October 21, 2010

Trader Joe’s Reportedly "Outed" From The Castro Over Traffic

Market and Noe Center (Image Source: MapJack.com)

Last stymied by Radio Shack, it now appears that Trader Joe’s has given up on opening a Market and Noe Center (2280 Market) store due to "irresolvable traffic issues" and subsequent parking requirements which were being imposed by the Planning Department.

Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who represents the Castro, said he was not made aware of Trader Joe's decision when he met with company officials three weeks ago. However, he was told that a condition imposed by the city's Planning Department on Trader Joe's - that it would have to charge for parking at a nearby lot, in order to dissuade shoppers from making short driving trips to the store - was a "deal breaker," according to Dufty.

No official word on what this means for the Market and Noe Center whose owner was quoted last year as noting "nearly three years with no anchor tenant, a huge mortgage, the building on the verge of being lost, resources exhausted, and hope fading" prior to announcing Trader Joe's would save the day.

Trader Joe's In The Castro Currently Stymied By A Shack [SocketSite]
Trader Joe's move to Castro on hold [SFGate]
Out With Tower Records (Three Years Ago), In With Trader Joe’s? [SocketSite]

First Published: October 21, 2010 8:10 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Idiot Planning Department never loses an occasion to be counter-productive.

Trader Joe's have an enormous success. We have way less TJ's than we could accomodate. Heck, a city like Santa Barbara has 3 Trader Joe's like SF while being 4 times smaller.

The more Trader Joe's are in the city, the less traffic issues there will be for the simple reason that they'll be much closer to the client! Instead, the Castro crowd will keep their cars to shop to Masonic or Soma, instead of walking/cycling to shop.

Again, yet another idiotic planning department blunder.

Posted by: lol at October 21, 2010 8:18 AM

For being a town of "progressives," progress is nearly impossible. I live nearby this location and supported it 100%. This is very disappointing. San Francisco...trapped in amber.

Posted by: Tweety at October 21, 2010 8:19 AM

How come Safeway on Market (or anywhere in the city, for that matte) doesn't have to charge for parking? Whole Foods on 24th Street? Best Buy? Are these "planners" idiots? Or are they morons? I simply can't decide.

Posted by: steve at October 21, 2010 8:33 AM

Chop Safeway in half and allocate the created space to TJs' Problem solved.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at October 21, 2010 8:34 AM

Rincon Hill would love to have a Trader Joe's, and look ... There is an entire block opening up where the Embarcadero Postal Center used to operate between Harrison, Main, Folsom, and Beale.

Posted by: Jamie at October 21, 2010 9:00 AM

Nope its not the Planning Department its the bike nazis er SF Bike Coalition. Hey I ride a bike but I don't tell other people that they are less than pieces of crap because they don't ride too. The Bike Coalition is likely the most influential "non profit" in terms of land use planning in The City at the moment. You don't think so? Follow the votes...

Posted by: Bike Coalition at October 21, 2010 9:01 AM

What a bummer. I have friends in the Castro who rent Zip cars just to drive and shop at Trader Joe's but who would be much happier just walking over there. The city that doesn't know how.

Posted by: 94114 at October 21, 2010 9:02 AM

^ you YIMBYs!

Posted by: tipster at October 21, 2010 9:04 AM

This is terrible news.

Posted by: curmudgeon at October 21, 2010 9:13 AM

Total bummer. Are these city planners working for us or against us? I live right nearby and wrote Dufty in support of the idea. So now, instead of being able to walk there with my ol' lady rolling cart, I get in my car and drive to another TJ's location. Pffffbt.

Posted by: Enid D at October 21, 2010 9:30 AM

Three cheers! This would have been a disaster for the neighborhood. The tiny parking lot couldn't have even come close to handling the parking demand for this store, and little Noe St, as well as surrounding residential streets would have been overwhelmed with idling and circling cars. TJ's unwillingness to accept even minor changes to their car-oriented business model shows that this never would have worked.

Posted by: Dubocian at October 21, 2010 9:32 AM

"Are these city planners working for us or against us? I live right nearby and wrote Dufty in support of the idea. So now, instead of being able to walk there with my ol' lady rolling cart, I get in my car and drive to another TJ's location. Pffffbt."

All this does is cause people to drive to Masonic, which only puts more traffic on Noe streets. Good work, Planning Department! While the Bike Coalition does try to kill projects beneficial to the city (and beneficial to their cause) quite frequently, this is still San Francisco: Where Progress Goes to Die.

Posted by: sfrenegade at October 21, 2010 9:40 AM

"TJ's unwillingness to accept even minor changes to their car-oriented business model shows that this never would have worked."

Or that when you gotta count objective dollars and cents you can't afford childish magical thinking.

Posted by: TEJ at October 21, 2010 9:41 AM

Delighted!

TJs would have been a transit death trap. As romantic a notion of walking to TJs a la a European market -- that's not their format -- it's designed for the SUV culture.

