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Citizen complaint of the day: Whole Gridlock in the South End

Jammed roads full of people trying to get to the Whole Foods in the South End

A fed-up citizen filed a 311 complaint today about the gridlock at Harrison Avenue and Mullins Way as the more organically minded drive their SUVs and Priuses to the South End Whole Foods:

The intersection of Harrison Ave and William Mullins Way becomes gridlocked with cars attempting to enter the Whole Foods parking lot from 3 directions across the intersection. Cars coming up Harrison to turn right into the parking lot block through traffic on Harrison, as do cars clogging the intersection trying to force their way into the parking lot. It sucks, is unsafe, and should have traffic features alleviating the congestion - parking meters removed for a turn lane, etc.

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Comments

A parked car always blocks the curb cut.

Otherwise I’m in and out with my bike and saddle bags coming and leaving from the other direction before any of those drivers even get into the lot. Why don’t people leave their silly suburban ways behind when they move to the city?

If I make it past the racecourse and gridlock that is Herald Street, I rejoice to have lived another day.

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If I have to go to Trader Joes, Somerville Market Basket, or Meffuh Whoods during insanity time, I bring a bike. I pass all the cars queueing for the parking lot scrum, park right up against the building, get in an out, pack up, and go in minutes - particularly if I have my bike trailer in tow.

Thanks to the new extension of the Northern Strand trail I can now do the same with the Costco in Everett - a well known horror zone on weekends. Shit, I can even grab a beer or mixed drink in the Fermentation District while the motorists are sitting in long lines of crazy.

People don't seem to understand that these places are open until 8 or 9 or later on weekday nights if they want to get a car involved. I just don't get the peak hours shopping. Even when I had small kids I was able to negotiate getting to busy stores at non-busy times.

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I spend more time being a pedestrian than a driver. Gridlock makes crossing streets so much easier. Walking to this Whole Foods is much easier when drivers turn the entire street into a parking lot via gridlock.

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… or the crosswalk. I’m not even in a wheelchair.

It’s too nerve wracking when a space suddenly opens up and a truck you are trying to inch by starts to move. Then the whole mad mass of cars starts moving while still gazing into their phones. You are dead meat at that point. Dead from exhaust in your lungs or dead under their wheels.

I prefer to pass in front of stopped vehicles with at least 6 feet between us.

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But, yeah, everyone keep going at the same time. It's (expletive) Saturday. Where else do you need to be?

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to redesign Harrison Ave between East Berkeley and Herald Streets. The median will be removed and traffic lanes reconfigured to help ease the frequent traffic congestion. People generally complain about the inadequate parking lot capacity of Whole Foods instead of the number of cars on the road.

The average person who moves to the city these days with a spouse and children doesn’t want to give up a car. I know many single people who keep their cars in the city—from graduate students and young professionals to retirees. They refuse to feel inconvenienced. Today many people are extremely self-centered and care about their individual comfort before anything outside their personal orbit. It’s a different kind of world for them.

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Back when I had two, I would shop with a car - on weekday nights. NEVER on weekends.

Even then, if I had to pick up something forgotten or emergent I would bike if needed. I occasionally would take the car to go to the exurban stores on a Saturday if we had a soccer game in like Dracut or something, but not anywhere in the city.

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When the Pats were worth watching, going to Market Basket on a Sunday afternoon was perfect.

Someone once said something similar about Fairway in NYC in the late '90s when Seinfeld was on. You could hear a pin drop.

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Best days to shop at Market Basket:

Any holiday they are open (i.e. New years day, memorial day, 4th, labor day, columbus day, etc)
The day after thanksgiving (it's a ghosttown)
During a Patriots game (and lesser, a Sox games... Def a Patriots game)
During the Super Bowl (even if the pats arent playin)
During the world series (if the sox are in'em)
During a snow storm (if there's no driving restrictions)

Avoid.. top of the month (weekends, weeknights.. just don't). Bottom of the month seems to fair better. (think EBT/SSI benefits days.. people go shopping. Dont hate on those ppl either, if you had a fixed income wouldn't you want to get 'more for your dollar'?)

I'd also avoid before a snowstorm or other weather event where a French Toast alert has been posted.

