Esplanade closure begins February 1st

New Seasons makes bike access a top priority at new Williams Ave location

Posted by on March 27th, 2013 at 10:53 am

bike parking at New Seasons -2

The phalanx of bike racks at
the New Seasons on Williams Ave at Fremont.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A long row of bike racks has been installed on the east side of the New Seasons Market currently under construction on North Williams Avenue. While they take up only a small footprint of the overall site, the 30 staple racks have space for 60 bicycles — that’s three more spaces than they’ve allocated for auto parking.

The new New Seasons, set to open on August 28th of this year, is located on the block bound by Williams, Vancouver, Fremont and Cook. Both Williams and Vancouver (which run north/south) are among the busiest bike corridors in the entire city, so New Seasons is smart to make sure bike access is easy and pleasant. This morning I spoke to the store’s Director of Development Don Forrest to learn more about what we can expect in terms of bike access.

“It should be harder to find a vehicle parking stall than a bicycle parking stall. That’s our goal.”
— Don Forrest, New Seasons Market Director of Development

Forrest acknowledged that the 57 vehicle stalls is a “pretty low” amount of auto parking. “But given the unique location along the bicycling corridors,” he said, “we thought it was prudent.” Then he added that, “It should be harder to find a vehicle parking stall than a bicycle parking stall. That’s our goal.” (Note: The New Seasons on Hawthorne also has more bike parking than car parking.)

Currently, traffic on Williams is a mess whether you’re in a car or on a bike, but if all goes according to plan, we will see an entirely new road design by spring of 2014. The bike racks have been installed on the Williams side of the store and can be accessed via a driveway into the New Seasons parking lot. An overhang from the roof covers the racks and will keep folks dry(er) in the rain. They’ve also built a ramp that connects the bike parking to the front (main entrance) to the store.

It’s worth noting that the staple racks have been installed perpendicular to the wall. This is better than what we see at many businesses where racks are installed parallel (or too close) to walls because it allows you to pull right in and it makes parking two bikes at each staple much easier. The sidewalk adjacent to the bike racks is also very wide, which means people with larger, cargo bikes and/or kids and such will have plenty of breathing room. One last notable thing about the racks is that New Seasons has anchored them into the ground with theft-proof bolts with smooth heads. This is important because thieves in Portland have been known to take bikes simply by unscrewing the staples from the ground.

Here are a few more photos…

Ample space from the wall:

bike parking at New Seasons -8

Theft-proof bolts:

bike parking at New Seasons -7

A ramp leads to and from the bike parking:

bike parking at New Seasons -6

Looking north:

bike parking at New Seasons -4

Note the overhang:

bike parking at New Seasons -3

Wide sidewalk next to the racks:

bike parking at New Seasons -1

Forrest says New Seasons staff will have their own bicycle parking on the west side of the building. In addition, he said if the 60 spaces for customers isn’t enough, they’ll add more racks in the future. He said they’re also considering a bicycle service station on the site where you can work on your bike, put some air in your tires, and so on.

Another cool idea the store is working on is providing storage lockers for people who bike to the store. This is an idea I pitched to New Seasons several months ago and I was glad to hear it’s still on the table. The idea is that people on bikes lack a backseat or secure place to put their gear/jackets/panniers and so on. Instead of seeing people lug their bike panniers into the store, I thought it would be cool for businesses to start providing gear lockers. It makes even more sense for a grocery store because people who are lugging around less of their own stuff, are more likely to load up with more groceries. Forrest said the bike rider lockers would be located right inside the main doors near the deli. They’re currently looking for locker vendor and working through this idea. I’ll keep you posted.

One major issue that arose during PBOT’s N Williams Traffic Operations and Safety Project was the need for a traffic signal at N. Cook, the street on the southern boundary of the market. PBOT’s final project design includes a city-funded signal at Williams and Cook; but another signal is needed at Vancouver and Cook. Given the expense of signals — about $250,000 — the City asked New Seasons to lead a private effort to raise the money for the second signal

Forrest said today that, “New Seasons took that on as a challenge and the effort has taken a life of its own.” Forrest reported that a coalition of businesses has come together to raise the money for the Cook/Vancouver signal. The coalition includes New Seasons, Ivy Street Partners (a developer), Legacy Emanuel Hospital, and The Kaiser Group (a developer working on vacant parcel just north of New Seasons).

The signals on N. Cook are essential to the traffic safety and flow issues around this block. They have even more urgency given the news that a 196-unit residential development is likely coming to Cook (on the same block as New Seasons). Forrest said the development will have ground floor commercial along the north side of Cook and underground parking.

With so much change in this area, and such mixed traffic demand on the streets, it will be very interesting to see how this all plays out. The New Seasons will be open for 6-10 months before the PBOT project is complete, so there will be a time gap and biking/driving behavior learning curve for everyone.