Had they re-invented themselves into a different store format -- def an opportunity -- but this mutli-bil firm just isn't that neighborhood-needs specific. At least, yet.

Posted by: invented at October 21, 2010 9:45 AM

People like Dubocian would have fought this project tooth and nail because of the traffic on Noe Street (where the small garage entrance is located). That's why the Planning Department was trying to alleviate things.

Posted by: curly at October 21, 2010 9:50 AM

Trader Joe's: please consider setting up shop at California and Hyde when Cala Foods closes! Please!!!

Posted by: pigge at October 21, 2010 10:02 AM

"As romantic a notion of walking to TJs a la a European market -- that's not their format -- it's designed for the SUV culture."

Seriously? How is Trader Joe's "designed for the SUV culture"? Someone explain this to me.

Also, how is it that it's typically easier to walk to a Trader Joe's in Los Angeles, of all places, than San Francisco?

Posted by: sfrenegade at October 21, 2010 10:05 AM

Great point above about Whole Foods in Noe on 24th - how did that get through? I think the WF on Stanyan could be a mess.

But nothing is worse than the lines to park on Masonic for TJ's there. Who wants that?

I am not a Nimby - but I can't accept queueing and idling vehicles blocking lanes waiting to park. There really are a shortage of good sites for stores like this.

I would prefer TJ's to go either to a place with ample parking...or no parking at all. That would ensure walking. TJ's really just needs to have many more stores, that's all. Too bad that doesn't fit their model.

Posted by: Frank C. at October 21, 2010 10:12 AM

I'm sure people would have been happy to walk TO TJs, but I doubt many would walk FROM TJs carrying heavy groceries.

I'm not in favor of this decision, and I wouldn't want to force my lifestyle on anyone, but given the decision, you might want to consider a bike.

Anyone who could walk to this location in under 10 minutes can bike to the SOMA location in under 10 minutes. The bike can be used to carry the groceries back for you, it's cheaper than a zip car if you get a used one and parking is a breeze.

I decided to try using one exclusively in the city and sure enough, it was possible to do. It opened up a lot of places I wouldn't have normally gone and the money you save on the alternatives (zip car, bus pass, gym membership) can be used to make it safe and easy. And unlike my gym membership, I really do use the bike to go shopping.

I'm not saying this is a good decision, but those of you unhappy with it might try an alternative to mitigate the effect of this stupid, stupid decision. It opened up a whole new world, for me at least.

Posted by: tipster at October 21, 2010 10:18 AM

TJ's really just needs to have many more stores, that's all. Too bad that doesn't fit their model.

sort of a catch-22 isn't it?

in order to open many stores, you must first open one and make sure that it is viable. Then you can expand.

but when it takes many months to years to open a store, then you are going to hesitate on trying to open many stores.

Posted by: ex SF-er at October 21, 2010 10:26 AM

Yup, these are precisely the reason why I voted conservatively on my absentee ballot this year -- I voted no on every single tax proposal on the ballot and voted for conservative candidates, not so much because I am in agreement with their entire platform, but because the politicians in this town is far too anti-business for its and my own economic health and good.

Instead of simply being complaining and venting about it, I took action and I suspect many folks feel the same way as I do. This will be evident in the November election results.

Posted by: Live Smart at October 21, 2010 10:38 AM

Trader Joe's should take over the Delano's on S. Van Ness and 23rd St. That Delano's has been on the verge of closing for months, apparently is on a short term lease. It has a good size parking lot, and is convenient to the Mission, Bernal and Noe Valley.

Posted by: Dan at October 21, 2010 10:44 AM

Come on folks, show a little creativity. Heck, over here we privatized (resident parking only) half the street in a two block radius of TJ's.

Posted by: EBGuy at October 21, 2010 10:50 AM

Only problem with riding and parking your bike while shopping is that is will be "gone in 60 seconds"!

Posted by: fred at October 21, 2010 10:50 AM

Trying to fit a TJ at that site was totally problematic and a bad idea from the beginning. They were actually planning to park the trucks on Market Street and load in from there. Ridiculous.

Posted by: Stephen at October 21, 2010 10:58 AM

@Dan.. I like it. Someone call TJs...

Posted by: R at October 21, 2010 11:02 AM

fred, I've been parking my bike outside at least two different TJs every week for over a year. Never been touched.

A small U lock through the rear wheel (google: sheldon brown lock strategy - it works) and a cable through the seat and the front wheel. I've parked in the worst neighborhoods. Never had even a bolt removed.

For the first time, someone did undo the quick release lever on my seat last week while it was parked on Market street. Didn't get very far: the cable stopped them. They never even got the seat off the bike.

Posted by: tipster at October 21, 2010 11:03 AM

Well I must be extremely lucky then fred as I bike daily and shop almost exclusively with a bike yet have not my bike nicked while shopping. I did however have my seat swiped a coupla years ago while hanging at a pub. Very annoying to have to ride home standing in the pedals so some tweaker can get a quarter way towards their next dose. I've heard that theft from cars happens too.

