Friday, October 11, 2013

The horror! Free parking at the new Target!

Photo: Jesse Enlund for Streetsblog

That the new Target store at Geary and Masonic is finally opening next week is good news for a lot of people who used to shop at Mervyn's there, since they won't have to go downtown or out of town now to do that shopping. 

But it's a horror story for the anti-car bike people at Streetsblog. Their negative reaction (below in italics) to this week's mailer announcing the opening. Streetsblog is indignant that Target is advertising its abundance of free parking. Those Target folks are shameless! Since these are the people---and their allies embedded in City Hall---that are making city traffic policy, the comments to the Streetsblog story are required reading for anyone who wants to understand how grossly elitist they are.

"Do Geary Boulevard and Masonic Avenue need more car traffic? The marketers of the newly-opened CityTarget store seem to think so." This bulletin just in: Retail stores need customers, Aaron, even if they arrive in those wicked Death Monsters, aka "automobiles."

I wrote about this several years ago when Target announced it was moving into the old Mervyn's space. 

Streetsblog also wrote about it three years ago:

Few San Franciscans love the structure at Geary and Masonic, which is almost never referred to by its official name, "City Center." Dominated by empty lots and wasting a spectacular view of downtown, its challenges are numerous. Some have called for the entire thing to be demolished and rebuilt as a transit-oriented development, though that option is not currently on the table.

The "empty lots" are parking lots, and they won't be empty long! In fact there are no serious "challenges," since a large retail business is replacing another large retail business in the same space. The only future challenge: when the city removes all the street parking---167 parking spaces---on Masonic Avenue between Fell Street and Geary Boulevard to make separated bike lanes that will surely make traffic on Masonic a lot worse than it should be---on behalf of an unknown number of future cyclists.

Maybe someone on Streetsblog proposed tearing this mall down, but I've never seen that idea discussed anywhere else.

Do Geary Boulevard and Masonic Avenue need more car traffic? The marketers of the newly-opened “CityTarget” store seem to think so.

The mailers announcing the opening of the supposedly urban-style store (clearly, it’s more like the downtown Metreon store than the suburban, parking-locked store in Serramonte) advertise the fact that it offers free parking---three times, in fact. This comes after Target emphasized to neighbors at community meetings in 2010 that it would encourage “alternative transportation.”

Granted, they did include a picture of a fixed-gear road bicycle with some unsecured stuff placed on its front rack, though it’s unclear if the bike is supposed to be a product or a mode of transport. There’s also a bench with some books and coffee cup on it that could, theoretically, represent a bus stop.

But even if Target doesn’t want to be too explicit about suggesting that its customers take a bike or bus, or provide a visual reminder of what its 650-space parking lot actually looks like in an urban setting, the company makes its message perfectly clear: “CityTarget” has free parking.

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