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Trader Joe's opens at Town and Country Friday

Original post made on Dec 3, 2009

Trader Joe's will open its newest location in Town and Country Village in Palo Alto on Friday (Dec. 4), after years of lobbying from Palo Alto residents. At 8 a.m. the store will open with a lei-cutting ceremony, a band and face painters.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, December 3, 2009, 9:55 AM

Comments (53)

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Posted by Sarah
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 3, 2009 at 10:05 am

Anyone know if they have secure bicycle racks at that location?

There is a great bike path behind Paly to the shopping center. But the path doesn't do much good if there is nowhere at the store to safely park your bike.


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Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 3, 2009 at 10:19 am

What has Trader Joe's done to ensure that there will be no new traffic in Palo Alto caused by them doing business in Palo Alto? Are they providing housing for their employees? If the answer is "no" on both counts, I am not sure why the City Council allowed them to open up in town.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 3, 2009 at 10:21 am

TJ's is opening a 8:00 a.m. on a Friday morning in the height of the Paly commute or the ordinary commute??? Good Grief, Charlie Brown. Why couldn't they have done it on Saturday?


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Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 3, 2009 at 10:55 am

I am with Bob on this one.

Paly commute is crazy enough but the added crowds for the ribbon cutting ceremony will make it impossible. Perhaps it should be delayed until 9.00 am when the students are in school.


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Posted by Agree with Bob
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 3, 2009 at 11:13 am

Yes, change it to Saturday! More people can attend and celebrate. Why have face painting when kids are in school?


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 3, 2009 at 11:42 am

The new light for T&C is a huge headache. The traffic on Embarcadero was backed up to Cowper this morning at 8:30.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 3, 2009 at 11:48 am

Perhaps the editors can explain why they deleted a portion of my post, where i explained why I posted the comment that i did regarding traffic and housing. I directed people to read today's Diana Diamond column in the Daily Post,which quotes a council member saying that new businesses should adhere to the city's philosophy regarding traffic and employee housing. Deleting that portion changes the whole tone and meaning of my initial post. it is disappointing that Tyler Hanley and his editors seem to cut at will without any connection the the rules that we are supposed to follow.


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Posted by Agree with Bob
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 3, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Too Much,

Don't blame Tyler - overediting only began recently. I'm guessing it's not his choice but management who is insisting on overediting, most likely due to public pressure. Realize too that sometimes postings or words are completely pulled without noting in brackets that they were edited out. In the past, we'd see every bracket whenever something was edited out.


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Posted by Michele
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 3, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Wow, what a grouchy bunch! I am glad Trader Joe's is coming. Town and Country is getting ruined by too many upscale stores with astronomical prices. This will be a great addition to the mall.


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Posted by Paly student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 3, 2009 at 5:27 pm

The first 2 days that the new stoplight was on i have been getting tardies to my first period class. When you are going west down embarcadero,the left hand turn lane to go to Paly turns green for all of 7 seconds, only 7 cars get through, 8 if you count the extra person running the red light, which almost alway happens... And when school is in session, the light turn green for the 'ghost' cars to leave the Paly parking lot. C'mon now, lets put some inductive loop's in the ground and make the left had turn light loooooonger! (when cars are present)

Thanks!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 3, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Paly student -

7 cars was a good one, I've mostly seen only 4-5 make it thru!


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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 3, 2009 at 6:43 pm


Great that TJs is finally here in PA

This gives us a choice of healthy food and provides healthy competition on price and quality to other PA stores

We feel opening on Saturday would be good, but Friday is OK, as long as it is before Christmas
Is there a shuttle bus that goes there for those who are on fixed income?
They would benefit from that


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bridget
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 3, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Awesome!!! A decent market in Palo Alto with great prices!!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2009 at 8:03 pm

I would hardly call TJs decent, but I do agree that they have some good products.

TJs have a poor selection of meat and the staff are very unknowledgable about helping you select a specific cut for a specific purpose.