Yes, TJs is a nice store but I'm amazed what people are willing to forfeit just to have a favored retailer nearby. Here's a thought experiment : If instead of emitting cars onto the local street network as TJs corporate wanted, suppose instead that TJs emitted a small though not entirely benign amount of radioactivity (food preservation ?). Lets say the effects on neighborhood health would be less from the tiny radiation leak compared to the exhaust and increased risk of collision from the cars. People would be protesting in the streets to prevent TJs from opening. Most folks are more scared of invisible ominous sounding radiation but will willingly accept the way that more traffic degrades life and threatens health. Somehow automotive traffic is an accepted risk and we give it a pass.

And for those of you who are bummed that you cannot walk to TJs : your complaint should be directed towards TJs HQ who refused to open without being granted a large parking entitlement.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at October 21, 2010 11:13 AM

Anyone who could walk to this location in under 10 minutes can bike to the SOMA location in under 10 minutes. The bike can be used to carry the groceries back for you, it's cheaper than a zip car if you get a used one and parking is a breeze.

I don't drive. I often walk 15 minutes to the Safeway ten blocks away. I return with as much as 50 pounds on my back and in my arms. No freaking way I'm doing that on a bike.

Posted by: BobN at October 21, 2010 11:22 AM

The planning department and supes drive me nuts. Lifelong SF resident and I'm tired of planners deciding they know what is best for me. Let the store open - if it does well it's because there was a need for it. If it doesn't they'll shut it and something that serves the public better will take it's place. That's how it works.

Reminiscent of the Bayshore big box Home Depot issue.

Making shoppers pay for parking is a non-starter that any business would laugh at. Planning overplayed their hand and give big business another definitive reason not to try to do business (and employ people) in SF. If it's in the Castro some shoppers would have walked there. Better than all shoppers getting in their cars. Drives me nuts.

Posted by: Will the Thrill at October 21, 2010 11:23 AM

This is ridiculous! The Planning Dept never ceases to amaze in their ability to ruin a good project. My favorite dry cleaner in the neighborhood was forced to move from that location because of the Trader Joe's deal, and now they're not coming in? BS. The Planning Dept would rather see an empty, underwater building sit in our neighborhood than let it thrive. Safeway is a DUMP and I was really looking forward to the option of going to TJ's. Thanks a lot, Planners. You suck.

Posted by: Scott in SF at October 21, 2010 11:32 AM

Will the Thrill - Planning didn't stop TJs from opening, they just declined their request for extra parking. TJs themselves decided not to open given the constraints of the site. Your complaint should be directed to TJs HQ as it seems as if they are assuming that Castro residents won't walk or bike to this site. The comments above indicate otherwise.

BobN - wow, you're quite the pack mule ! Most people wouldn't dream of attempting such a load. But you may want to give the bike option another thought. A solid rear rack with panniers can support quite a load, even 50lbs (though that is getting close to the limit I'd try). And it is so much more comfortable with that load being borne by your rear wheel rather than your spine.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at October 21, 2010 11:34 AM

Thanks for the clarification, Milkshake. This does seem to be a boo boo on the part of TJs as well as the planners. I see many bicyclists at the Masonic location, and think they could easily run a profitable store in this denser neighborhood without the increased parking.

As Dan points out, however, perhaps there are better sites.

Posted by: kthnxybe at October 21, 2010 11:41 AM

I think the building ought to be turned into a homeless shelter. This definitely won't create an SUV traffic/parking problem. Personally, I prefer to depend on MUNI as a reliable source of transportation or ride my bike during the cold rainy season while doing my grocery shopping.

Posted by: Solis at October 21, 2010 11:43 AM

This location was always a really bad idea.

How about Bayshore next to the new Lowe's? Bernal needs TJ's!

Posted by: Snark17 at October 21, 2010 11:44 AM

"The tiny parking lot couldn't have even come close to handling the parking demand for this store, and little Noe St, as well as surrounding residential streets would have been overwhelmed with idling and circling cars."

Who you calling "Little".

http://noevalleysf.blogspot.com/2010/03/plaza-vs-parklet-your-voice-has-been.html

Noe Street is a MAJOR THOROUGHFARE

Posted by: John Murphy at October 21, 2010 11:51 AM

Solis, in the last two years, all but one weekend had at least one non-rainy day. That meant that most weekends, I didn't have to think about it, a few weekends, I had to pick one of the two days when it wasn't raining to do my shopping, and one day, I drove (if I didn't have a car, I could have called a cab).

If you have the right rain gear, you can just bike in the rain.

Posted by: tipster at October 21, 2010 12:06 PM

I'm a huge TJ-grocery fan and a huge TJ-customer disliker. This location would be a worse shitstorm than the Masonic location. Get real. I like the Delanos idea, but that's probably a nonstarter since the Castro/Corona/Noe crowd would likely blanch at that location. You think your bike will get stolen at the Radio Shack location? They think their car will get stolen at 23rd/SVN.