I find weeknights to be hit or miss, mid-week seems to fair better than earlier in the week. Friday nights tend to be quieter, unless its the 1st of the month. And always after 8pm (before the store closes) is usually quieter, except before a snow storm. LOL

If you have to shop on the weekends, go before 10am (some stores open before 7am.. chelsea opens at 5am on weekends, no checkouts till 6 tho!). or after six or 7 in the evening. Just keep in mind later in the day the store is picked over...

I shop around 7am on weekends. Its not busy and I am usually in and out of there in 30-40m if I am doing a full shop. And yes, I walk there with my granny cart.

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Fact is, Boston is known to be one of top in the country for traffic flow and parking failure.

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Now that's world class.

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I mean, the city didn't even have cars for nearly 300 years of its existence. Attempts at "urban renewal" to wedge them in were a spectacular failure in multiple dimensions.

Maybe ask if Dallas is right for you?

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The delivery folks are under immense pressure to work fast, process large orders, often at peak traffic times. And it's not like they have the option to walk or ride a bike, more often than not.

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…. some of the problem if they are filling and delivering more than one order at a time and their one vehicle is replacing several others.
No way of knowing though.

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If you were running a delivery company, you would want to optimize your logistics; you would use small trucks rather than cars, you would batch multiple deliveries in a single truck run, etc.

But a service that essentially acts as a broker between customers and gig workers doesn’t have any of those incentives; the don’t increase profits by reducing driver miles or trip counts

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But I do see food and grocery delivery people picking up multiple orders so maybe some of the drivers do it on their own initiative. Maybe they will help the system evolve. Hope so.

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You might know more than me if you're an Instacart shopper, but it's hard to believe that hardcore Instacarters with cars wouldn't be using more car-friendly locations on the edges of the city to fill orders. I'm old and just shop for a couple once every 10 days, so that's what I do. If it's a pain in the butt or takes too much time I won't go there.
If I were a professional shopper and wanted to focus on city customers, I'd probably accept small orders only and get a scooter or one of those bikes with the big carrier things to shop small orders in-town.

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Whole Foods? If I shopped there it would be Whole Paycheck. Working class here who has to pay for an apartment first. I eat at shelters and go to food pantries. I'd rather have a place to live than eat healthy. I can't have both working full time.

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… few things. You have to have the time to go to different places though which sounds like with your long hours trying to meet the rent, you just don’t have.

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when this place was in the planning stage and the developers said because it was close to the Red and Orange lines nobody would drive there? They don’t need any more parking that was proposed because there was no need for it.
Today the bigoted anti-car, anti-oil activist denied this happened.

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You're incorrect. Free parking here has induced this mess. Charging for parking or eliminating the lot altogether would discourage unnecessary car trips and would probably greatly reduce or eliminate this gridlock. This store will be just fine. This is a densely populated urban area with thousands and thousands of housing units within a 20 minute walk, not a suburb on the 128 belt. As a parallel, the Trader Joe's on Boylston St in the Back Bay has only street parking and it is reputed to be the whole chain's most profitable location. That store is so successful that a second, larger, Trader Joe's will soon be opening at 500 Boylston St. That location won't have free parking either.

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…. has no parking also.

One of the reasons Trader Joe’s prices are low is because they provide little or no parking at their locations. Customers who don’t drive to the stores aren’t paying for those who do.

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Trader Joe's in Hanover, Hingham, Hyannis, Saugus, Burlington all have no three parking spots each. Or some made up statement like that.

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Hayseed.

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https://www.foodandwine.com/trader-joes-parking-lots-small-explanation-7...

Trader Joe’s doesn’t plan on opening bigger stores to accommodate a larger number of customers (and their cars.) “[T]hat kind of changes who we are,” Miller said. “We have small stores, so they come with small parking lots. If we had bigger stores, sure we'd have bigger parking lots, but we'd feel like a different store.” (And even if your local Trader Joe’s has the world’s most bonkers parking lot. just consider that there are a number of TJ’s locations in the U.S. that don’t have parking lots at all.)

TJ's also has higher sales per square foot than just about any other grocer, and square footage drives the number of spaces they are required to have. They don't do bigger lots because that costs money, and they don't do bigger stores because they don't.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-24/trader-joe-s-parking-...