They are hardly a full service grocery store as on the few occasions I have gone there to do my weekly shopping, I have always had to stop off somewhere else for something they didn't carry and Piazzas or Safeway would have, and I am not talking about hard to find items or gourmet items.

We definitely need a decent full service supermarket in Palo Alto.


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Posted by full service or bust
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 3, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Someone has consistently complained on this board that there is no perfect, "full service" grocery store in Palo Alto.

I've never known anyone who does all their food shopping at one store.

It will never happen that the best coffee shop, deli, sit-down restaurant, butcher, fish and poultry house, bakery, produce shop and staples/canned goods store will be found in one store. The business model in which competitors can use efficiency to their advantage prevents this.

The lack of such a mythical beast is irrelevant to the quality of a grocery store for what it does. You don't criticize a baby clothes store because it doesn't have clothes for extra-large men. It makes equal sense to criticize Trader Joe's for not being a butcher.


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Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 3, 2009 at 10:02 pm

People are complaining about traffic, but, the store will save a lot of car miles driven through Palo Alto as well. I, for example, will be able to stop at T&C instead of continuing on to Menlo Park. Since M.P. and Mtn View already have TJ's, most of the business will be PA residents, and I'm guessing that there will be a net drop in car miles driven through Palo Alto compared to now.


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Posted by PalyJunior
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 3, 2009 at 11:09 pm

The new light system is ineffective (the three series of lights on Embarcadero). In my opinion, the crosswalk light for us students is redundant. That light should be taken out and the crosswalk closed and blocked off (so nobody jaywalks and gets hurt). Instead, a crosswalk should be built for students at the intersection where the new light was installed so that students can just cross from there into T&C.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Free the Press
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Dec 4, 2009 at 1:09 am

"Don't blame Tyler - overediting only began recently. I'm guessing it's not his choice but management who is insisting on overediting, most likely due to public pressure. Realize too that sometimes postings or words are completely pulled without noting in brackets that they were edited out. In the past, we'd see every bracket whenever something was edited out."

Don't blame Tyler; blame the Weekly Publisher, Bill Johnson; we have a Quaker Publisher in our midst.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2009 at 8:46 am

Actually, all I want is the same as the grocery stores in Redwood City, Menlo Park, Mountain View, without having to drive out of town to get them.

I particularly like the Safeway in Redwood City, several different food to go options, great deli and wine department, bakery, butcher, and a starbucks all inside the same store with somewhere to sit and eat before shopping. Great idea.


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Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 4, 2009 at 8:58 am

Resident--I agree with you--that is what I want, however it will never happen in Palo Alto. The negative NIMBYists will see that it never happens. our nitpicking city commissions (P&T, ARB etc) will never be satisfied. Plus no large corporation will want to deal with the PA nonsense (no new net car trips, housing for workers) that is demanded by our clueless city council. Why build in Palo Alto, when you can build on the borders and suck off PA tax revenue to neighboring cities (this is not just with grocery stores, but all retail). I am sure Mountain View and Menlo Park love our city's methods


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Posted by PABiker
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2009 at 9:22 am

I am so excited about TJ's coming to Palo Alto. I used to drive to Menlo Park to shop. This is one less trip at least once a week that I will have to make. That adds up. For me, this is a really good thing. I also would have liked to attend the grand opening. Saturday makes sense. Welcome to PA TJ's!!!


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Posted by Gigi
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 4, 2009 at 10:06 am

I am happy to have a new TJs in Palo Alto. I think they have great food that I can't get anywhere else, great customer service and great prices!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ada
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 4, 2009 at 11:04 am

Thank goodness Trader Joe is coming to Palo Alto! All those wondering what "Trader Joe's done to ensure that there will be no new traffic in Palo Alto" - hopefully one day realize that by such demands they only create redtape and bureaucracy and unnecessary burden on business.


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Posted by Shawn
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 4, 2009 at 11:05 am

Glad to see a Trader Joe's that I can easily bike to from the path behind the shopping center. I second Sarah on the hope that they put in good bike racks nest to the store.