BobN: Physics tells us that it will actually be easier on a bike. The chaindrive mechanism is the most efficient form of human-powered transportation yet invented, and gears enable you to increase your leverage with minor increases in effort.

Posted by: EH at October 21, 2010 12:06 PM

Solis - no-one suggested that you must ride Muni or a bike. You're still free to pay market rate for parking or take a taxi.

I agree that there are better locations for a business that wants a large parking entitlement, hence my suggestion for the Safeway site, or even better Dan's suggestion of the Delano's site.

Or the less congested half of the city.

Or 99% of the rest of the bay area.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at October 21, 2010 12:13 PM

Well, the anti-car/pro-bike turnout on this thread finally explains for me the perma-bear slant of the other posts on this site: it's a radical leftist agenda against private property ownership. So very San Francisco; how could I have not seen it from the beginning?

Posted by: Happy in SF at October 21, 2010 12:28 PM

Another useful project killed by the extreme progressives of the SF Bicycle Coalition.

Now we have an empty building paying no additional sales or business taxes to the City.

Posted by: Jackson at October 21, 2010 12:37 PM

Another myopic poster condemning the SFBC for a decision that was really made by TJs.

Oh, and did Radio Shack's stubbornness have anything to do with TJ's decision to abandon this location ?

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at October 21, 2010 12:45 PM

I don't believe that the Bike Coalition took a stand on one side or the other of this issue.

Posted by: tipster at October 21, 2010 1:08 PM

SF is not a town of progressives, it's a town of boneheaded liberal idiots who have made up their mind on every issue, and if you dare to disagree with them you'll be labeled a radical. What can I say, the people of this smalltown are getting what they deserve!

Posted by: what a failure! at October 21, 2010 1:11 PM

Tipster, thanks for the suggestion that I plan my shopping on one or both of the weekend days that don't see rain. I'll also plan to split my shopping list in four or more trips so that I could accomodate my groceries on my rain gear equipped bike. And we all know how quick and reliable it is to get a cab to pick us up from a grocery store. No thanks, I still would rather rely on MUNI, even if it means I have to transfer once and walk another 3 blocks uphill. I live in Eureka Valley and have always found it essential and convenient to have a car. I do, however, often use public transit to get to work, or to a restaurant, or to a street fair, or whenever it makes more sense not to drive. My once a week major grocery shopping, at a convenient time for me, just isn't one of those occasions.

Posted by: Solis at October 21, 2010 1:20 PM

No problem, Solis. I can fit 5 grocery bags on my bike, but you can take 4 trips if you want to. Plan on a lot more whining from your side, but not mine, because none of this TJs here or there stuff matters to me at all.

Oh, and don't forget to rotate your tires, and your oil needs changing and can you check the transmission fluid the next time you get gas? I think the battery should be good for another couple of months, but you're going to need new wiper blades. I DID have to oil my chain, so it's not entirely one sided.

Oh, and you'll need to pay your insurance, because you might need to fix those dinged up doors and bumpers soon, and the registration went up this year. Again.

Posted by: tipster at October 21, 2010 1:43 PM

I don't drive. I often walk 15 minutes to the Safeway ten blocks away. I return with as much as 50 pounds on my back and in my arms. No freaking way I'm doing that on a bike.

I have 2 bikes: a weight-weenies kind of bike, and a cheap workhorse one that has 2 folding wire baskets (Wald 582 Folding Rear Bicycle Grocery Baskets, around $40 for both online) attached to a pretty sturdy bicycle rack (overseas stuff: it can take 80 Lbs). TJ's plastic reusable bags fit exactly in there with just 1/4' of wiggle room. A match made in heaven. I can carry the equivalent of 3 TJ's bags fully packed in those 2 bags, or around 25-40Lbs per load.

The pluses: no car hassle, diversity of pedaling excellent for the joints (you always do the same movement on cleats), heavy load workout that helps riding the lighter bike. No back pain due to lifting the bags home (all in the legs).

The minuses: I have to get a bit more organized compared to car shopping. Stopping by another store is a bit more difficult. I have to pedal ;)

Posted by: lol at October 21, 2010 2:06 PM

most people walk to the Delanos on 18th, why would the customer profile be so different with a TJ? It's the neighborhood. And how does anyone know that cars will be idling...such a scarry thought.

Posted by: grumpy at October 21, 2010 2:09 PM

I highly support Dan's suggestion: Trader Joe's should take over the Delano's on S. Van Ness and 23rd St. It has a large--almost always empty--parking lot, with good in-out access to support TJ's traffic heavy customers. All car owners and bike owners in Mission, Castro, Noe, Bernal, Poretro would have easy access. It's also only 2 blocks from BART!

Posted by: MissionGuy at October 21, 2010 2:09 PM

Well, if you are already in your car....

There is a Lucky grocery store near the Serramonte shopping center in Daly City that google-maps out to 16 min of driving from that castro location. I hear prices are half of Whole Foods.

16minutes of driving to save 1/2 of groceries seems like a good deal if you think SF shopping is too expensive...