“We plan to monitor the traffic situation closely,” says Forrest. He said New Seasons will do a traffic analysis a few weeks after their grand opening. If any problems arise, he said they’ll work with the City to remedy them.

Stay tuned.

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  • Craig Harlow March 27, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Copious, covered, and next to the main entrance. Sweet.

    Aim the entrance’s security camera at it and add a big “monitored by camera” sign, and it will be complete :^)

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  • Todd Hudson March 27, 2013 at 11:20 am

    At Fred Meyer and Winco, the bike staples are so close to the building that I cannot securely lock up my Big Dummy cargo bike.

    It looks like these staples are also so close to the building that longtail cargo bikes are not easily accomodated.

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    • jim March 27, 2013 at 11:27 am

      few places can accommodate a long tail

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    • BURR March 27, 2013 at 11:28 am

      They should have installed them at an angle, rather than perpendicular to the wall.

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      • Chris I March 27, 2013 at 1:22 pm

        Maybe some of them, but not all. Angling the racks would reduce the total number of available racks.

        Someone who drives an F-350 crew cab should not expect to be able to park everywhere. The same goes for cargo bikes.

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        • BURR March 27, 2013 at 1:32 pm

          I disagree, the space will hold the same number of angled racks as perpendicular racks, and the angled racks accommodate longer bikes with less sidewalk blockage than perpendicular racks.

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          • Spiffy March 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm

            yes, if you angle the racks they’ll still fit… in fact you could put 4x as many racks and they’d still fit… the problem is that if you angle them the amount of space between them decreases so you can’t fit the bikes in between them without serious effort, if at all…

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    • David March 27, 2013 at 11:39 am

      Why can’t you have the tail of the bike sticking out onto the sidewalk with the front of your bike facing toward the building?

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      • Rick March 27, 2013 at 6:26 pm

        A preferred method of securing a bike is to use a u-lock through the rear wheel and frame, and then around the bike rack. This method is preferred because the rear wheel is more expensive to replace because of the gear cassette. Add a cable looped through the front wheel and back to the u-lock and you’re about as secure as you can reasonably get. Racks that are too close to the building – as these appear to be – prevent locking up with in this fashion.

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        • El Biciclero March 28, 2013 at 10:57 am

          How is it prevented? Unless the rack extends far behind the rear wheel, couldn’t the rear wheel be placed next to the building and locked to one “leg” of the staple exactly as you describe? Yes, the front end would still stick out onto the sidewalk area a bit, but that isn’t necessarily a huge problem.

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          • Rick March 28, 2013 at 11:35 am

            A picture would be worth a thousand words right about now – and I could not find a really good one, but one in the link below may help explain what I mean. If you can imagine the rack in this photo being much closer to the wall, you can see getting that lock around the wheel, and the triangle of the rear frame, and then around the rear leg of the rack would be impossible. Yes, you could use the front leg of the rack, but the bike would extend out and I’d rather not block the sidewalk.


            The person who runs says a bike rack should be “36 inches away from everything”.


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            • Rick March 28, 2013 at 11:42 am

              After looking closer at the photo of the New Seasons racks, they might be just fine for most bikes. Yeah, a Yuba Mundo would have issues though.

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    • Todd Boulanger March 28, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      Yes…these racks are for parking normal length bikes (~6 ft)…so it would be like parking your extended bed pick up truck in a normal car parking stall.

      A better suggestion would be to set aside a few racks off to the side that are rotated parallel to the building for cargo and long bikes to park at. This is now a pretty common feature at most large commercial parking facilities now.

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  • BURR March 27, 2013 at 11:27 am

    I’ll reserve judgement on how well this is going to work until the store is up and running.

    The flower vendor at New Season’s Seven Corners store on Division has expropriated a number of the bike parking spaces at that store, which have not been replaced; I would note that the Seven Corners store also has substantially more auto parking than bike parking.

    At other local groceries, such as the old Natures Fresh NW at 30th and Division, their bike racks were largely expropriated for shopping cart storage; the same thing is happening at the new Hawthorne Safeway.

    The Pearl District Whole Foods only had trees to lock to at street level when it opened and had to be shamed into adding additional bike parking.

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    • oliver March 27, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      Good point

      Efforts by my employer to provide bike parking created conflict between customer service/marketing/admin personnel who comprise most of the bike commuters and the shipping & receiving, order fulfillment, facilities department who have seen the areas formerly available to them for the completion of their duties now reserved for bicycle parking.

      Staff responsible for wrangling shopping carts are likely not conscious of or unsympathetic to the relationship between bicycle parking and sales.

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    • Kris March 27, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      I’ve never had trouble finding bike parking at the Seven Corners New Seasons, and I have no doubt that if there were bike parking capacity issues, the store management would deal with them immediately. I also doubt that there’s more car than bike parking. There are staples enough for at least 40 bikes (probably more), and there aren’t a huge number of car parking spots. You seem to be making an issue of something that is not.