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Posted by Ocean lover
a resident of Ventura
on Dec 4, 2009 at 11:33 am

I hope our community lets TJ know we want them to change their procurement policies to support sustainability.

Less imports, less styrofoam-packaged produce, and please stop harvesting endangered fish!

Use the respected guide from Monterey Bay Aquarium in your fish purchasing decisions.
More information: www.traitorjoe.com


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 4, 2009 at 11:39 am

Great to have a Trader Joe's in PA...but it remains to be seen if the added congestion (inside T&C and on Embarcadero) is really worth it. The new stop light has not helped the traffic flow in my opinion...and it is nearly impossible to find a parking spot in T&C, especially on Saturday. T&C is great and I am glad to see businesses doing well, but I question the foresight in adding a big grocery store into an already crowded shopping center that only has access in and out on two sides.


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Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 4, 2009 at 11:52 am

I am not sure why we needed a stop light anyway. The city's philosophy, according to certain council members, is that new businesses will not add any new net car trips to the city. If the new Trader Joe's cannot adhere to this mandate, then the council should shut them down. the council also needs to not be hypocritical and cancel there Destination Palo Alto campaign--visitors come by car and add traffic to the city.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by It's pat
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 4, 2009 at 1:03 pm

This is great, Now I have more options to stay away from Safeway.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Happy to have TJs
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 4, 2009 at 1:28 pm

What in the world would we do without something to complain about???

I am happy to have Trader Joe's in Palo Alto!!! There was PLENTY of parking and the light worked just fine - even though I was leaving at the beginning of Paly's lunch.

Why is it that Palo Alto is so full of glass-half-empty people? Let's give the shopping center, Trade Joe's, and the city a chance to work out any kinks - and be happy we are keeping more tax dollars in Palo Alto!! If the light needs some modification during the Paly morning high traffic period, I am sure it will be adjusted. Give people a chance!!


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 4, 2009 at 1:44 pm

It's a little confusing, but I noticed several traffic issues at this intersection today. I am pleased TJs is located there but...

As I drove down Embarcadero from ECR towards 101 and passing Paly on my right side, I had a green light at the new stoplight. But, while the next light at the crosswalk was green, I couldn't move forward as there was no space UNLESS I blocked the intersection at Paly. I needed to keep the intersection clear (Paly and T & Country) in case the light changed red (it did, shortly). I am SURE some people are going to press forward (in rush hour, for example) and block that intersection so other cars won't be able to drive out from Paly, those cars won't be able to make a left turn onto Embarcadero towards ECR (a new scheme for Paly drivers and a nice idea but...), and the situation making a right turn out of Paly will be as it was previously, sometimes at a standstill.

I think the city should immediately write "KEEP INTERSECTION CLEAR" on the road in big white letters.

I hate to also have to report this, but hordes of students crossed at the crosswalk even though the light for cars was on green. The students did NOT have the right of way. They did this because the other direction from me (coming from 101) was blocked entirely by cars all along (all on green in the vicinity but perhaps backed up from a red light at ECR?), and those cars were stopped in front of the student crosswalk, but they weren't stopped on a red. On my side, cars were forced to stop to let the bunches of students get across safely -- this despite what I wrote above -- they were on a green light, and I think this is what forced ME to stop so I didn't block the Paly entrance/intersection!

Something may have to be modified here.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bring Business to P.A.
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2009 at 2:04 pm

I'm surprised that there isn't more enthusiasm about new business in Palo Alto. We keep building condos which not only lead to traffic problems but also overcrowded schools. We need the tax revenue that business brings without adding to our costs.


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Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 4, 2009 at 2:18 pm

I've been hoping for a Trader Joe's in Palo Alto for years, and it is my primary grocery store, but frankly their business model of always being in shopping centers makes me crazy.

Their lot in Menlo Park is tiny and adjacent to so many businesses that's it's often hard to find parking, particularly around holidays.