Posted by: suspicious at October 21, 2010 2:23 PM

I do not think TJ's customers would go to a Lucky's. It's a different market purpose. And 1/2 of Whole Foods doesn't mean much if products are different.

Posted by: lol at October 21, 2010 2:52 PM

The North Beach Trader Joe's is never backed up with Traffic and the parking lot is not even that large. It's also across from a Safeway. What gives?

Posted by: pablosandoval at October 21, 2010 3:04 PM

I return with as much as 50 pounds on my back and in my arms. No freaking way I'm doing that on a bike.

Get one of these!

http://reubenmiller.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/09/04/shopping.jpg

Posted by: ex SF-er at October 21, 2010 3:06 PM

Nice to see the Panda commenting on SS just a few hours before Game 5 begins! Who knew he cared so much about city planning issues.

Here's to another big hit tonight, Panda! Go Giants!

Posted by: idia at October 21, 2010 3:08 PM

Tipster, you forgot to mention the $12 bi-weekly carwash. :-p And when your Aunt Gertrude comes to visit, be sure to strap her in tightly to the basket on your handlebar :-))

Posted by: Solis at October 21, 2010 3:11 PM

Would anyone who's accusing the SFBC of being instrumental in killing TJ's at this location care to substantiate their claims? As other's have already pointed out, this deal would have gotten an entire group of people to either walk or ride their bikes to the new location rather than get into cars to go down to SOMA to shop at the Bed & Bath location. Planning board has their head up their butts.

Posted by: mike at October 21, 2010 3:12 PM

The North Beach Trader Joe's is never backed up with Traffic and the parking lot is not even that large. It's also across from a Safeway. What gives?

The Mason/Bay crossing cannot be blocked. Locals know that. I have never seen anyone blocking Mason street. People will park on Bay street instead. Also, there can be hairy situations inside the covered parking: not enough room to pull out of our spot with many cars around. Another factor is that most area residents live in high density, mostly with no parking at home.

I think what would have happened for the Castro location: drivers would go to Masonic. Pedestrians would go to the new place.

Posted by: lol at October 21, 2010 3:15 PM

Bring in one of those mini Walmarts they've been talking about.

Posted by: A.T. at October 21, 2010 3:17 PM

What is the definition of extremist?
Somebody who shouts loudly their opinions without backing them up with substantive proof?
Somebody who calls others extremists?
Somebody who is so pig headed that they will not even comprehend adjusting their blinders?

Yes, we definitely have extremists here.

Posted by: sf at October 21, 2010 3:18 PM

Another thing for the NB location: many will park at Safeway's and get a few knickknacks then go to TJ's leaving their cars behind. Please don't tell Safeway's.

Posted by: lol at October 21, 2010 3:19 PM

^^^ I tried that cross-supermarket trick one time at the Park LaBrea Whole Foods lot (on 3rd in LA, across from the farmer's market by CBS) one time and got immediately towed. What a pain to pay for a cab ride to a dreary lot in Culver City to pay $300 to get my car back. The WF parking lot guards have no mercy.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at October 21, 2010 3:31 PM

Solis, I have a tandem bike for aunt Gertrude.

Posted by: tipster at October 21, 2010 3:35 PM

MoD, I have done the Safeway's/TJ's thing more than once. As long as you have bought something at SW's and are within the time limit this is OK. As a sidenote, I had an incident at this parking lot once. A couple was waiting at the automated ticket dispenser and snapped my ticket right from under my nose. I guess they were looking for a free pass. I couldn't move ahead and my car lane backed up on Bay. I got them blocked at the exit where they were rushing to use my ticket. They then had to pay the fare for a full day of parking! Some nerve...

Posted by: lol at October 21, 2010 3:41 PM

Well, there's always Fresh & Easy

M.R.

Posted by: Mystery Realtor at October 21, 2010 3:45 PM

lol - I too had bought from WF, so I was a paying customer. My mistake was to walk across the street to the farmer's market afterwards. The WF guard pointed out a sign that clearly stated that they would tow anyone who left the lot, regardless of whether or not you shopped at WF. I hadn't noticed the signs so it was technically my mistake but man, are they ever strict. Actually it is probably a racket and at $300 a pop quite a profit maker. Minutes after I arrived at the towing company lot, another victim arrived.

And the clincher to this sad story a sixpack of beer that I bought from WF was profoundly spoiled as if it had sat in the sun for a couple of LA summers. I tried to return it but WF refused because it was now a 5-pack and besides beer flavor is subjective. Um, no, why don't you open a bottle and see for yourself. Scotch ales aren't supposed to taste like vinegar. Arrgh !

Amazing story of yours about the ticket swipers and good on you for serving justice.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at October 21, 2010 4:11 PM

I was so looking forward to a TJ's opening up in the neighborhood. Whoever required/requested the paid parking (Planning Department or whoever), darn YOU!!!

