H-E-B has announced plans for a neighborhood grocery store at Mueller. It's stressing green:
Plans call for high-efficiency air conditioning, refrigeration and lighting systems. Daylight harvesting will brighten and dim lights as need throughout the day, and ceilings and walls will have beefed-up insulation.
Measures to conserve water include low-flow sinks and toilets. Landscaping will feature drought-resistant plants, and sprinklers will use reclaimed water.
The goal, H-E-B said, will be to qualify for Austin Energy’s Green Building program and — at a minimum — a silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Bully for the environment! Mueller is supposed to showcase good urban design, though, so I hope H-E-B doesn't intend green design to be a substitute for good urban design.
Good urban design here means designing the store on the assumption that some people will walk to it. Put the store at the front of the lot, adjacent to the street, so pedestrians can enter from a sidewalk rather than having to trudge across a parking lot. Add awnings for shade and windows for visual interest. Put the parking behind the store.
Building up to the sidewalk would encourage shoppers to park on the street. That's free parking capacity -- use it by building less off-street parking. Good urban environments maximize building area not pavement.
In other words, avoid this:
Update. Commenter Matt links to a site plan presented at a Mueller community meeting in April 2010 (at 27:50). The grocery store will be in the southeast corner of the lot, with its rear abutting the adjacent (not-yet-constructed) street. Parking in front and to the side. Berkman Drive, at least, would have other retail directly fronting the street. Eventually. Until then, the site will just be a parking lot with a grocery store at the rear. The parking lot will be much nicer than average, but this makes the development merely suburban chic not urban.
Anyone know if this site plan is up to date?