Today I needed to get milk and a couple other things and was down near the Mtn. View store, but wasted close to 10 minutes trying to find parking because of all the holiday shoppers and then I ended up parking up close to Sears.

I can't see that the new store in T&C, which has always been a parking and navigational nightmare, is going to fix any of this.

I continue to mourn the fact they didn't move into the old Co-Op in midtown or the Alma Plaza when the opportunities presented themselves.

These would have been far superior locations/parking scenarios to what we now have: three Trader Joe's all with miserable parking situations.

I suppose I should expect no more from a company that has the artful knack of discontinuing almost every specialty item that I fall in love with.

Can you tell I'm developing a passionate love/hate relationship with TJ's?


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 4, 2009 at 2:58 pm

The NIMBYs whine about everything. Just ignore them and enjoy our city. I'm planing on riding my bicycle to Trader Joes. There's a great bike path that goes directly there from both downtown (via the Homer Street tunnel) and from the California Avenue area.


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Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Dec 4, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Elizabeth,

Perhaps you don't understand the TJ business model -- limited selection, frequent changes in merchandise, unbranded, low price, perceived high quality or value. They use this philosophy to generate high customer loyalty.

With stores in Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and Mountain View, customers can self-regulate the parking situation but spreading themselves out among 3 stores rather than 2. The increased density of stores will increase the number of people who can walk or bike to the stores.
Look at the number of people who walk to the Whole Foods store in Palo Alto.


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Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 4, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Yes, but look at the beautiful LARGE Whole Foods they built at the Los Altos, Mountain View, Palo Alto border--big store, large selection, underground parking. Think they could have built that in Palo Alto--no way--not with our obstructionist city council, NIMBYists whining about anything that may discomfort them and our petty, power game playing commissions.


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Posted by Paly teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 4, 2009 at 3:45 pm

The traffic situation for getting into Paly is terrible. The signals have made the situation impossible. Parents are lined up for blocks in the morning trying to make a left turn. Drivers cannot get out of the parking lot after school for more than half an hour. What were the traffic engineers thinking? Something needs to be done quickly and no one can blame Trader Joe's because the traffic was like this before it was opened today.


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 4, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Doesn't the bike path to T&C also go to Paly? Leave your car at home. Palo Alto's climate and terrain are perfect for year-round bicycling.


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Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 4, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Bicycling may be good, but only a few neighborhoods are close enough to bicycle to T&C. ANyway, what if buy a lot of groceries, how do you get them back. If you think about it, the only reason this remodel of T&C and the opening of Trader Joe's was allowed to occur was the lack of NIMBYists living in close proximity to the center--think of Alma Plaza. (speaking of Alma Plaza, I hear many of the neighbors are upset there is a christmas tree lot in the parking area now--they are upset because they worked hard to keep the place undeveloped so that there would not be any noise or traffic)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John Squire, Weekly reporter
a resident of another community
on Dec 4, 2009 at 4:02 pm

RE: Bicycle parking

According to Jason Jacob, store manager, there are four racks for parking bikes in the rear of Trader Joe's and four in the front.


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 4, 2009 at 5:57 pm

I'm guessing that most of the population of Palo Alto is within easy biking distance (say 3 miles) of either the Trader Joes at T&C or the Trader Joes in Mountain View. And you might be surprised how much stuff you can carry in those bicycle messenger bags.

The biggest problem with shopping by bicycle is making sure your bicycle is not stolen when you are in the store. Hiding the bike racks behind the store is a really bad idea.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2009 at 6:53 pm

I understand that TJs was the place for Paly kids today!!!


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Posted by I do not bike
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 4, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Bill-- you really think people will bike 3 miles and then lug their groceries home by bike. Get real check out the parking lots at menlo park safeway or any grocery store. People drive to shop. You have been listening to yorikos propaganda too much.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Did my weekly grocery trip today (to Mountain View) for my family of 5 including teenage boys. My $200 worth of groceries could only fit in my trunk when I put the back seat down. This pile of groceries could barely fit in the cart when bagged, although before the checkout they did fit fine.