Posted by: Sigh at October 21, 2010 4:23 PM

The beer story sounds familiar. We stopped shopping at WF for just this reason. Every other time we shopped there we had to return something because it was out of date or spoiled in some manner. I don't look at the date of every single thing I buy. They never gave us a hard time but it got to be a big pain. Happens only very rarely at TJ's, Safeway, or Rainbow.

Posted by: A.T. at October 21, 2010 4:25 PM

Sigh - can you explain why you hold those who requested market rate parking accountable but assign no blame to Trader Joes who could have complied with the requirement and moved into this site ?

My prediction is that TJs will open at a different site nearby that satisfies everyone's requirements.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at October 21, 2010 4:37 PM

"why you hold those who requested market rate parking accountable but assign no blame to Trader Joes who could have complied with the requirement and moved into this site"

Hang on a second, Milkshake. I'm not really interested in this typical anti-car argument in the least, but first you have to justify the requirement, and then we can discuss whether or not it's reasonable for Trader Joe's to meet the requirement. Why should we assume a priori that the requirement is reasonable? What is the purpose of the requirement, what will be the result of the requirement, and how has the requirement been applied to other businesses? These are all questions that need to be answered before we can even get close to answering whether it was unreasonable for Trader Joe's to tell the Planning Department to piss off.

For one thing, why doesn't the whole city change their parking to market rate parking (and enforce fraudulent disabled tags too)?

Posted by: sfrenegade at October 21, 2010 5:04 PM

^also, that should be anti-car/pro-car argument -- I wasn't trying to bias to either side, but just suggesting that both sides are usually equally ridiculous when making their arguments here.

Posted by: sfrenegade at October 21, 2010 5:06 PM

If Trader Joe's wants a parking lot, they should have to pay for it like everyone else. Why should they get subsidized parking? Why do you expect taxpayers to pay for someone else's free parking?

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at October 21, 2010 6:37 PM

Who's subsidizing their parking? Were they asking for a parking lot or for spots dedicated to Trader Joe's somewhere? Or are you talking about using existing parking in the neighborhood (which is available to anyone already) as parking for Trader Joe's. I don't really see any details on that, so maybe that's the confusion.

Posted by: sfrenegade at October 21, 2010 6:52 PM

Isn't it delightful how tipster wants us all to live just him, cause his way is the BEST way and ONLY way to live.

What bullshit.

Posted by: noearch at October 21, 2010 9:26 PM

^ Missed my point dude. It's that you can sit around complaining about this decision or that one or you can do some thinking outside of the box, and adopt a somewhat alternative lifestyle that makes these sorts of decisions irrelevant to your life.

And the alternative lifestyle is easier than you think, the problems with it are pretty easily solved, and in the end, the alternative lifestyle might even be easier than the traditional one. It's certainly healthier, less expensive, and parking is a breeze.

Or, I suppose you can not try new things, not even think about them, just complain and call everything bullshit. Whatever makes you happy!

Posted by: tipster at October 21, 2010 9:49 PM

You're right to question the reasonableness of the requirement sfrenegade. I haven't looked into this particular case and am guessing about planning's justification based on other similar cases I've seen in depth. My assumption is that traffic engineering considers this stretch of Market to be already overly congested (LOS F) as well as space constrained (no room for more lanes). In that situation you cannot justify adding more parking because it attracts more traffic, reducing level of service even more. You also cannot justify reducing parking retroactively to the existing businesses because their entitlements are grandfathered in. (which is why it is so important to be prudent when granting new entitlements - they tend to last forever). So what's left : either require the business to acquire existing parking at market rate and/or require market rate pricing measures to restrict congestion.

I could be wrong though. Just a guess. Perhaps someone with the specific deets can chime in.

Also understand that controlling LOS is not anti-car. Quite the opposite as better LOS allows traffic to flow more smoothly and reduce trip times. It also benefits Muni bus service.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at October 21, 2010 10:25 PM

Yay! Blight is back on track! Thanks Planning Department!

Posted by: w.p.a. at October 22, 2010 1:29 AM

You can always take the K line to the Stonestown TJ's.

Posted by: sparky-b at October 22, 2010 8:28 AM

For those of us who live in the neighborhood this store was going into this is great news.

I worry about Harvest across the street. I worry about parking. I worry about continued dilution of the gayborhood with business that would specifically draw large numbers of not-gay people into the heart of the gay district.

Also, where would the Trader Joe's truck load and unload? On beautiful (quiet) residential Noe Street @ 3am 7 days a week? Absolutely not. You think the city is going to let them block a bicycle lane, and a lane of traffic on Market? Nope. So it would have to be Noe Street. I'm sorry, this Trader Joe's is a TERRIBLE idea.

Posted by: CitizenRob at October 22, 2010 9:03 AM

CitizenRob is a perfect example of the kind of insular and small town thinking that blocks anything from getting built in SF.

(And what kind of BS is the "keeping Castro gay" all about? It's exactly the same kind of sentiment that wants to keep some neighborhoods white/straight/black/hispanic/jewish. It's petty and small minded.)