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  • 9watts March 27, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Doug K pointed out in the article about the New Seasons on Hawthorne that all of this accommodation was in the public right of way and no on New Seasons’ property. Is that the same in this case? Just curious.

    “The New Seasons on Hawthorne also has more bike parking than car parking.”

    I’d be interested to hear how that’s going. Someone at New Seasons surely knows how well utilized both types of parking are, what if anything they’d do differently next time…

    Thanks for this update. Seems like things are slowly moving in the right direction.

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    • rider March 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      I know that I’ve never had an issue getting bike or car parking at the Hawthorne location and I tend to shop at peak hours.

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      • nuovorecord March 27, 2013 at 2:32 pm

        Ditto that.

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    • Matt March 27, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      The Hawthorne store also has no loading dock and it creates a cluster F when trucks are parking all over and in the center left turn lane. Parking in the left turn lane is illegal. Trucks block stop signs. Etc. I’ve talked with management and they can only do so much. The truckers don’t want to listen to me. PBOT gives me lip service. Just venting.

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      • Adam March 28, 2013 at 3:23 pm

        The only reason you would want to be in that left turn lane, is to make a turn onto 41st Ave. Since 41st Ave is a bike boulevard, you shouldn’t be doing that in your car anyway! Just take 39th like yer supposed to 😉

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        • Matt March 28, 2013 at 6:36 pm

          Jump to conclusions much? The parking in the center left turn lane is problematic for me WHEN I’M ON MY BIKE TRYING TO CROSS HAWTHORNE. The trucks block your vision and they also make it difficult for motor traffic on Hawthorne to get by them. Jeez.

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        • are March 28, 2013 at 7:02 pm

          as a pedestrian, i also find this use of the center lane by large trucks problematic.

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  • PorterStout March 27, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    They certainly know their customers in this area. Nice work. Is Cook a good alternative for reaching this location from the east? Fremont beyond MLK is a bit narrow for my taste, given the amount of traffic on it. Getting a signal at Cook would be a help, I’d think.

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    • John Lascurettes March 27, 2013 at 5:39 pm

      Yes, cook cuts through from the east from 7th to Vancouver and beyond. However, you’d have a hard time crossing the uncontrolled MLK there on heavy traffic hours. Best to use a lighted crossing to get across MLK and then use Cook to reach Williams.

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  • jeremy March 27, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    I LOVE the comment that “It should be harder to find a vehicle parking stall than a bicycle parking stall. That’s our goal.” i couldn’t agree more. I sometimes drive, and I like that it reminds me that driving can be a pain in certain ways–parking is one of them. There have been literally hundreds of times when I considered how annoying it is to park and took the bike instead. Good for you New Seasons!

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  • daisy March 27, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    I’m thrilled to hear that we might get that signal at Cook and Vancouver! I want that signal to give my kids a safer route to walk to school (instead of having to walk up to Fremont).

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    • Mike March 28, 2013 at 8:53 pm

      Yeah, I think the real story here will be about how the bike and car traffic flow evolves. With the I-405 entrance it’s already busy, and the new developments are going to increase both car and bike traffic dramatically. In a more ideal world the city would require the developers to pay for a signal, not ask them to lead a voluntary fund raising effort.

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  • bikesalot March 27, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    The problem of shopping carts being abandoned in the bike racks is epidemic in my experience. I have had shoppers do that while I was tending to my bike. My comments that “this is a bike rack, not a cart return” are always totally ignored as they proceed on their way. Likewise, comment forms dropped at Costco, etc requesting a sign with the above notice, have always been ignored – even when I have specifically requested a reply on the form. I think we have a LONG way to go on this issue.

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    • Chris I March 27, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      You could always just take the cart and shove it into the middle of the parking lot. That might get their attention.

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      • are March 27, 2013 at 4:56 pm

        there is likely to be a mismatch between who you are intending to punish and who actually gets punished. i have taken to simply gathering all the carts from around the bike racks and shepherding them to the cart corral. hope i am not putting some kid out of a job.

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    • Mabsf March 27, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      So I admit that I leave my shopping cart some times right in the bike rack area after I load up my bike… will make effort to return them!

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    • Spiffy March 27, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      sometimes I’m forced to lock my bike to a shopping cart coral when there’s no bike parking available… so maybe it all evens out…

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  • CaptainKarma March 27, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I shouldn’t be picky, but I wish they were non-round tubing, and had the extra H bar strap across the upper area. I mean since they’re new, might want to make that upgrade now instead of spend extra later… oh well. Anti theft bolts good, though.

