    All I am saying is let Whole Foods find a location NOT right in the middle of Noe down town.
    What Noe needs a new parking lot – the Bells site would be great for that.

  30. Well we are now looking to move to either Mill Valley or Glen Park when the market picks up. We moved to NV to be in a family community, Whole Foods will end that community.

  31. Smithson,

    Can you name another site that can support a larger scale grocery store in NV? Bell’s appears to be it from what I see.

  32. Whole Foods coming to NV is not going to end a sense of community, its going to provide a much needed quality grocery market. From my understanding, it will be the same size as Bell’s. This is not going to bring outsiders in by the droves to specifically shop at a Whole Foods, because, quite frankly, they will have better Whole Foods to select from in the city (such as the nearby Potrero store). Small stores have a limited selection of products (& brands), and this one appears that it may even have the same limited parking lot as well, which is going to be a deterrent.

    Some people on this blog like to compare Noe Valley to Palo Alto. This is one area where it might be valid. Downtown Palo Alto has one of the smallest(if not the smallest) Whole Foods stores in the U.S (its one of the original ones). It is probably similar in size to the current Bell’s store. I lived a few blocks away from there for years, and frequented it regularly. It’s patrons are almost completely local. It’s small and expensive, and has a limited product selection because of its size. Outsiders shop there for specialty trips, but its not the market of choice for those outside a 10 minute driving radius. If people want the big fancy whole foods, they go to the Mountain View store.

  33. PLEASE bring on the WF. I can’t stand the current situation (Bell). It is just as expensive if not more, and the quality is horrible. I live in NV as well.

    Also, some counter to folks arguments:
    – lack of community. Is Bell giving you that now? I don’t see it. If anything, I would argue that it will improve. Why? Because now, NV folks will shop at their LOCAL grocery store rather than go outside of the community to shop. (ex. I shop at that Safeway in Diamond Heights or to other places and thus never run into neighbors from NV).
    – traffic, part I: Only reason that there is not a lot of traffic issues now is because that grocery store is so bad, folks don’t go to it.
    – traffic part II: As a NV person, I will start walking to WF vs. driving to Diamond Heights. That is one less car on the road and less gas being consumed.
    – traffic part III: I would bet that if that parking lot gets full a lot, then you’ll find a LOT more folks walking vs. driving to their LOCAL grocery store. And I would argue that that also enhances the community.
    – hurt nearby businesses: again, I would argue the opposite. With me (and I argue, others) walking / going to their LOCAL grocery store, I am more likely to shop at 24th Street stores nearby as well. If I drive to Diamond Heights, I am more likely to buy, say, Chinese food at that place near there instead. Real example: some dude was halking art outside of the Diamond Heights Safeway the other day, and I ended up buying a small piece of art.

    Folks, I understand the concern, but I think things will actually improve on 24th with a WF. I think folks need to factor in just how many of us are not walking and using their LOCAL stores because of the lack of a good grocery store.

  34. All this crying about WF “destroying the neighborhood” is the same thing that happened before Canyon Mkt was built in Glen Park. The local merchants even put up flyers with renderings that exaggerated how tall the building would be, making it look like an gigantic albatross.

    By most measures, Canyon’s been a huge success, even for local merchants. Several (better) restaurants have sprung up and seem to be thriving. All shopping malls have anchor stores because they bring in more consumers, which helps to feed the surrounding merchants. A WF on 24th would be a great anchor. Far better than Walgreens or Radio Shack, which are already there.

    Think about what’s happening even without a new WF in the hood: video store closed, record store closed, Kookez restaurant closed… and there’s more carnage to come with the macroeconomic conditions we have on the radar. A boost from WF will provide economic stimulus, just at time when we can use it most. They will refurbish that crappy space and provide a boon to fellow merchants.