Posted by: Mikey at October 22, 2010 9:40 AM

Citizen Rob, I'm gay, live in the "gayborhood" and think you worry way too much. Just my opinion.. I am really sorry I won't be able to walk to Trader Joes.

MoD, I am confused as well about what the "condition" was that Planning required. There is so much speculation flowing through this thread about who torpedoed this, and why, that it's hard to know what to think. I would like more details.

But regarding the parking. It is very hard to imagine planning requiring Trader Joes to acquire MORE parking. It sounds like Trader Joe's WANTED more parking, and the Planning Department was insisting they charge for it. I'm not sure where TJ's would even find additional parking nearby, so this is all a great mystery to me. But I am very definitely in the camp that thinks that walkers/bicyclists would go to this TJ's, drivers would go to SOMA or Masonic.

It's very sad to see this entire building empty.

Posted by: curmudgeon at October 22, 2010 9:48 AM

What if non-gay move into the Castro? You sound like a NV granny friend of mine who's complaining about gays moving into HER area!

I thought the goal of the gay movement was to have full acceptance and equality. Well, this is what it looks like: blending in into other neighborhoods, and being diluted by different people. Embrace it.

Posted by: lol at October 22, 2010 10:21 AM

I should have been more clear. The problem isn't the physics, it's the safety. If I tip over walking on the sidewalk, I won't get run over. On a bike on the street, it's 50/50 at best.

(no, I don't really tip over while walking)

Posted by: BobN at October 22, 2010 11:12 AM

Heavy bags in your baskets will help prevent tipping over ;)

(I tipped over once on Market Street when my rear wheel got into the tracks. 2 weeks in town, a few scratches. Pffeeww. I learned my lesson)

Posted by: lol at October 22, 2010 11:23 AM

I worry about continued dilution of the gayborhood with business that would specifically draw large numbers of not-gay people into the heart of the gay district.

So maybe the heterophobic movement, and not the bike coalition, is to blame for all of this...

Posted by: joh at October 22, 2010 11:35 AM

BobN - A heavy load in panniers on the rear rack won't increase the tipping over risk. The bike does ride funny though as you can really feel the effects of that weight. The biggest safety issue with heavy loads is increased braking distance, especially when it is wet. It is really the same issue as driving an empty vs. full pick up truck and come to think of it it feels very similar.

curmudgeon - As for planning's "parking requirements", I'd really like to know the specifics too though am too lazy to look it up myself. I'm 95% sure though that the intended effect of those requirements are to limit traffic load.

I'd love to see that Safeway broken up into smaller retailers and its parking entitlement put to more diverse use. Big box retail seems so out of place in the center of town.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at October 22, 2010 12:38 PM

@tipster: trouble is, you didn't even read what I said, nor understood it. In fact, I made no mention or offered my opinion at all about the Trader Joes issue. Nothing. I didn't complain about it, since there was no mention of it by me.

What I did say, which you still didn't hear was the tired and simple-minded mantra of "living just like you". You want everyone to be in your little "alternative lifestyle" box. A little pushy huh?

The great thing about this city is that it is made up of ALL kinds of people and ALL ways of living. Biking to shop, or work, or wherever is but ONE way of living here. Many people choose not to live your way, but develop their own way that works for them.

I guess it doesn't matter that some of us drive hybrid cars, or grow our own veggies in the back yard, or have solar panels on our roof, etc. We contribute in our way to living sustainably.

Why is that so hard for you to understand?

Posted by: noearch at October 22, 2010 12:49 PM

@noearch ... with you brotha!

Posted by: Solis at October 22, 2010 12:59 PM

It's a bit late in the thread, but what parking lot are they talking about? Is it already providing parking in the area? For free? For charge? Is there an empty lot that's just been sitting there unused?

Posted by: BobN at October 22, 2010 1:20 PM

Thanks Solis! I think I'm being reasonable and open minded.

Posted by: noearch at October 22, 2010 2:16 PM

BobN...the only empty lot I can think of is the old gas station lot at Sanchez and Market. Given that it's relatively close I COULD see Trader Joe's hoping to use it for parking. That would be a terrible use of a prime corner.

This is only speculative on my part. As I said earlier, I'd like to know the actual details of TJ's proposal, and Planning's objection.

Posted by: curmudgeon at October 22, 2010 2:38 PM

The building actually has a small parking garage that's accessed from Noe Street. Since there's way less parking there than the likely demand, it will probably end up with queuing on Noe, backing up to Market. Pay parking, which is what the Planning Department wants, would serve as a disincentive to driving, reducing the queuing problem. TJ's doesn't want to have pay parking, hence they're pulling out.

Posted by: bystander at October 22, 2010 4:42 PM

Ah, Bystander, then they're only talking about the parking in the building? I can kindof understand Planning's point of view on that one, but it would be much easier to simply do what was done at Whole Foods in Noe Valley...insist that as a condition of approval there is an attendant stationed at the entrance managing entrances (and telling anyone attempting to queue to move along).

