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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

High-end groceries will roll toward the sea

The New Seasons store that is slated to go in where the Daily Grind used to be, on the south side of Hawthorne between 40th and 41st, has raised a lot of concern about traffic and parking. The parking's going to go on the roof (wherever he is, Mr. Fred G. Meyer must be smiling), and the big question has been whether the ramp will spill out onto 40th or 41st.

Originally, New Seasons said 41st, but now, after a pretty extensive (and expensive-looking) traffic study, they've flipped the ramp over to the 40th Avenue side. The full lowdown is on the company website, here.

This apparently means a whole lot of customers making turns onto and off of 40th from Hawthorne, avoiding the bicycles that the city has steered onto 41st. But it also means a truck loading zone on 41st, which means that the bigger trucks -- which, unlike cars, won't be turning around -- are going to be using 41st, Clay, and 42nd to get back onto Hawthorne. Too bad for the folks on Clay and 42nd.

Comments (16)

"Now that's a green roof, baby." -- New $ea$on$

There still won't be enough parking. The surrounding blocks will be inundated. See the New Seasons at 33rd and Killingsworth.

The City of Portland is waging war on neighborhoods.

Yep. Nothing says we hate neighborhoods like a grocery store.

I generally like New Seasons, but their parking is almost always troublesome. A good example of how they impact surrounding neighborhoods would be their Sellwood store. Cars always overflow into the adjacent neighborhood, and I've been yelled at many times by homeowners.

What's strange is NS has a store on 21st and Division (7 Corners) not far from the new Hawthorne store, so maybe the parking won't be too bad.

I also find it interesting that NS hasn't found a way to have a smaller format store (like 10,000 to 12,000 feet) in more pedestrian oriented neighborhoods where parking is less of an issue.

The New Seasons store in Sellwood has been a grocery store for years. It used to be a really crappy Thriftway. Parking wasn't an issue then because nobody shopped there.

"Yep. Nothing says we hate neighborhoods like a grocery store."

The city isn't bringing the grocery store. A private business is bringing the grocery store. The city is just allowing it to be built with insufficient parking.

I'd like to propose the radical notion that it's not all that big a deal if someone occasionally parks on the street in front of your house. I know that people tend to feel possessive of that strip of asphalt, but perhaps they just need to let go.

And if New Seasons is going to make the entire roof of their store into a parking lot, they're doing about as much as possible to minimize the impact that parking has on the surrounding neighborhood.

I'm looking forward to having New Seasons within walking distance of my home. It's a good store.

I'd like to propose the radical notion that it's not all that big a deal if someone occasionally parks on the street in front of your house.

Good notion, except you'lll need to correct "occasionally" to "constantly, from 9am-10pm".

And if New Seasons is going to make the entire roof of their store into a parking lot, they're doing about as much as possible to minimize the impact that parking has on the surrounding neighborhood.

Actually, they're doing the minimum required by code. The problem is complicated--when you build something like high-traffic retail, you get...high traffic. A happy problem for New Seasons, an ongoing challenge for local residents.

I used to live a block off of Hawthorne near Noah's Bagels. on weekdays, parking and walking around and visiting wasn't a problem. On weekends, it was a complete nightmare. Tourists owuld troll my street starting early in the morning, and go late into the night (11pm and beyond). I couldn't park anywhere near my house, fender benders and near misses were common, walking was terrifying, and at least once every weekend someone would park *in my driveway*. not across it--IN it.

Now, I hear it's even worse.

It's not that a grocery store won't be welcomed by some residents. But it's the details that matter: keep in mind that the Daily Grind operated there for almost 30 years, with almost no impact on neighborhood traffic, and provided great service and goods. The key difference? SCALE.

And scale is one thing that architectural fantasists seem to get consistently wrong--they look at buildings from the inside out, rather than any real, meaningful, thoughtful, compassionate design process. Why? because that takes time, effort, and an abundance of humanity.

"I'd like to propose the radical notion that it's not all that big a deal if someone occasionally parks on the street in front of your house."

I live near a busy commercial street, and our old house doesn't have a driveway. People don't park there occassinally. They park there all day, every day. When my wife was pregnant hauling a toddler and grocery bags a block or two was a real treat.

When we moved in there was one nearby commercial building with no parking. Since then four new "storefront" style buildings have come in, with not even one parking space for customers.

The City thinks that if we ignore parking in all new developments that everyone will bike everywhere. It is absolutely completely untrue. They drive anyway, but now they have nowhere to park.

The City of Portland is waging war on it's neighborhoods.

"The City of Portland is waging war on it's neighborhoods."

You're right, and convenient parking is always the first casualty of war.


That is an historically significant site.

Bobby Kennedy paraded East on Hawthorne, leaning out of the red convertible over the crowd with Rosie Greer hanging onto his belt. Bobby spoke from a flatbed truck at the back of the parking lot of what was then, I believe, Three Boys Market. He imitated Hubert Humphrey's v voice, saying he was "proud as punch to be there".

I was in the crowd of about 2000, with three of my four brothers. I reached up and shook his hand as he leaned from the car.

Ten days later, Bobby was dead.

What might have been, was not.

So, I am still patient with Obama. He is a living and breathing President of the United States, if not changing as much as I would have him change.