    Also, people will not drive from all over the City to visit a micro-sized WF in Noe with little parking. That’s crazy talk. Before the Potrero store, we just didn’t go to WF at all. Soma WF is plain inconvenient, as is the store on California. We drive to Potrero occasionally because it’s easy (i.e. big parking garage and plenty of street parking)…

    As for transportation in Noe vs Cole: I live in Upper Noe, on Sanchez, near the new park. I walk to the BART every day. It takes 15 minutes. It takes me 5 minutes to walk to MUNI. If I need to drive south, it takes about 3 minutes to get to 280 via San Jose.

    For people accusing Noe of being vanilla, step outside of Starbucks/Bliss Bar for once and you might experience the real Noe… My family (2 professional MBAs, a dog, and no kids) probably fit your stereotype, except that we are a mixed race marriage. My nextdoor neighbors are two gay women, and two gay men live next to them. Across the street is an 80-year old man who grew up on our street. On the other side of me, an older Jewish couple, and beside them is a Filipino family of seven. I’ve lived in Palo Alto and you are completely off your gourd if you think that Noe is anything remotely similar.

  35. With Whole Foods coming to 24th Street, the street is as good as dead! With the economic depression in full swing, it is hard enough for the small independent store to weather the storm, let alone with the arrival of a deep-pocketed corporate store that will gravely affect local stores. There is NOT ONE restaurant, liqueur, wine, cheese, chocolate store that will not be sorely impacted by the entry of Whole Foods on 24th Street. Maybe the delis, take out stores, kitchenware stores, skin lotions stores, should throw in the towel right now while the going is good.

    How long will the remaining stores stay open without the foot traffic going up and down 24th Street without any real destination? The boutiques, the jewelry stores, the banks, the real estate offices, will stay open … some longer than others, but eventually, even they will dwindle and fade away – one at a time they will go! Oh, Tuggy’s Hardware Store will survive, people will always need nuts and bolts (gee, maybe we should but in a Home Depot after tearing down all the empty stores!)

    Those who are concerned about parking after Whole Foods opens, don’t worry. There will soon be plenty of street parking as there won’t be any shoppers shopping for anything else on 24th Street — there won’t be any other stores open. I have an idea: we should buy up all the empty stores and make them into law offices and offices for Psychiatrists and Psychologists – there will be lots of depressed people in and around Noe Valley. These empty stores will remain unrented — who wants to open a new business with Whole Foods across the block?

    If Whole Foods has the best interest in their heart for the residents and businesses of Noe Valley, they will stick to what Noe Valley needs: A Grocery Store. Not a corporate, high priced food and sundries boutique in direct competition with the small business owners who are part of our community. If they want to enter our community, let them first survey and visit local stores and make a pledge to each and every one that they will not compete — just as Bells did not compete with local stores. And let them first make sure they will not cause more traffic and parking problems on 24 St.

    Noe Valley is, and always has been, a neighborhood community, it is why many of us choose to live here. We have long fought to keep out large chains and corporations, we like our village atmosphere. Whole Foods threatens that.

    There is something we do need: a parking lot. With better parking available, local stores would regain a lot more foot traffic. The Bell’s site would be FAR better turned into a parking lot. Yes, we need a grocery store, but let that not be a vast conglomerate right in the middle of 24th St. Yes, many of us are happy to shop at Whole Foods, but not here, not when it will cause all our local stores to suffer. Whole Foods needs to find another location, a much larger location, that is not slap in the middle of local shopping. A location we can drive to and park at with ease.

    So, fellow Noe Valley residents, walk 24th St and keep in your memory how it is; if Whole Foods opens, it will never be the same.

  36. Nothing showcases a neighborhood more than a parking lot…

    “We have long fought to keep out large chains and corporations, we like our village atmosphere. Whole Foods threatens that.”

    Which chains are those? Walgreens? GNC? FitLite (24 hour fitness)? Aveda? Tuttimelon? Starbucks?

    Still waiting to hear what studies have been done vis-a-vis traffic.

