August 13, 2012

Update: Whole Foods Parking Lot Madness

The PR department at Whole Foods has more info on the chaos in the parking lot this month and some workarounds offered. It's interesting to note that WF is also dealing with ADA requirements plaguing other merchants around Noe Valley and SF:
Details/duration of project: The store is making required ADA improvements (as are many other retailers in the area) and these include added markings for a pedestrian walkway, improved caution markings to alert drivers to pedestrian crossing and repairs to the sidewalk next to the store. Duration is Aug. 13- 17 and Aug. 20-24 when we will have very limited spaces for parking – approximately 12.

What the store is doing to ease the impact of traffic in the neighborhood as well as ease shopper experience:
  • We are hosting free valet parking from 9a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday- Thursday in the farmers’ market parking lot.
  • Offering gifts and prizes for every customer that shops during non-peak hours which are Mon – Fri @ 8-10 a.m. and 9-10 p.m..
  • There will be specials in every department all day Monday – Friday each week of construction.


murphstahoe said...

How about prizes/gifts for people who take MUNI to the store? Easily verifiable via an NFC equipped phone/tablet. Frankly they should validate MUNI fares - give $2 off with purchase of over $30 if you tagged your clipper card in the last hour. If they are going to pay for people's parking down the street and off hours for those who drive, why not those who don't drive?

Anonymous said...

how about we go to the store in each of our own way, we be patient with an accommodation, and then we get nothing for it? because we're adults and we don't need to act like spoiled children.

it's a grocery store, not your shitty parent.

murphstahoe said...

It's a grocery store, and while "companies are not people", they have to be a "good citizen". This is why they get conditional use permits. We want a grocery store to operate there, but we do not want the grocery store to create traffic safety issues on 24th Street.

Being patient with accommodation should not include a line of cars in the street blocking traffic, or cars waiting on the sidewalk blocking the sidewalks and creating a safety hazard for pedestrians. That is what has been happening ever since the opening, clearly a lot of the stores customers DO act like spoiled children.

It is therefore Whole Foods responsibility - as part of their permit to do business there - to manage the traffic and parking issues with their store, in return they get to make the big bucks. Don't want to have to deal with managing parking? Maybe we can bring back Bell Foods and won't have to deal with any traffic problems.

Whole Foods knows this. That is why they are offering to validate parking at the NVM lot during construction, and why they have the parking lot monitors (who are pretty useless, frankly).

Anonymous said...

I'm with Anonymous 11:19pm. Seems like everyone makes a huge issue of the parking situation at Whole Foods and then when they try to mitigate it, people still complain. Not everything in life is perfect, and that includes traffic, queuing in lines, etc. I am thrilled to have Whole Foods in our neighborhood (Bell totally sucked) and can handle a wait for parking or taking Muni or walking without giving it a second thought. It's just not a big deal (unless you decide to make it a big deal).

Anonymous said...

Exactly. Agree completely about too many people making it a big deal; which is just what murphstahoe seems to be all about.

Chill out, relax. An aspect of living in a city is traffic. We get tired of the constant whines about traffic and how we ALL should get on our little bikes to go everywhere.

And please, don't start telling people HOW they should get to WF. Let them make their own choices. For some walking, for some a car, for some muni, for some a bike.

Choices are nice.

Anonymous said...

I walk to Whole Foods whenever I can. But sometimes you need to buy heavy things, and walking up steep hills with laundry detergent or watermelons or a bag of dog food is impractical. I don't have children, but many of the other shoppers do, and I can't imagine trying to carry a small child *and* lots of groceries home. In the Castro, the Mollie Stone's has a free shuttle that will take shoppers home, if they've arrived on foot. Seems like a good solution for those with mobility problems.

I'm hoping this problem will go away once Whole Foods has more stores in the area -- then the demand will be diluted somewhat in this part of the city.

Anonymous said...