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  • Morgan March 27, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    I think that it is awesome they are giving so much attention to bikes. I live in the neighborhood and look forward to biking over there and knowing that will be a good spot for my bike.

    I am surprised with the nay-sayers. Maybe if you aren’t happy with it you shouldn’t go there. Find an establishment that meets all your expectations and support them. Sheesh.

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    • 9watts March 27, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      “Maybe if you aren’t happy with it you shouldn’t go there.”

      Do you think New Seasons is doing this out of the goodness of their heart or because people offered constructive criticism along the way?

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      • rider March 27, 2013 at 2:51 pm

        True, though most of the criticisms in this thread sound like they came straight from the mouth of Veruca Salt and less like genuine constructive criticism.

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    • Spiffy March 27, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      “Maybe if you aren’t happy with it you shouldn’t go there.”

      that’s what motor-vehicle drivers say to bicycle riders that complain about aggressive drivers…

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  • Alexis March 27, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    considering a bicycle service station on the site where you can work on your bike, put some air in your tires, and so on.

    Yes yes! The Whole Foods on Fremont has this, and I’d love to see it at NS as well. I hope if they do they choose a slightly better design though — the pump at WF is hard to use on smaller bikes because of the way they set it up.

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  • Joe March 27, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    every store needs this 🙂 awesome!

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  • A March 27, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Love the huge amount of bike parking in Portland! When I bike to my neighborhood grocery here in Seattle I regularly have to move a huge sign advertising their car parking lot out of the way of the bike rack, which accommodates three bikes. 🙁

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    • 9watts March 27, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      You have to aim high.
      The german city of Dortmund is planning to expand their bike parking accommodations at the central train station to 1,000 bike parking spots:

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      • Kris March 27, 2013 at 5:45 pm

        That’s aiming high? Amsterdam Centraal has over 10,000 bike parking spaces.

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        • 9watts March 27, 2013 at 5:49 pm

          I’m delighted to find my statistic upstaged. I was just responding to Mr./Ms. Seattle who found a mere 3 spots at his/her store. It is good to have some perspective. I don’t think we’ve seen the best that is to come yet.

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  • Drew March 27, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    I hope they upgrade the bike parking at their sellwood location. Most is taken up by the employees bikes. How about converting a car parking space? It would be nice to see a local grocer have the courage to take that step.

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  • hroðberacht March 28, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Re: lockers — I lived in Korea for a couple of years. Every major grocery store had a huge bank of free coin-op-deposit lockers for customer use. It something I have missed ever since getting back to the States. They weren’t particularly catering to a biking crowd, it was just an appreciated, well-used service to customers who didn’t drive.

    They even had larger, vented ones for small pets… which is probably taking the idea too far!

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  • Todd Boulanger March 28, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    …I just got back from Pittsburgh and their new (first in the city) Whole Foods installed a tool repair stand with pump along side their bank of bike racks. They also set aside 2 conventional car parking stalls with a sign for overflow bike parking…most likely for trailers and cargo / long bikes.

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  • Adam March 28, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Love the overhang over the bike parking. Really thoughtful, and much needed in bike parking EVERYWHERE! 🙂 Thankyou, New Seasons. You are raising the bar for grocery stores in Portland.

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  • Hugh Johnson March 29, 2013 at 8:50 am

    what about the poor folks in that area who don’t ride bikes?…people of color…oh wait…this store isn’t for *them*.

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    • are March 29, 2013 at 8:16 pm

      the availability of bike parking does not preclude others from entering the store. are you talking about prices? new seasons is competitive. or are you saying fifty-seven spaces is not enough parking for autos? it seems more than sufficient to me. i am not an apologist for new seasons, but they have committed to hire from the neighborhood. i do not understand the source of your snark.

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  • Hugh Johnson March 30, 2013 at 8:02 am

    I think it’s pretty clear the demographic this store is aimed at. And it sure as hell isn’t those who have been steam rolled by the gentrification going on there. Young white people on bikes are a pretty self serving bunch.

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    • are April 2, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      apart from a couple of quick marts, which i hope you are not saying serve the nutritional needs of this community at anything approaching affordable prices, the closest full service grocery store in this food desert is the safeway on MLK at about ainsworth. what demographic is that store “aimed at”? how do you like the bulletproof glass at the customer service desk and the locked display cases? the emphasis on beer and snack food? honestly, hugh, your point is completely lost on me.

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      • Rick April 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm

        It makes more sense if Hugh is white and just having some fun.

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  • Scott April 1, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    “New Seasons shows profit is the main focus of new store by pandering to a demographic”

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  • Scott Mizee October 22, 2015 at 11:32 am

    I am looking forward to seeing New Seasons showing this same community awareness at the store under construction on N Lombard. My thank you goes to New Seasons for already responding to the Twitter feedback and committing to a 2nd look at this design ASAP. THANK YOU NEW SEASONS!

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