  37. A lot of these anti-WF posts seem to be coming from the same individual. (Funny how these “different people” all seem to conclude that a giant, concrete parking lot right in the middle of our shopping district is the best remedy for maintaining our quaint atmosphere…)

  38. “Which chains are those? Walgreens? GNC? FitLite (24 hour fitness)? Aveda? Tuttimelon? Starbucks?”

    Excellent point… Should we omit Pomodoro? Barney’s? Supercuts?

    “I have an idea: we should buy up all the empty stores and make them into law offices and offices for Psychiatrists and Psychologists – there will be lots of depressed people in and around Noe Valley.”

    Hmm. Sounds like someone could use easier access to a therapist to deal with delusions…

  39. I agree with Dave. What are we really questioning with Whole Foods coming to our neighborhood? Thta we might, possibly, attract people from other neighborhoods? People vigilantly defend Noe Valley as a part of the greater San Francisco whole. They defend Noe Valley as an urban neighborhood, with progressive city values. Yet here, we see a large number of comments in which people state that they like Whole Foods and patronize it (i.e. the chain factor is not really the issue), yet do not want people from other neighborhoods around the city crowding our beautiful 24th Street.

    Do those who defend Noe as a truly urban neighborhood recognize that other neighborhoods in San Francisco do not lay these kinds of claims over their communities. If we truly felt as if we were a part of San Francisco as a whole, we would not be so averse to the prospect of Whole Foods.

    After all, we own/rent our homes…not the entire neighborhood. The area—and I mean the Noe Valley area in particular, here—needs a major full-service grocery store. Part of 24th Street’s buisiness woes may be caused by this clannish quality, in which we, as a neighborhood, actively choose what we accept and what we deny. Part of living in a city, after all, is a tolerance for those parts of life that we may not always want to be confronted with. A grocery store in the center of our commercial corridor might just be the price of living in a dense, urban area.

    And lastly, shouldn’t we examine our statements here in regard to liking Whole Foods, patronizing Whole Foods, and then stating that we don’t want it to burden our neighborhood both as a charmless chain and as an inconvenience.

    What are we, as a neighborhood, saying? That other neighborhoods should be inconvenienced instead? That we should not have to be confronted by chain stores in our neighborhood, even if we use them when we leave the area? These kinds of sentiments are, frankly, provincial, separatist, and non-progressive in nature.

  40. I don’t know about some of the posters here, but I like living in Noe Valley because I can meet my everyday needs without having to get in a car. I can’t wait until Whole Foods opens! I’m only afraid it will close much earlier than Bell (which stays open until midnight), so I won’t be able to pick up groceries on my way home from dinner at local restaurants. If people want more parking lots, they really shouldn’t be living in the middle of the city…

  41. By DanRH on Nov 18, 2008 | Reply

    Also, some counter to folks arguments:
    – lack of community. Is Bell giving you that now? I don’t see it. If anything, I would argue that it will improve. Why? Because now, NV folks will shop at their LOCAL grocery store rather than go outside of the community to shop. (ex. I shop at that Safeway in Diamond Heights or to other places and thus never run into neighbors from NV).
    – traffic, part I: Only reason that there is not a lot of traffic issues now is because that grocery store is so bad, folks don’t go to it.
    – traffic part II: As a NV person, I will start walking to WF vs. driving to Diamond Heights. That is one less car on the road and less gas being consumed.
    – traffic part III: I would bet that if that parking lot gets full a lot, then you’ll find a LOT more folks walking vs. driving to their LOCAL grocery store. And I would argue that that also enhances the community.
    – hurt nearby businesses: again, I would argue the opposite. With me (and I argue, others) walking / going to their LOCAL grocery store, I am more likely to shop at 24th Street stores nearby as well. If I drive to Diamond Heights, I am more likely to buy, say, Chinese food at that place near there instead. Real example: some dude was halking art outside of the Diamond Heights Safeway the other day, and I ended up buying a small piece of art.

