The New Seasons Effect: On Parking, Traffic and More

The view from aboveAfter nearly three weeks of New Seasons on Woodstock Blvd., some effects on the neighborhood have begun to emerge.


At the neighborhood association’s meeting earlier this month, New Seasons manager Mark Feuerborn said he has received complaints about customers and staff parking motor vehicles on neighborhood streets. Because such parking is lawful, the manager can’t greatly influence what customers do. But Feuerborn is seeking the most neighborhood-friendly option for his staff, which includes 15 to 20 people per day who arrive by car. He’s exploring whether they can use parking at or near one of the banks, with KeyBank seemingly the most logical alternative (though not during Farmers Markets, of course).

The Woodstock and 45th Intersection

Thanks to New Seasons’ impressive Treehouse Bar & Lounge, it’s possible to pull up a chair four stories above the intersection closely connecting the boulevard’s two grocery stores and observe the goings-on from a bird’s-eye view. (See photo.) You’ll see road users, with and without motors, attempting to turn right and left from both the main road and the cross-street. You’ll see people on foot using the unmarked crosswalk there, as is quite lawful. You’ll see people in vehicles occupying the main road’s center lane while waiting to turn, complicating the movements of people on the cross-street. In total, you’ll see more (and more complex) activity than the intersection most likely was designed for.

You can smooth your trip for now by counting on making only right turns — but maybe, over the long term, the intersection would merit some kind of upgrade commensurate with its sudden new role as the town center’s “dead center.”

Congestion and Speed

It’s less than empirical, but traffic on Woodstock Blvd. during most times of the day now seems a little more dense and therefore slower moving. That’s not a bad thing for a commercial district, because slower speeds can mean a better chance to cross the road for an errand once you’re out of your car — and it might encourage through-travelers to use alternate routes such as Steele, Holgate or Johnson Creek.

One Cunning Strategy

Keep in mind that it’s effectively an ecosystem: If you’re concerned about the potential for more car congestion (both parked and moving) and slower travel times when you drive the area, a cunning strategy would be to encourage other people to come without their cars. For example, be sure to watch for people walking and biking to the stores and give them a break in their crossings and turnings.

OK, Your Turn

What other aspects of “the New Seasons effect” have you observed in the neighborhood — maybe even beyond traffic and parking?

7 Comments on “The New Seasons Effect: On Parking, Traffic and More”

  1. Sharon Reece

    New Seasons is a lovely store, but it won’t be long before we start hearing of serious car vs. pedestrian accidents on Woodstock due to the increase in pedestrian traffic crossing in unmarked places. Crossing Woodstock has always been dangerous. When you combine increased traffic, drivers trying to navigate around on a rainy dark night, or in the daylight; it’s just not a good recipe. The whole block is dangerous. Putting that garage opening on Martins St does not seem like a good idea. Cars coming out of the underground parking together with congestion on Martins coming off of 46th trying to get into the garage is beyond dangerous when you throw walkers and bike riders into the mix. I’ve noticed more traffic on the unimproved streets in the area making them unsafe for walkers as well. Drivers are choosing to find alternatives to the main streets. We see way more traffic on our unimproved street between 43rd and 44th and Martins. It was already bad from the large parcel trucks coming and going. We love the store, we just wish more thought had been given to this issue when the “Build it and they will come” thought first came up.

  2. Florence Dezeix

    New Seasons has a locked area for staff bicycles in their underground parking. There were quite a few bikes in there yesterday evening. Safe and dry parking for bikes is a greatnway to encourage biking to work in the winter.

    1. Bill Walters

      Agreed. At the meeting, the New Seasons manager said that half the daily staff of 35 to 40 people arrive without cars, whether by bike, by TriMet or on foot. That’s a pretty good mode split.

  3. Brooke Bonkoski

    Love the New Seasons! I’m so happy I don’t have to leave the neighborhood to purchase quality food and get excellent customer service. The added benefit is reduced carbon footprint for myself as well as increased foot traffic to other local businesses. And a new awesome eating spot and bar to boot? Couldn’t be happier!

  4. Bubba Yarfkowitz

    Traffic doesn’t just seem more dense – it is. Being retired, I have the luxury of being able to shop during working hours. At the very least, parking is far more difficult on Woodstock and traffic has become far denser. Unlike a previous commenter, I don’t believe that the high-priced “quality” food justifies the additional congestion the area is experiencing. But this is the cost of gentrification. There’s no going back.

  5. Stephanie Overbey

    I love the addition to the neighborhood! Best suggestion for traffic issues, etc: slow down and enjoy our great neighborhood!

  6. Stephanie

    Almost hit two elderly ladies popping out from behind a huge delivery tractor trailer midblock by the entrance to the parking garage. Be EXTREMELY careful when driving or biking back there with all the delivery vehicles blocking the views.

    I also notice tons of people crossing the street on foot. Are they all parking over at Safeway and shopping at New Seasons? I bet Safeway is going to get mad. Not to mention Subway and Cloud City Ice Cream!

    I think the traffic is more hazardous on Woodstock now, starting on the day that New Seasons opened. I think we need a marked crosswalk like they have in front of Pappacino’s.