Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Crappy Trader Joe's Parking


If you ride a bike and occasionally shop at Trader Joe's in downtown, then I don't need to tell you their bike parking sucks. It was only during a recent interaction though that it fully dawned on me how crappy bike parking equals conflict with cars.

For those unfamiliar, the downtown TJ's main entrance faces a HUGE car parking lot, with I'd estimate at least 200 spaces, bordered by Mobo Sushis, Longs, and El Pollo Loco - The facade of the former building has 2 bike racks. Yeah, you heard that right - approximately 200 cars spaces and 2 bike racks. These racks hold at the most 4 bicycles, and as you might imagine, are often taken, which puts folks like me in the difficult position of locking up to grocery cart racks and...handicap signs.

The latter of which I found myself standing at last week as a middleaged woman with a blue placard kept edging her white compact closer and closer to me. She looked wealthy and annoyed by my presence even though I was a good 2 feet away from the concrete parking buffer. I tried to make the best of the situation by signaling that she could come much closer but she barely budged. Finally, I ignored her, finished suiting up and left...feeling a tad guilty and like her, annoyed.

I'd only locked up to the handicap sign because two other bikes already were latched to the grocery cart stands and it looked crowded. But why this vying for space to begin with?

I bring this up with a friend while riding. He says in a better world, the property company that houses Trader Joe's would take out 2 car parking spaces and install a covered bike corral or pavilion which could house upwards of 30 bicycles. I say, from a business perspective, this makes perfect sense - the average car parking space houses one customer, while the same amount of space could house 10 on bikes. So why the crappy bike parking situation?

My friend shrugs, says people would worry about homeless folks or whatnot, usual Santa Cruz boogeyman factor. I laugh and point out that as it stands, the new Southern California looking ugly ass shrine-to-over-consumption Safeway building off Almar and Mission has more bike parking out front that Trader Joe's. In fact, the schmucks have actually put up a sign boasting how dedicated Safeway is to saving the earth. Sheeeeit. Earth to Trader Joe's, you gonna let Safeway out eco you?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Random Ride Report

Yesterday morning heading south on Murray I pass two people sleeping across the railroad tracks in sleeping bags. One has his/her arm over the other in a tender manner that juxtaposes nicely against the scattered bits of trash and newspapers.

Tuesday night by Soquel and Frederick, some douche in a big black SUV with his cell phone up his ass, coming in the opposite direction, makes a left right in front of me. I brake enough in time and he speeds up to get out of my way. I get home and recharge the batteries for my lights.

Saturday morning by Broadway and Ocean, in the bike lane (as usual), no helmet (not as usual), bright beautiful day - white compact on my left slows to turn into driveway, i assume he sees me, he doesn't. I brake and fumble for my bell, i miss the bell, and end up yelling the first thing my brain can come up with: "Whoah, whoah! WHOAH!" He slows down just in time for me to pass - maybe a foot away.

Whomever said separate bike paths (i.e. away from car dominated roads) aren't necessary is clueless.