    Folks, I understand the concern, but I think things will actually improve on 24th with a WF. I think folks need to factor in just how many of us are not walking and using their LOCAL stores because of the lack of a good grocery store.

    Reply to Dan: walking when carrying several bags of groceries just doesn’t seem likely.

  42. Sally. Disagree. I shop for 5, and I try to drive only once a week, to reduce the gas used. HOWEVER, I walk by Bell daily (school, post office, etc etc), and if it was economically viable (Bell is not, WF is absolutly), I’d rather shop daily for fresh produces, meat etc.. instead of having to guess and stock at home (and often dump some spoilled food due to missjudging the food eaten in a week).

    You can still drive to buy your 48 water bottles and 72 rolls of toilet paper… but then, you can drive to a discount store like once a month, because your daily food is taken care of.

    A note on WF pricing. We are one of those infortunate families who have no choice but buy all of food at WF, rainbow etc for medical reason. And when you HAVE to buy groceries at WF, believe me, not only you learn to shop smart, but you also realize that prices are amazigly not high.
    Example: half gallon 2% milk.
    3.99 organic, 3.99 non organic at current Bell.
    2.49 non organic at target
    2.49 365 non organic at WF. 3.29 organic.

    Example: jam, strawberry. decent one (with strawberries, not food coloring). 10oz 365 (WF) 1.99. Safeway brand, 2.49

    I’d say that each time I go to a non-WF store, I’m shoked at the prices. When the gas was so high, most food prices doubled, but WF prices went up only 10-15% – closing the gap to virtually zero.

    So before anybody just ASSUME WF is “expensive”, come shopping with me, I’ll prove you otherwise – at one condition, you self-controle yourself and dont buy any imported cheese at 29.99/lbs.

  43. Sophie is correct. I am hooked on the bulk foods at WF, less packaging and you are not paying for a brand name on the box. If you shop smart at WF, it is very reasonable. Definitely cheaper than Bell, and more value as the meat/produce is fresher. I think the traffic issue will be quite bad, but on the whole it’s a benefit to the neighborhood.

  44. additional info/news.
    (WF jam is not 1.99, it’s 1.49)

    WF is opening in the castro a rather large store – which should opne before NV store. and reduce some car traffic (assuming anybody would actually drive to NV to shop).

    The bad news is that NV has disappeared from WF website.

    Sally, please explain “bye to small local stores”. WHICH stores are your talking about? food stores? the only one I can see being impacted is church@30th produces. And the way I see it is that it will PICK UP business. If people stop driving far for big shopping time, there are more likely to walk around, and walk to the closest store midweek to get a missing item (the playground reopening also impacted that store in adding foot traffic).
    If you want to say bye to small stores, then you could just add Bell high prices and reduced foot traffic as a reason to the closing of the next door video store. As far as I can see, if it was not for Bernie, the WHOLE BLOCK would be dead by now – with no foot traffic whatsoever, several closed storefronts etc.

  45. Sophie – you scared us!! WF still lists Noe Valley, just slightly higher on the page than before (under “Noe Valley”). And they’ve updated to indicate “2009.”

    As for the Battle Royale… It’s a nicer walk to WF through Noe Valley than to the Haight from Cole Valley.

  46. I do think the “commenters” who are so anti whole foods and pro parking lot are probably one person, and certainly a person with no understanding of urban planning. Parking lots are a blight on a neighborhood and attract crime, graffiti, etc.

    I don’t think a lot of people come from outside of Noe Valley today to shop here, since there is no major draw. An anchor tenant like WF would change that, and hopefully people will stop and shop at other stores. Certainly once they understand the charm of the street and the businesses they will.

    My one concern is that we locals continue to shop at the local specialty merchants instead of WF once it opens – I know I will, even if the convenience isn’t there. The NV cheese shop for cheese, PJs for wine, the Chocolate shop and others… we need to continue to shop locally.