How about copying the "Mollie Bus" experiment under way at Mollie Stone's in the Castro?
Free transit service for shoppers anywhere broadly within 94114'ish in a decent 10 seater with room for bags. Door-to-door. No fee though most everybody tips $3 - $5.
By all accounts it pays for itself many times over.

SMSF said...

I agree with Murphstahoe on this point above:
Being patient with accommodation should not include a line of cars in the street blocking traffic, or cars waiting on the sidewalk blocking the sidewalks and creating a safety hazard for pedestrians. That is what has been happening ever since the opening, clearly a lot of the stores customers DO act like spoiled children.

When the line of cars waiting to get into the parking lot holds up through traffic, including the 48 bus, it is because those waiting for a parking spot ARE being selfish. Go around the block and try again. Somehow those that don't think to do that feel that it's okay to hold up everyone else who's just trying to get somewhere. "My getting a spot a WF is more important than all of these other people who need to get by me." Nice.

BadaBing said...

And WF has their silly No Queuing in Street signs, but I've never witness them enforcing this - nor do drivers seem to notice any of it. They'll just sit there in their cars, blocking everything and everyone who needs to get by.

Anonymous said...

I agree about the bad behavior of drivers queuing up on 24th St. waiting to get a spot. Why don't we start asking, in person, the store manager at WF why they are NOT enforcing their "no queuing" signs that are posted.

Tell them to enforce it, then email complaints to our local supervisor.

Anonymous said...

I have witnessed the parking attendants tell cars to drive around the block and not block traffic. Sometime people cheerfully do that and sometimes they refuse.

murphstahoe said...

This started with me saying WF might try reimbursing MUNI riders. That is not telling anyone how they should get to Whole Foods. It is a concept Whole Foods might try to convince a few people to take MUNI to the store. "Choices are nice". They give 5 CENTS to people who bring their own bags and a *lot* of people do. Right now if you take MUNI it's 2 bucks, not many cars get such crappy mileage that going to Whole Foods burns 2 bucks of gas.

I generally walk to the store because well, I'm a anal retentive climate change traffic safety nutball. My wife sometimes walks, sometimes even with our son in the stroller so she can move a decent amount of groceries, but just as often she drives, because if she's buying herself a bunch of wine and me a lot of beer, that's hard. I don't criticize her nor judge her (unless she forgets the beer).

To solve the traffic issues on 24th we don't need to get *everyone* to stop driving *completely*, we just need a *few* people to drive *less*. Even if 5% fewer people drove, the problems would really dissipate really quickly. And then when my wife, or someone who is disabled or has 3 kids to track, or me, drive to the store, we'll be able to get parking without blocking traffic.

johnnyawe said...

Hi folks - traffic is a big deal, I think. Its bad for business and bad for residents. Think about it: if you're wanting to open a shop would you want to do it on a block constantly ensnared by traffic? I guess for most people 24th st is just some street you have to drive on for a few blocks to get to whole foods, but to me 24th st is the lifeblood of our neighborhood; we can't have it blocked constantly in one direction.

Yeah, Bell was bad but they had organic produce and there was NEVER traffic along 24th. Murph is right, this came up during the permit process and we granted them a permit on the condition that Whole Foods would manage traffic problems. The attendants do help I think, but its more of a cultural problem where people just feel like they are entitled to block the entire flow of traffic along 24th street and I don't know how to solve this. So far I have taken direct action by leaning on the horn whenever I'm behind someone like this, but that's also not good for the neighborhood. The real answer is to charge for parking but that will never happen here.

Since I mentioned paid parking, I will now wait for the chorus of negative responses..

Nails Doverspike said...

Johnnie: have you tried driving up or down either Jersey or Elizabeth Streets?

johnnyawe said...

Hi Nails, let me try again to explain my viewpoint: I don't view 24th street as just a means of getting from point A to point B - I view it as the central hub of our neighborhood.

