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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.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Craig Harlow
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Craig Harlow

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 :^)

Todd Hudson
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Todd Hudson

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.

BURR
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BURR

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.

9watts
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9watts

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.

PorterStout
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PorterStout

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.

jeremy
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jeremy

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!

daisy
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daisy

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).

bikesalot
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bikesalot

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.

CaptainKarma
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CaptainKarma

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.

Morgan
Guest
Morgan

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.

Alexis
Guest
Alexis

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.

Joe
Guest
Joe

every store needs this 🙂 awesome!

A
Guest
A

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. 🙁

Drew
Guest
Drew

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.

hroðberacht
Guest
hroðberacht

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!

Todd Boulanger
Guest

…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.

Adam
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Adam

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.

Hugh Johnson
Guest
Hugh Johnson

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

Hugh Johnson
Guest
Hugh Johnson

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.

Scott
Guest
Scott

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

Scott Mizee
Guest

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!