Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Running Errands

I love the satisfaction of not taking my car out for days. 

Even owning a hybrid car, it still is not only less efficient driving in traffic with signals & parking lot dramas, but even just a 2 mile jaunt on my bike puts me in a better mood & hopefully sets a good example. 

We've timed errands to destinations on Steven's Creek; The Oaks Shopping Center, Hobee's, Coffee Soc., or Whole Foods, barely 2 miles. Try it sometime, & see that it doesn't take much longer! Your options are to wait a few times, in a running car, to cross Steven's Creek & be stopped at signals---> or to carbon freely cut through Memorial Park on your fun bike! Both options get you to the corner of Whole Foods at the SAME TIME. 

I don't have to fight the insane parking dance that goes on - with what seem to be angry and sometimes privileged deserving hurried car drivers. I roll right up to the door, with my blood pumping for the opposite reasons than when I drive there. Im repeatedly frustrated with the lack of parking skills in our community, so much that I've left notes... & even hollared out the window for said driver to get off her cell phone & try to back out of her friggin spot with TWO hands. What is it that putting your car in reverse--> that means put the phone to your ear? I just don't get that. Call after you are rolling down a straight road... not while maneuvering out of a parking spot... I digress. Sorry.

So here are shots of our ENORMOUS, largest Whole Foods in the West, 63,000+ feet of restaurant/prepared foods, lots of organic...yada yada. The envy of most my friends as I live so close & have access to fresh produce year round... within a 25 minute walk or 12 minute bike ride, or under a 15 minute drive.
My purpose is to encourage more to run errands on bike, but report accurately my hopes for some convenience updates needed in our community to make it even safer and easier for more of us to do so!

Let me repeat: Largest WF in West, 
seating for 200, 63,000 sq ft

CAR PARKING: over 300 at my guess.

BIKE PARKING: maybe 5 or 6? Outrageous!

In theory could hold 8 bikes. But location makes last rack impossible to reach, or hazardous to your bike/scratch safety. Each circle pole had one bike on it already, and I am not far off by assuming they were employee bikes. Many times a week, always the same bikes, & I've seen employees come or go from those racks. What does that leave a customer. ZILCH!

I lean my bike against the wall - I could snuggle up against one of the employee bikes there, but it is extremely hard to get my heavy cruiser around the picnic tables, and past the handlebars- without some embarrassing & potentially scratching tip-over. I'm not worried about theft, just want an out-of-the-way place, that maybe I can lock my wheel to the frame for no easy roll-away theft potentials. So I choose the wall next to, and overlapping the rack. See image- my RED cruiser with white basket is overlapping rack of 3.

Secondary bike rack is to the right of entry door, and has it's capacity pretty well filled w/ 2 bikes. The racks are not against the long empty wall by the windows to the culinary school area- but perpendicular, & overlapping with shopping cart storage, so a bike can't get in & out safely again.

My hope is that I can encourage other shoppers to put in a suggestion box, or email at:  www.wholefoodsmarket.com/contact & ask them to give their employees separate bike parking that is secure - to motivate more of them to ride to work!

Afterall, Whole Foods is the mainstream example & brags about being local, more sustainable & responsible than most others! THEN improve the parking in front of the building to encourage and increase the number of spaces for SHOPPERS!

The only other few seconds of a drawback on my fun commute - is the weird West Bound lane crossing in front of the OAKS shopping and to the 85 overpass. There is a 35mph note on the street - with a dotted line where a cyclist is supposed to cross the traffic that wants to zoom at least 35, across a lame pedestrian cross walk with no light, then enter the Freeway. 

You have to put your arm out, be aggressive, then split the lanes like a motorcyclist. There is a BIKE LANE there after you  move over... and nice white thick lines to mark it... and I've never had a problem once I enter the lane. Sometimes getting to the lane is confusing for the drivers... they don't know what to do with us cyclists... cause there are not enough of us out there! Let's teach them!


TomCat said...

hi bev- you really need a strong light and beautiful grocery getter. that old mongoose alloy cruiser is not the beast forthat. something lugged and steel and elegant and recycled maybe? I'm so glad you are taking up the fight for more bike parking at WF for their workers, and for their customers.

you could always just stroll in with your bike into the market., when they ask you why, state that the bike spots are completely filled, and the bike takes up no more room than a shopping cart in the store, and carts are allowed in the parking lot......

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