I actually ENJOY walking and driving down 24th street and that's one of the reasons I live here and not in a suburb. I like the idea that when I'm walking and driving down the street I see people that I know and can say "hello" to them, and I enjoy passing by the local merchants and see what new stores are opening up or what's on sale this week.

If I just wanted to quickly get where I needed to go, well first off I probably wouldn't live in SF, but more to the point, yes obviously I would take Jersey and this is what I have resorted to during peak hours, but the point is I think it is significant that I have to do that now and it is something that is worth us addressing, together as a community.

If you don't agree, that's fine, but I hope you can at least appreciate where I'm coming from now.

Anonymous said...

What does wanting to get quickly to someplace have to do with NOT living in SF?

Don't get it. Ridiculous comment. More self-titled smugness thinking that Noe V is more "special" than other areas.

johnnyawe said...

Anon@12:36 - I can explain this easily: in a suburban or rural setting, everywhere has a parking lot, you typically have your own car, and your house has a garage or a driveway.

In a city environment, you might have to walk a few blocks to get to your car, the place you're going won't have a parking lot, you might not have a car, or a variety of factors might require you to share one car between 2 people.

So I stand behind my argument, if "speed of getting to places" is important to you, clearly you would be better off living outside SF (or most any city). This is over-simplified of course, but you get the idea..

So I think a fair question is, what is it about SF (or any city) that makes people willing to put up with this? Maybe certain areas are indeed "more special" and we should protect them, or maybe not. I'm open to hearing your take on it.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing really to "put up with". that's the basic premise of my entire comment about why we are not "special". We are a nice urban neighborhood, like many other urban neighborhoods,albeit yes, we are expensive. Again, nothing wrong with that. Desire creates demand, and demand means more people want to live in Noe, and drive up the cost of living. Again, what's the big deal.

And what should we "protect" our neighborhood from?

People in small towns and yes, the suburbs, also see people they know at the local stores or "driving around". I see no difference.

When we choose to live in a "city" we have to remember that is is a city, a large, dense city. There will be traffic, there will be lines, and so what?

That's part of city living. And I enjoy it.

johnnyawe said...

Anon, as for what we should protect - that is what I was asking for your opinion on. What are those characteristics that make Noe Valley a "nice urban neighborhood", in your own words? It sounds like your answer is: "lines" and "traffic". Thats fine - to each his own.

To me, one thing I like and what I think other people like is the whole feel of the 24th st. corridor, and I happen to think traffic negatively impacts that. I understand that you disagree with me on this.

Anonymous said...

No, I don't disagree with you,necessarily; I just see it a different way.

I like our 24th St. corridor too, although it's not picture perfect. Ever notice some of the junky, unpainted facades, esp across from WF.

Lack of trees; some trees are mere shadows of a tree.

But think about it, our ordinary 24th St. looks a lot like a typical downtown of small town America; buildings next to each other, variety of shops, AND parking on each side AND vehicle traffic each direction. Many of us, including myself, grew up in a little town just like that.

People like to drive up to the store, they would prefer to park right in front: small town American and Noe Valley. Same thing.

Now I'll ask you: Many want to get rid of the cars and the parking. How? Do we build public garages like in Santa Monica? The 3rd St. Mall there is very successful; no cars, only people, landscaping, outdoor cafes, etc. If so, where do the garages go? Cause, guess what? the cars are not going away.

How do we run our bus line thru? Where do we re-route it? Down Jersey? Down Elizabeth? Not a chance.

I don't have solutions but I also accept that the cars, parking and sometimes lines are simply part of dense urban living.

murphstahoe said...

