Those interested in weighing in on the proposed access routes can click here to fill out a survey, which will be up through mid-November.

In order for the redevelopment of the Magnolia Albertsons to move through its design process, it must first get SDOT to sign off on its garage access plan.

“Right now, the project is still in due diligence,” said Security Properties communications officer Kym Michela. “It’s still in design. Until we have the opportunity to meet with the city planner, whom we hope to do in the next couple weeks, we can’t move anything forward. We can’t advance anything forward until we do the access site.”

Bumgardner Architects principal Mark Simpson said the company is looking for feedback regarding two possibilities for garage access to the site. These two possibilities are accessing the site from the alley behind the store, or accessing the site from 32nd Avenue West.

Security Properties is working with Albertsons Companies to raze the existing 19,735-square-foot grocery store and replace it with a 25,000-square-foot Safeway store with 145 housing units on top.

The parking access has been a sticking point between the developer and SDOT, and was addressed by project representatives during the Oct. 15 Magnolia Community Council meeting.

Simpson said an alley entry is the code-compliant access point for the site’s below-grade parking, but that would mean sharing the alley with single-family homes.

“For most alleys, you don’t share with single families and that works just fine, but in this case, we’re not sure it’s the best way to go,” he said.

Since most of the parking — around 212 stalls — will be underground, Simpson detailed how getting to the parking structure would work in each case.

There is a 15-foot grade change across the whole site, so the cars coming in off the alley would have to enter a parking ramp that would take them down the 15 feet to street level, and then an additional 10 feet to the parking structure beneath the store.

“Even at the steepest-allowed code ramp, which is 15-percent slope, it sort of reminds us of the SeaTac garage ramps that you go down, where you kind of have to spiral down,” Simpson said of the alley option. “You come down the ramp and get down to street level and continue ramping down to get below grade and into the parking area. It’s worse than the SeaTac parking ramps in that this ramp would be two-way. You’ve got cars coming at you as you are trying to get down there.”

He said the single-family homes on the other side of the alley would be backing out of their own garages, with little to no sight lines, and the vehicles coming from the store’s parking garage would be shining their headlights into the windows of the adjacent homeowners.

“We’ve looked at this, and we’ve talked with neighbors, and we looked at another option,” Simpson said, “which works better for Safeway and I think works better for residents and works better for the neighbors around there, and that is to come off of 32nd — to not come off the alley.”

Garbage will always have to be picked up off the alley, Simpson said, so Security Properties will leave the loading and the garbage pickup off the alley. But in the case of the 32nd Avenue access route, Security Properties would leave, to some extent, the surface parking that is on the south side of the store, but flattened out.

The ramp to the parking structure would gently slope down into the parking garage from the 32nd Avenue entrance, Simpson said.

“If we don’t have this large ramp coming down (from the alley), then there’s actually room in the southwest portion of the site for a 66x56 [foot] public plaza,” Simpson said. “We are even proposing that there would be a pedestrian crosswalk going over to the school and the play field.”