    If WFs has a good sense of community and recognizes their limited space, they will limit their selections in these areas (and others where there is local competition) and focus on the gaps in the neighborhood as a whole. I don’t hold out much hope for this (they are a business after all), but net-net, I think WF is a big win for the neighborhood.

  47. @PG: Great comments. Call us Pollyannish, but we’re hoping that WF will not try to directly compete with local specialty stores (and they won’t exactly have the room for everything). Here’s an excerpt from the most recent NV Voice:

    “The store will probably have a butcher to cut and trim meats, a fishmonger, a bakery, a team of chefs preparing takeout meals, and an emphasis on straight-from-the-farm produce, she said.

    “The main thing is we try and bring in as much local products as possible.”

    At some of its 21 locations in the Bay Area, Whole Foods has set up mini farmers’ markets in parking lots. That’s not likely to happen at the 24th Street site–both because of the facility’s small parking lot and because Whole Foods does not intend to compete with the Noe Valley Farmers’ Market, Cornish said. The weekly Saturday-morning event, where vendors sell organic fruits and vegetables, has been a fixture on 24th near Vicksburg since the Real Food Company closed its doors five years ago.

    Cornish said Whole Foods does, however, envision using “local foragers,” who will “go out to local fields and bring their products into the store.” The store may also “bring in local farmers to give samples of their products.

    “While conventional supermarkets take a ‘cookie-cutter’ approach to their stores, this Whole Foods Market store will be customized with products and services most in demand by the Noe Valley community,” Cornish said.”

    We will also continue to support NV Cheese Co, PJ, etc.

  48. Great discussion here, just what I was looking for.

    My family and I recently moved from Menlo Park to a house in Noe Valley. We have two girls – 1yr and 2 1/2yr old. So far we love it, but we’re thinking to move to Cole Valley to try it out for the sake of comparison.

    How is it living in Cole Valley with young kids? Are there reasonable markets within walking distance? My wife loves that produce store on 30th in NV– anything like that in CV? What about super markets? What about a rec center? The new one in NV is great on rainy days. Maybe the gym on Fredrick has something? Are there good kid friendly restaurants in CV too? What’s the traffic like in CV? We live up the hill a bit, and the cars can get going pretty fast going down. Plus the streets are so wide in NV compared to CV — I think that leads to cars driving faster.

    As far as comparing NV to Palo Alto, I think there’s a very different vibe in NV. PA always felt very competitive, kind of a keeping up with the Jones thing and my kid does more activities than your kid, a lot of focus around money with everyone working long hours and traveling. NV feels more cooperative and down the earth. More relaxed. Definitely more diverse. Great public transportation. Plus, talk about dog-friendly. In PA it’s getting tough to find any place where you can have a dog off-leash.

    Maybe by SF standards, NV is more like PA than other areas in the city, but in a direct comparison, I don’t think it holds up.

  49. Well, my girlfriend loves the 30/Church market too. I don’t think CV has anything as good. Not much that good in the city! But there’s a decent grocery up on I think Frederick and Clayton? Supermarkets not so much right now. Fulton Market isn’t that far away tho, nor is Faletti’s on Broderick between Oak and Fell.

  50. I have lived in NV for 7 years now and I love it as much now as I did when we moved from the western addition.

    I am queer and on our 4 block street, we don’t feel alone!

    We sold the car, so the J, BART and taxi to the airport gets us where we want to go. I could give a damn about parking at WF. I would actually vote to close 24th to traffic between Sanchez and Noe. Why someone needs a 1/4 ton hunk of steel to get them and their organic bananas home is beyond me.

    The weather is pretty good too; I like the blend of fog and sun and just love to watch it swirl in over twin peaks from the top of sanchez and hill st.

    The NV CBD has done a great job of planting 24th with trees and now too the whole of church street has been planted with magnolia trees. I so look forward to watching them grow and bloom.

    Actually, now that WF is coming in, Nutracellulite has no chance of a viable business in NV. Lets hope they sell the property and we can move on from this sorry episode.

    Tom.

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