Anon - let me tell you what small town america looks like. A line of shuttered stores on a street that leads to an arterial that goes to the jam packed parking lot of the WalMart. The one in my father-in-laws town actually has a road that leads past the old WalMart (now empty) before you get to the SUPER WalMart.

johnny isn't saying that cars exist, but if there are methods we can use to reduce their usage, that is a good thing. You seem to think that all things being equal, someone double parking on 24th and blocking the 48 bus is a good thing. It's not, anymore than the planning department of those small towns deciding to give WalMart huge financial incentives to come into their town and wondering why nobody has a job above minimum wage anymore.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Whole Foods can "enforce" anything that happens out in the street, or the sidewalk. The store has no legal authority to stop the cars lining up on 24th, or idling on the sidewalk. Their signs and requests are all they can do.

I even wonder if there's any law against waiting in the street to make a turn into a driveway / parking lot. If there is, it's a police task to enforce.

Anonymous said...

The reason there is so much traffic queuing for Whole Foods is because it's a great grocery store and people like it. There was no traffic with Bell, not because Bell helped to disperse traffic, but because it was not equal in quality and it did not draw from other neighborhoods. Whole Foods does what they can to get folks to keep moving, but they cannot legally force cars in the street to move on -- that would fall to traffic enforcement. As for encouraging people not to drive, it's a nice thought and one that we all support, but not necessarily realistic. I live up in the hills close to Diamond Heights and walk when I have a small shopping list. But when I have my kid and need milk, fruit, etc.? Well, you can forget it. And if it means I have to circle the block or take up a parking spot, then so be it. Not because I don't care about the environment and being socially responsible, but because in reality, the crappy MUNI service would take too long and still drop me off several blocks away. My point is to say, be happy for Whole Foods and address the issues with MUNI -- maybe if it was better folks would be less inclined to drive.

murphstahoe said...

Last anon - I might be (ok definitely am) a bit hyperbolic but if the everyone in the neighborhood actually followed your description of how to act - sometimes walk/MUNI, sometimes drive but don't block 24th or the sidewalk, the problem would not exist.

As for the law, the CVC definitely says you cannot stop in the road and impede traffic. This includes double parking or queueing in the street.

Were Whole Foods to fail in their mitigatin efforts so badly that it became a nuisance, the SFPD would be called upon to intervene to the detriment of WF's customers, which would be pretty bad PR for WF, so they will do what they can to mitigate it.

I have had discussions with the brass there and they are really sincere about trying to be good citizens in this regard. For a while they had bike locks at customer service for cyclists to check out so they could lock up outside if they forgot a lock. Go figure, the locks were stolen ;) Those cyclists are such a pox.

Anonymous said...

Guess what murphstahoe:

Like anon @ 5:32 said, I agree completely. A lot of us NV folks and others need our cars to get around and get up the hills with our groceries, and our kids. Bikes will never work for us.

And Muni is one big joke. Why not direct your complaints to Muni instead of WF? They are doing a good job and the store is well used and well liked.

And, murph, since you mentioned "as for the law", how about applying that same logic to ALL cyclists. I believe, "as for the law" ALL cyclists must stop at stop signs and stop lights.

Let's get the SFPD to work seriously on that problem.

murphstahoe said...

If a "lot of us NV folks" (sic) and others need our cars then they would benefit from a tiny fraction of "NV folks" not using them.

To reiterate...

"To solve the traffic issues on 24th we don't need to get *everyone* to stop driving *completely*, we just need a *few* people to drive *less*."

And you know as well as I do that laws do not apply to cyclists.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with the people who block 24th street because THEY need to park because THEY need to shop at WHOLE FOODS. Forget anyone else who needs to get where they need to go, they need to go shopping. Unbelievable. Entitled? yes!!!

It's truly too bad Whole Foods came to the neighborhood, Noe Valley was a lot nicer feeling without the crowd/attitude it brought here.

Anonymous said...

I think something needs to be done about the blockage of the street on 24th due to Whole Foods shoppers. The parking lot attendants do not prevent people from blocking up the street. Not only is this a hassle, but it is DANGEROUS. People get mad and go into the other lane of traffic, and also endanger the lives of the pedestrians trying to walk around the parking lot. This really needs to be stopped. It is a hazard and a nuisance.