This of course was to a grocery store with a full selection of items.

:)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by I do not bike
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 4, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Resident- you could have made 5 or 6 bike trips to a local small limited product grocery store instead. That way you would have made yoriko happy while supporting our local economy


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 4, 2009 at 10:27 pm

You know that the NIMBYs are going to kill any major new road or parking construction projects. If you want to get around easily using the existing roads, a bike is a great way to do it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Irvin
a resident of University South
on Dec 5, 2009 at 1:08 pm

on the first comment - a bike rack question, yet about 3 or 4 U hitches are on the entrance facing Paly. However, all were filled with 2 bikes each when I arrived Friday, and lots of bikes were locked to nothing, so they clearly could use more bike parking - good question!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 5, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Bike parking is much much cheaper than car parking. Hopefully, the store will wise up and install more of what their customers need.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Becky
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 6, 2009 at 10:10 am

Too much traffic: Palo Alto might as well shut down all it's pathetic retail outlets if they can't build without creating more traffic.

Traffic is good for retail.


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Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 6, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Becky, I agree with you. Diane Diamond had it right in her op-ed last week. The city wants tourists, retail, businesses, hotels and a large Stanford Shopping Center and they are pushing the Destination Palo Alto thing. Yet, we have elected officials who continue to whine about too much traffic and claim that businesses should adhere to some misguided city "philosophy" of no new net car trips. It seems hypocritical to me wanting tax revenue visitors, shoppers etc but constantly whining about traffic.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 7, 2009 at 8:07 am

We are glad TJ is in Palo Alto.

But the new light is a disaster. It needs to be green longer. And the cross traffic coming out of T&C needs to be addressed.


Unless...was the plan to increase congestion in order to promote non-car options?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Happy TJs is here ... but ...
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 7, 2009 at 11:44 am

I'm thrilled to have a Trader Joe's in Palo Alto. But driving on Embarcadero is a disaster since the new light was put it. It's apparently without a demand switch -- it just goes through the exact same cycle all day (and all night), regardless of the traffic.

This has caused huge messes on El Camino, when cars turning left onto Embarcadero eastbound have nowhere to go. On Friday, an AC Transit bus blocked the El Camino part of the intersection for at least 2 changes of the light on El Camino itself. I thought I was in Manhattan for a few minutes there, based on the chorus of car horns that was sounding.

The three lights don't appear to be timed at all to work together, either to keep the traffic flowing on Embarcadero or on El Camino. It's too bad the pedestrian light wasn't somehow combined with the new light for the T&C/Paly entrances.

The current traffic flow isn't working.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 7, 2009 at 3:14 pm

I suspect that the controller isn't finished yet. Eventually it should be triggered on demand and coordinated with the signal at El Camino, but that requires Caltrans to be involved and may take some time. The pedestrian crossing was kept at its current location to keep pedestrians away from turning traffic and so they don't have to walk through and across the main car lanes at the parking lots.

Town and Country avoided having to do a complete traffic analysis by spreading out their changes incrementally over several years, with each change being small enough to fall below the threshold requiring a traffic analysis. The net change has been substantial, though. If you want to blame somebody for this, it is the Town and Country owners who hoodwinked the city and snuck around the requirements.


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Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 7, 2009 at 5:01 pm

I went to the new TJ's on Saturday a.m., and like a dummy stood there under the big overhang facing TJ's west parking lot (toward T&C itself) waiting for a door to open someplace - to no avail. Then I realized that the real and very small entrance is around the corner on the south side along El Camino. Another entrance is at the north side parking lot which wasn't working until somebody flipped a switch. The big prominent line of doors which looks like an entrance is really only multiple exits. The overhang is all open to the weather. But it is a beautiful store once you find out how to get inside. The other problem is getting into and out of T & C.


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