I live near to the New Seasons on Interstate Ave. Weekend afternoons and weekday evenings, neighborhood parking is a total zoo. The day before any holiday with a meal? It's like living on Peacock Lane the week before Christmas. During the zoning hearings there were all these assurances that 66 parking spaces were more than enough for a store that size, I mean, New Seasons customers walk, use mass transit and ride bikes right? (wink, wink) Tell that to the drivers that double-park, block our driveways and don't even TRY the parking lot.

The one bit of hard-earned advice I can give to the folks near this new store is to get involved early and be aggressive in voicing your concerns about the store's relationship with the neigborhood. Get agreements with them about things like truck traffic, employee parking, trash pickup, noise management on the table as quickly as you can. Once the store is in place and operational, they seem to go a little deaf. I've learned that "The friendliest store in town" does not necessarily apply to their relationship with their neighbors.

I've found they'll generally try to honor an agreement that's been made, but it can be difficult to get them to make an agreement unless there's something in it for them (like the neighborhood's support during permitting).

On the whole, I'd still rather have New Seasons as a neighbor than a Safeway or Fred Meyers, but not by a whole lot. The socially-conscious, politically-correct squeaky-clean image New Seasons tries to project is not supported by the way they externalize the impact of insufficient parking and poor noise management on their immediate neighbors.

I remember Brian Rohter saying "We've gotten pretty good at building in residential neighborhoods" I took that to mean that they managed the impact to the neighborhood well. What I discovered it really meant was they are quite good at appearing to listen while only doing the things that are cheap, easy or generate good PR.

I really wanted to like those guys, but I just can't...

I live near a busy commercial street, and our old house doesn't have a driveway. People don't park there occassinally. They park there all day, every day. When my wife was pregnant hauling a toddler and grocery bags a block or two was a real treat.

This (and many other anecdotes) is one reason why I've been saying for a couple years that the eventual outcome of all of this is residential parking permits, for which the city will charge a very mild fee...which may be raised from time to time to pay for various products and services. Just wait, it'll happen.

the eventual outcome of all of this is residential parking permits, for which the city will charge a very mild fee.

These already exist in a few neighborhoods. They've been brought up(probably repeatedly) around Hawthorne, but shot down by the HBBA (Hawthorne Boulevard Business Association). Hawthorne businesses explicitly count on tourists using neighborhood parking when visiting--else business would be sharply reduced.

One simple result of planner and developer created "nodes", "destinations" and "corridors" (insert your urban design catchprase here) is that you get a lot of tourists--not shoppers, really, but *tourists*, people coming just to soak up atmosphere and gawk.

Many look on this as a good thing--you want foot traffic, right?--but the net result is TRAFFIC in general. Lots of cars, congestion, pollution, etc., trampling of neighborhoods, disregard of the existing nearby places. They become de facto parking lots for the tourists and shoppers.

In other words, development and planning cannot exist without a constant push for growth. See what happened to BDS when development fell? Disaster. The whole bureau feeds parasitically and symbiotically on development of this sort. encourages it, nourishes it, and rides it out to the end.

Yet with all that, we can't seem to figure out why we have ecological problems, job problems, growth problems, mental health problems, homeless problems, Oregon Food Bank record customers, and increased Portland auto ownership.

You see, nature has a cycle of birth, growth, maturity, decay, death, and "rebirth". We don't want that--in development we want birth, growth, maturity, more growth, more growth, still more growth. Decrease, death and reuse are an anathema to development. We only do it when left with no other choice.

"In other words, development and planning cannot exist without a constant push for growth."

Ding ding ding. We have a winner.

Parking permits were discussed for the Interstate New Seasons area and quickly dismissed as ineffective. If my memory is correct, the city requires agreement from the residents of a certain number of contiguous blocks, and applies the parking permits to the whole area. That area was much larger than what is impacted by store parking. It was doubtful that we could have gotten buy-in from neighbors not affected, plus the hassle of dealing with a parking permit system seemed to outweigh any possible benefits. In more generally saturated areas like Hawthorne, Goose Hollow or Northwest, it can be a useful tool, but in an area where the parking impact is generally light with heavy parking on two or three isolated streets as we have near Interstate, it just didn't seem like the right tool. Neighborhood parking permits typically allow 2 hour parking anyway which would do nothing to prevent shoppers from parking on the street. We found out that there wasn't a tool available to us. Maybe I'll plant roses and cacti in the parking strip.

During the planning phases for New Seasons and then again an expansion and liquor license application for a nearby restaurant (we need hard liquor bars and porn shops next door to ALL our K-8 schools!), it was clear that part of Portland's zoning plan for this area is to use the neighborhood streets as parking lots for nearby businesses. Part of that logic, I think, is to make parking a PITA so everyone takes MAX. Sad to say, that didn't happen. The folks using MAX are park-and-riders who drive in from the 'burbs. Parking permits might help with these long-temp parkers.

All this talk about parking is ignoring the other much greater impact this store will have on the neighborhood. Truck deliveries can be a nightmare. They start at 6:00am, queue up, engines idling in a constant stream until around 1-2 in the afternoon. We managed to get an agreement to keep them off the neighborhood streets and to limit early morning deliveries to after 7:00am. Even with the agreement, some mornings, the windows rattle constantly with the rumble of passing diesels. THIS is the issue that I strongly urge neighbors to address as quickly as possible. Those "no trucks" signs you can get the city to put up? They don't apply to local deliveries. Good luck folks.


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