Anonymous said...

ok, old timer reality check here again, 25 years ago when Bell Market was GREAT there were always cars lined up in the street causing traffic jams, just like now. And at the same time we had two small groceries, Little Bell and Surf Super nearby too.
When Bell got bought by Cala then Ralphs, then Kroegers and got crummy there weren't lines anymore and many of us left NV and went to Tower or Andronico's or WF in other neighborhoods to shop (for everything).I love Whole Foods in NV and I know it is good for the other small businesses to have WF here. The lot paving will be done soon.

Anonymous said...

I love WF too. It's a huge positive change from the old Bell. And yes, there were traffic lines at Bell as well, for those of you who don't remember or are newbies to NV.

The traffic lines are minor inconveniences. Part of life in the big city.

If you don't like it, may I suggest you move to Walnut Creek.

Anonymous said...

If I don't like the fact that 24th street is blocked because 1 or 2 people can't be bothered to find a legal parking spot I need to go move to Walnut Creek? Wow. This is exactly what I am saying. Thanks for making my point.

Anonymous said...

And what are you saying and what is your point exactly?

Does it mean that every little inconvenience in the big city is worth constant ranting and complaining about?

Please share.

Anonymous said...

Do you really think it's ok to block 24th street while you wait for a spot to open up in the lot? Do you really think the signs asking people not to que in the street do not apply to you? Do you think it's ok to force pedestrians into the street to go around your car? Do you think it's fair that drivers need to go into a lane of oncoming traffic to get around your car? If you do, then maybe I do need to move to Walnut Creek to get away from people as self centered. Maybe you are right. You are not imposing a minor inconvenience, you are not following the signs in the WF lot, the parking attendant's rules, and you are just being rude. Find a legal spot, that is open, that doesn't block 24th, that is all I am saying. Be self aware.

murphstahoe said...

Noe Valley used to be so much better when you could do anything you want, and nobody complained about it. Now you newbies come in and complain about selfish drivers on 24th Street.

Old timers know the only thing you can complain about around here is if a newcomer tries to add functional plumbing to the house they just bought. You newbies with your bathrooms and functional plumbing and new fangled asbestos free siding! I'll sue your ass!

Anonymous said...

Anon@ 11:24.

Those events you described are pretty "minor" inconveniences in the scheme of urban living, esp in a dense city like ours.

Personally speaking, I don't think they are a big deal.

Perhaps it's your impatience at having to wait a minute or so to go around a car? perhaps you just don't like ANY slight inconvenience in The City?

My, my, you seem pretty worked up when someone doesn't "follow the signs". May I suggest a little more tolerance?

Anonymous said...

I am dying of laughter, thinking of your narrative to yourself.
"Time to go to the grocery store. I'll take my car, of course. If I can't find a spot, I'll just block 24th street with my car. I can't look for a legal spot, too time consuming.

And if anyone says anything, I'll just roll down my window and say they shouldn't be bothered my my minor inconvenience and should just move to fricking Walnut Creek already. Because they are the ones with the problem. Afterall, I am not bothered by my car blocking 24th street, why should they be?"

If it's such a minor issue, why not just look for a legal spot? That is mind boggling. There are also signs that says it's a double fine to double park on 24th. In case you bother to read them.

Anonymous said...

And there are also signs that say "no swimming when sharks are present" and signs that say "please turn off all cell phones" before departure...

and signs that say......well you get it.

And so maybe the person waiting for a space at WF is an elderly woman who can't walk well, or a mom with 2 kids; both needing to park close by.

Just maybe?

It's all good. Don't let these little inconveniences cause you a heart attack. Not worth it.

Anonymous said...

Survey says - the person blocking 24th street, not elderly or a mom with 2 kids. It's a gay architect with a cat.

Anonymous said...