That parking garage is an "attractive nuisance) fo TJ's. It is quite small (about 30 spaces?), with only one level of parking, and if you drive up and it is full, it is tricky to turn around and go out again. Also, you can't tell from the street whether there is available space or not. That's why having someone at the curb (not simply in the attendant's booth) would be important.

The paucity of parking is exactly why I think that parking is a non-issue. People who absolutely need to drive/park will quickly realize that they are better off going to Masonic or SOMA.

Delanos in the Castro has all of about 15 parking spaces. And queing has never been an issue for that space in all the years its been there.

People adapt.

Posted by: curmudgeon at October 22, 2010 5:13 PM

"The paucity of parking is exactly why I think that parking is a non-issue. People who absolutely need to drive/park will quickly realize that they are better off going to Masonic or SOMA."

I agree. If what Bystander is saying is correct, it seems like Trader Joe's was doing exactly what the anti-car people want by reducing parking. That sort of takes the wind out of the anti-car people who are saying that Trader Joe's should have paid for extra parking as recommended by Planning. Trader Joe's was doing exactly what the anti-car people wanted them to do.

This is why I was trying to get at the bottom of planning's requirement here. People kept assuming that the requirement must have been reasonable, and therefor Trader Joe's should have followed it in order to build their store. In contrast, it seems like planning's requirement was the one that was off-kilter, and Trader Joe's had the right idea by having a store with less parking in a neighborhood that is very walkable and could get a lot of foot traffic.

It seems like Trader Joe's was in the right here, and it was planning that was trying to get the minimum parking quota met here.

Posted by: sfrenegade at October 22, 2010 5:20 PM

@sfrenegade:

Maybe the planning commission requirements were unreasonable BECAUSE Trader Joe's is a bad fit for the neighborhood. Had you considered that? This is a major grocery store that would have early AM or late night restocking using a big rig truck. Because of the width of the street, and the F-line tracks they would probably be required to do the drop offs on very quiet residential Noe Street.

Ever been around a big rig truck when they are unloading? They are LOUD. Idling engines, beeping, stock people shouting to each other, boxes being broken down, pallets loaded and unloaded on hydraulic lift. Fork lifts beep as well when they back up.

Here is what 4am would now sound like 7 days a week on Noe and Beaver. RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR BEEEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEP RRRRRRRRRRRRRRR-WHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIR-RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR... 30 MINUTES LATER... RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR-BEEEEEEEP BEEEEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEEP BEEEEEP RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR


I'm not a NIMBY. Some places really are just a bad fit though.

Posted by: CitizenRob at October 23, 2010 2:46 PM

In a bid to address the speculation on what exactly planning's conditions were I did a three quarter assed attempt to search for the real docs. No new info came up on either the wild web or planning's web page ( http://www.sfplanning.org/ right ? Or is there a better source for searching docs ?)

Top hits for 2280 Market are SocketSite. Oddly the next big hit was this triple net blog which quotes SocketSite verbatim. At least they were so thorough with copy-paste that the back links to the older SocketSite articles are preserved.

I did find this Examiner article which states that the deal was “hanging on by a shoestring” back in June as Radio Shack waffled on their end of the deal.

This Examiner article alludes to the concern of neighbors that the building's 40 spaces were not enough.

So sorry, no new info. Let the conjecture continue...

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at October 24, 2010 10:13 AM

There's an attendant at the TJ's on Masonic and there's still queuing on the street. They took out the parking so it doesn't block traffic (as much) but it's still public right-of-way that the store is using to handle their parking problems.

Posted by: bystander at October 25, 2010 9:27 AM

"Well, the anti-car/pro-bike turnout on this thread finally explains for me the perma-bear slant of the other posts on this site: it's a radical leftist agenda against private property ownership. So very San Francisco; how could I have not seen it from the beginning?"

I disagree with the premise that perma-bears must be against private property ownership. I am a supporter of private property AND a bear with regard to housing prices since the bubble began. What I object to is the government artificially PROPPING UP house prices. You seem to believe that believing in property ownership means believing that prices cannot fall and that prices should be artificially held up. This is, in fact, backward thinking.

Posted by: NJ at October 25, 2010 11:33 AM

"Maybe the planning commission requirements were unreasonable BECAUSE Trader Joe's is a bad fit for the neighborhood."

Be that as it may, your suggestion about restocking being inappropriate for the neighborhood has absolutely nothing to do with a paid parking lot. It seems a bit tenuous to suggest that the parking requirement was a proxy for the real concern of restocking.

Posted by: sfrenegade at October 25, 2010 12:38 PM

It's a shame San Franciscan's don't get a say. But the government does know what's best for us.

Posted by: bluntcard at November 2, 2010 5:11 PM

Post a comment


(required - will be published)


(required - will not be published, sold, or shared)


(optional - your "Posted by" name will link to this URL)

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)


Continue Perusing SocketSite:

« Buyer Misses "A Great Opportunity" Last Year And Saves 30 Percent | HOME | Dogpatch Development Refined, Ready To Be Approved »