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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 25, 2010 6:04 AM. The previous post in this blog was Spring break bloody spring break. The next post in this blog is Street life, you can run away from time. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Conversation piece

The other evening as I shopped at a nearby market, I noticed a few of these bumper stickers sitting out for customers to take:

Given that parking issues around these stores are a sore spot among the neighbors -- and given Portland government's general hostility toward all things car -- one wonders what this particular merchant is trying to achieve with this marketing campaign.

Comments (16)

I guess the exact same thing as Fred Meyer Interstate, people come from miles around to park at FM then hop the Max. When I asked the management about no parking available at the store for shopping, they asked me what I suggested them to do Monitor their parking? The New Season's policy may now be, if the parking lot is full, then can layoff some employees as they wont be as many customers.

New Seasons is just one more exhibit showing the lunancy of Portland city proper. Young green conscience, organic types, who vote in the car unfriendly commissioners in this town, hit New Seasons daily using guess what? Cars. So the city goes about steadily reducing city road and parking space (the euphemism is "traffic calming") while their supporters go about congesting the same roads in increasingly denser numbers. I'd sooner have Walmart run this city then these loons and their fantasy land commissioners.

It's funny as I pass that store (and I've stopped in once or twice even though I don't live in the neighborhood, and yes I drove). Even as I ride past the store riding MAX, the parking lot is full, the on-street parking is full, the bike racks are completely empty, and I see virtually nobody getting on/off MAX headed to that store. I will see a few people with New Seasons bags at the bus stop in front of the store, but not on the MAX platform.

What's worse - about 1/3rd of the cars are SUVs, 1/2 of the cars are regular ordinary (non-hybrid) sedans. And only one or two Priuses or Subarus.

Like the Hollywood Trader Joe's on Saturday.

Maybe they're trying to send a message to anti-auto city planners. Or maybe they're just poking some fun at themselves and their popularity (and maybe defusing some shopper annoyance) with a little lighthearted irony.

Their whole shtick is local, sustainable, organic, low-carbon-footprint, blah blah blah. If you look at the expanse of bike racks (and a huge bike locker for their employees) at their Killingsworth store, it seems pretty unlikely they are beating the drum for more car-oriented infrastructure.

As a neighbor of New Seasons, I think that's hilarious. But only in how it points out their smug "we're good for the planet, so stop complaining" attitude.

New Seasons knows very well how their store will impact the surrounding neighborhood. They do try to mitigate it somewhat, but only if it's cheap and easy to do, or generates good PR. If it requires a significant investment in capital or labor, there better be an upside or it's simply not addressed.

As for customer parking: My favorite experience was the woman who parked her RV across my driveway. When I asked her to move it, she said "I'll just be 5 minutes" as she sprinted towards the store. I also enjoy watching shoppers raidning my neighbor's front-yard garden as if it's part of the produce bin.

One note -- in my experience, employees that have been tasked with managing an issue tend to be conscientious and do a great job. On the other hand, management's responsiveness to issues can be like pushing a rope.

The new New Seasons being built at Hawthorne and 40th is going to be especially bad when it comes to parking, because of the layout of the surrounding streets.

The saving grace for the New Seasons at Division and 20th is that the surrounding blocks are short, so it's easy for cars to circulate. Plus, there aren't that many other nearby businesses directly competing for on-street parking.

It's a perpetual problem with mass transit when there are close-in park and ride stations available, or close by businesses that serve as de facto park and rides: people will use them both for the intended purpose (accessing the closest station to their residence), or for an unintended purpose (driving as close to downtown as possible and using Max as a free parking shuttle). In the case of the Interstate corridor, they avoid the first two available P&R lots (Expo Center and PIR) that have no impact to businesses and residences, and instead continue on to the closer in areas and park in the business lots, where there is impact. And of course, given the speed of Max, it saves them time to do this.

Erik H: Have you carved out a special vehicle category for Subarus? Last time I looked under the hood, my Outback hadn't changed into a hybrid.

Has "Eric" been retained by the City to approve/decline which vehicles are appropriate for buying groceries?

Have you carved out a special vehicle category for Subarus? Last time I looked under the hood, my Outback hadn't changed into a hybrid.

They seem to have a unique standing here in Portland, and Subaru (and their owners) like to represent themselves as more environmentally friendly. Even though the vehicles get fewer MPGs than comparable cars. I almost bought one actually, but after driving two different vehicles (Legacy Outbacks) I was so unimpressed with its acceleration (I actually felt scared for the first time driving on a freeway because the car just would not respond to me pushing the gas pedal all the way down) that I decided it was not the car for me.

All the Subarus with Hope and Change stickers count as hybrids.

Has "Eric" been retained by the City to approve/decline which vehicles are appropriate for buying groceries?

I'm assuming you are talking about me and not Eric...but I don't care what car you drive.

The City of Portland, however, does, and I do not agree with that. If you want to own a Hummer that is fine by me. If you want to own a Prius that is fine by me. But don't tell me how great and wonderful our city is, at the same time you do the opposite (like, the City's huge SUV fleet while promoting its stupid Smart Car and its Priuses). The fact is that some people do NEED a SUV and the last time I checked, this is America and we have the right to own a SUV if we want to.

(I, by the way, do not own an SUV, I own a minivan.)

I found a parking spot. I just can't affort to shop there!

"My favorite experience was the woman who parked her RV across my driveway. When I asked her to move it, she said "I'll just be 5 minutes" as she sprinted towards the store."

And I have the tow company on speed dial and they can clear my driveway very fast since the shoppers are always gone much longer than 5 minutes.

New Seasons is just experiencing economic reality: 96% of their customers come by vehicles. And it takes more than a decade or 1/2 of a century to change people's habits-if they are not forced to by a major disaster economically, force of nature, or political upheaval. Sam and buddies never passed an economic or political class, or worked in the private sector.

The New Seasons on Hawthorne will be a nightmare. They are going to have parking on top with a ramp but when you look at that footprint...Don't see how it's going to work...They are desperate for success after the disaster of the Happy Valley store...Hey I take the bus to the store and take my groceries back out on the bus. If I have too much stuff, I call the cab. Imagine that. And yeah, I can't afford New Seasons either. It's Winco for Moi! I love how all you folks with money and cars do nothing but bitch, bitch, bitch! Freshly grated aged parmesan comes at a price, people!


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