Traffic on 24th street? are you all kidding? we need to put this in perspective folks - try the Lincoln tunnel on a Monday morning - that is traffic. WF parking lot and/or Q for parking issues are called living in a city. Find a charity to contribute to and stop wasting our time talking about the traffic on 24th.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is I agree with Murphstahoe and the other person who put this. Nuf said:

I agree with Murphstahoe on this point above:
Being patient with accommodation should not include a line of cars in the street blocking traffic, or cars waiting on the sidewalk blocking the sidewalks and creating a safety hazard for pedestrians. That is what has been happening ever since the opening, clearly a lot of the stores customers DO act like spoiled children.

murphstahoe said...

There are no pedestrians in the lincoln tunnel. There are pedestrians who walk across the entrance to the Whole Foods parking lot, pedestrians whose safety is compromised. That is not an inconvenience, it's unacceptable.

Being able to walk to the store instead of having to drive miles to the store is called living in the city. That's the main attraction of living in a dense area. If that attraction comes with being endangered, something is wrong.

I have a fine charity. It's called "The San Francisco Department of Parking and Traffic". And all we ahve to do to get some donations to said charity is to complain to and he'll make sure the "donation collectors" out in force. But you know, that would just suck. So why don't you just refrain from blocking the sidewalk and street, m'kay?

Anonymous said...

Hilarious and well put murphstahoe! Right on! You have my vote if you run for office.

Anonymous said...

murphstahoe, keep going thru the lincoln tunnel, find any street in manhattan, there is most likely a grocery store on that street and you have the exact situation as 24th st in NOE. Cars, people, traffic - and you know what? people do it everyday! i still say stop wasting the time here as it is part of living in a city!

Anonymous said...

Cheers to anon @ 10am:

Exactly. A lot of us keep saying the same thing. Yes, there are some minor inconveniences due to traffic, but yes, it's life in the city and not really that important. People like murph and others just don't get it: they harp and harp about little things (esp the whole bike/cars issue) and constantly whine about how more of us don't live our lives the way he wants us to.

Gets boring.

Noe is a great neighborhood, with the minor traffic issues on 24th.

Anonymous said...

yes, yes...thank you previous anon. i wrote the second post on this thread.

this conversation started by someone wanting prizes for taking the bus to the store.

and now that guy will probably end up calling and leaving daily messages with the local rep so that traffic people can start handing out tickets. and this is why people like murph need to grow a pair and quit acting like a baby.

i don't drive to the store, i walk, and i'm not asking for a damn thing, because that would be a ridiculous request.

murphstahoe said...

I've reached a point where I feel the need to express my disappointment with Anonymous at 10 AM. For starters, if you'll allow me a minor dysphemism, Anonymous's remonstrations obfuscate any attempt to locate responsibility for the consequential decisions of those who have access to the means of power. Or, to phrase that a little more politely, if you intend to challenge someone's assertions, you need to present a counterargument. Anonymous provides none. The take-away message of this letter is that the comparison between Anonymous at 10 AM and condescending ninnyhammers is remarkable. Think about it. I don't want to have to write another letter a few years from now, in the wake of a society torn apart by Anonymous's patronizing strictures, reminding you that you were warned.

Anonymous said...

The comments by this murphstahoe person get more bizarre and childish each time we read one.

His latest comments with those insanely expensive words only points out further his completely holier than anyone attitude, it also points out that appears he likes to threaten people by what? Writing letters?

I do hope that Scott Weiner our local supervisor ignores all the complaints and emails and letters by him, and focuses on much more important issues in our community.

Anonymous said...

Amen Anonymous 6:08pm!

murphstahoe said...

you do know we can see that all of your comments are coming from the same computer by looking at the IP addresses in the posting logs on the server, don't you...???

Anonymous said...

I challenge you legally to prove that ALL (your words) the comments are from one computer.

And btw, who is "we"?

murphstahoe said...

You "Challenge me legally to prove"?

Fool me once, shame, shame on you..... It fooled me you can't get fooled again.