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Viewpoint: A flourishing farmers’ and artisans’ market

by Mark von Wodtke, FASLA

 

It’s been more than a decade since Clark Staub, Wolfram Alderson and a small group of us—advocating for fresh organic food—met with Bill Bentley, who graciously allowed us to put a farmers’ market in his parking lot in the Village where Rhino Records is now.

The community supported this market and the Claremont Forum was able to get permission from the city to move it to Second Street. Now, with the approval of the Traffic and Transportation Commission, the Forum will have the city’s permission to expand the market on Harvard Avenue—extending it from First Street at the Depot to Bonita Avenue by Shelton Park.

Our vision has been to create a market for the eastside of Los Angeles that would be comparable to the Santa Monica market, which is on the westside of Los Angeles. The new location offers many opportunities to help make this vision more of a reality.

Some of us enjoy walking to the market each Sunday morning. My wife and I like to wheel a small shopping cart to carry what we purchase. Harvard Avenue is accessible by shaded streets with beautiful trees, making our Sunday morning walk a pleasure.

Adding a sign at Indian Hill Boulevard and First Street each Sunday could remind people how to find the market and to park nearby in the Metro lots so as to not cause vehicular congestion in the Village.

The Claremont market and our Village provide a wonderful destination for cyclists each Sunday. They can ride the Citrus Bike Way, which connects many communities in this Inland Valley. On Earth Day, thousands of people rode bikes to the Village. Why not offer valet bike parking (like is done in Santa Monica) to help attract cyclists? Then people could securely leave expensive bicycles with accessories and bags while they enjoy the farmers’ market and frequent Village restaurants and shops. 

Each Sunday morning, valet bike parking (together with a dog sitter, as is also done in Santa Monica) might be located along First Street in the Curtis Real Estate parking lot, or at the Depot, providing a welcoming gateway for cyclists visiting our community.

Claremont could also encourage people to come by train on Sunday. The market and Village could flourish by accommodating more people without cars. Metro could attract more ridership on weekends. Claremont could invite people to patronize the market in our pedestrian- and bike-friendly Village by working with Metro to advertise on the trains. 

People coming to Claremont by train might even want to ride readily available Ofo bikes to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and other local destinations. Claremont has a lot to offer families seeking excursions.

Restaurants along Harvard Avenue—and throughout the Village—could offer brunches that include fresh organic produce from the farmers’ market. The Claremont Public Library might offer Sunday programs for children to enjoy books while their parents shop for fresh fruit and vegetables. The Shelton Park Community Performance Stage could accommodate special events for additional attractions.

Please participate in the fun! Celebrating a flourishing market enhances our sense of community. Claremont is fortunate to have a wonderful market in our civic core. Help it, and the Village, thrive.