The Assembly Square location recently started opening at 8am and since I pass by on my way to work I can pick up some things to stash for lunches and snacks. I have noticed that the bike rack tends to be nearly full if I get there after 8:15 as Boston bound commuters stop in. People living in the housing units in the area are there before they start their workday with their urban shopping carts. The parking lot has plenty of space at that hour.

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If that’s your rationale, then Newbury Street stores would have Marshall’s prices.

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I’m sure they want to know more, genius.

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anything on Uhub. You are an imbecile if you really believe your statement. Trader Joe’s in Allston has a nice parking garage and their prices are no higher than the Seaport store.

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.

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in East Boston who charges only $20 for a haircut and lineup because he doesn’t have a parking lot.

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Was built for the residents of the Seaport and those in Fort Point who can walk there, that’s why they do not have a parking lot. You don’t see people from Cambridge or Medford shopping there. So stop it with the bigoted motor vehicle crap.

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People come from all over the Boston area for this Trader Joe’s. It’s the closest one to Dorchester.

Truth hurts, motorhead.

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In Dot because there’s no commercial property available that has parking.

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Trader Joe’s is in demand everywhere. They prefer to own their properties rather than lease.
Not a problem in Dot but lack of density is.

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100%. The fact that parking is free here is why so many people are trying to use it. I regularly go to the Symphony Whole Foods and there are never any traffic jams there. It's paid street parking and a private paid garage. Most people walk or bike there.

The City should make Whole Foods charge for parking at the South End location. Perhaps not all the time but definitely during peak shopping hours when traffic is currently an issue.

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Lot that they pay taxes on? Ok, no.

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I like it, eden.
But the city doesn’t have the power to do this, that I can see.
Customers have to make their wants known to the company. Then Whole Foods can use it to promote themselves as customer listeners.
I’d love to get a rebate for not dumping my killing machine outside like they give you for bringing your own bags and for using someone else’s phone number who has Prime.

Please don’t have a heart attack now, robo.

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And ride your bike. LMK what I owe you at the end of the year.

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Not my style to take anyone’s lunch money.

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Great point. I’ll send some feedback their way. FWIW, I’ve only ever walked, biked or taken the bus here. A great, local store - except for all the cars trying to get in or about to run you over on their way out.

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Yeah, a park would be so much nicer than that parking lot...

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...and they also want a Supermarket.

Unless you are a giraffe, the supermarket and the housing is the better option for society.

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And together make a whole that is more than the sum of it’s parts.

Put that on your corn cob pipe and smoke it.

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Yeah, a park... Just a small one. Just enough room for me chain my bike and double-wide stroller to a tree so I don't have to lug them inside and upstairs.

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No trees. Damage to tree bark especially when the thieves cut it down.

Something harder to cut through than your Ulocks.

Use your mobility devices as space savers and leave parks clutter free and spacious.

Santa will reward you for all this.

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Many community meetings that I sit through have this statement at some point. They also like to suppress traffic studies. I think that anything that is submitted to local officials including traffic studies need to be released to the public.

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If it’s submitted to a government office, with very few exceptions, ir is supposed to be a public record. Massachusetts, contrary to what you might expect, is often rated as one of the worst states for actually following its own public records laws, though.

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Traffic study for Summer Street claims a 200% increase in bicycle trips on Summer and L Streets during rush hour. If you twist their arm to see a hard copy of the study, bike traffic went from 4 trips to 12 trips during rush hour. So technically they are correct, but realistically it doesn’t warrant spending tens of thousands of dollars on new traffic lane markings.

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lied to us, and plenty of fools believed them. Traffic has been a mess from day one. Ink Block”s remedy is to have valet parking.

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That parking lot makes no sense. Just cars idling and fumigating the pedestrians. Charge more to use it, or, better yet, get rid of it altogether.

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How about painting the "box" and ticketing everyone who blocks it? It's not really WF's fault that people break the law. If you can't fully cross the intersection, don't proceed. It's not that hard and some targeted enforcement will send the message.

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How am I the first one to post this?

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It was prior unfamiliarity.

This was fun.

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