With the pending closure of the Starbucks at 22nd & Madison, we’ll soon be left with a string of vacant storefronts there next to Safeway along Madison St.
Our friend Andrew has a theory: businesses would have a better chance of taking root there if parking was available on the street in front of them. He’s proposing that we work together as a neighborhood to get the city to remove the no-parking signs on that side of the street.
He’s even set up a survey to get your thoughts and ideas on the topic. Click here to help fill it out.
If they did’nt charge $7 for a cup of coffee they might still be in business…..
They now charge $7 !!! Finally they raised there prices! Good, I felt I had been ripping them off all these years.
The 11 goes through there, and I believe Metro will push back to keep Madison 2 lanes through that stretch. I have a hard time believing, given the population density in the immediate neighborhood and the number of people complaining about high gas prices (and for that matter the significant increase in transit riders and cyclists I see every day) that adding a handful of street parking spaces is going to make much difference.
The myth of “parking drives retail” is probably true in Mukilteo. If we’re arguing that it’s still true in one of the denser neighborhoods in the city, that’s pretty sad.
When I first moved to Miller Park I frequented The Fargonian. I was pleased with the transformation to The Bottleneck Lounge, but miss having a place to go sip coffee on Sunday morning, and play a round of checkers. I’d like a cozy cafe that is not connected to Safeway and where they encourage you to lounge. I now go out of my neighborhood to Bauhaus, Cherry St. or Zeitgeist to get this environment. For once, please, let it be in my back yard.
A lot of us love Tougo’s on 18th just a few doors north of Union (across from TT Minor). It’s open something like 6 am to 7 pm most days, and 7-6 or so on Sundays. Try it!
I think there’s a chance that parking would improve the pedestrian environment by putting an additional barrier between the sidewalk and the cars that go racing down the hill on Madison.
See my Miller blog post http://tinyurl.com/5zudua) : parking is allowed at some time of the day on the other side of that block (where there is a # 11 stop) and on both sides of the adjacent blocks, so the #11 argument might be hard to make.
I’ve been going to Tougo for well over a year and must recommend them highly. I’ve gotten to know the owners, Brian and Mika, and can vouch for their friendly, community-oriented vibe and their delicious coffee. I’ve met so many wonderful people in our neighborhood from my visits there and I don’t think I’d feel nearly half the connection to my community without it. It’s really a shining example of what a small business can provide for a community.
While I am a regular at Tougo’s and totally agree with all the nice comments, there should enough demand for a coffee shop around the 22nd and Madison area to succeed. Remember that Madison Market also has a small coffee area.
Is Safeway an adequate anchor? Both Madison Market and Trader Joe’s seem busier than Safeway, especially if I think per square foot of store. But, I do not have any numbers to prove this. If the Safeway is doing well, other businesses similar to the ones around the QFC at E.Union and Broadway would perhaps make sense. People could run several errands at one time. The parking is available, but not necessarily obvious.
While it is understandable that the project did not design doors on 23rd, the windowless wall is undesirable. The approach from the west is more attractive. But, I don’t know if this makes a difference for the businesses, but it it definitely affects the ambiance along 23rd.
I go there on my way home a lot. There is always parking in the block before, on the side street or in the safeway. I also often have to get through that intersection of Madison and 23rd heading east. Can’t imagine parked cars when you would then have craziness of the left turn only lane and right turn.
Betcha the new buildings, including the one across 23rd, will give a boost to all the buildings. That Safeway is not very nice. Were I to do more then run in and out asap, a coffee shop with an really obvious entrance right inside the Safeway as well as an entrance on the street would probably get a lot more business.
The Starbucks delivered to the apartments upstairs which was pretty neat for them. Hope a non-chain coffee shop moves in somewhere, but I think further away from 23rd on Madison would be more friendly. There are many other kinds of businesses that we still need.
I am going to have to try it! I must admit, I don’t venture anywhere near Union because of the hype. The media has scared me out of there. I’ve never been to the Central Cinema either and that’s a shame. Thanks!
Yes, Scott, you’re right, in general parked cars can serve as a buffer to help improve the pedestrian environment. And, Andrew, no, I didn’t know there was time-limited parking on the other side of Madison – presumably one of these “no parking during ‘rush hour'” arrangements?
That whole project was so poorly designed to begin with, right up to the lot line and all, with that awful blank space all the way down 23rd…I dunno. Given the amount of residential that’s already there, will a few parked cars be the difference to get people walking to businesses in that block of Madison?
i live right above this starbucks. Someone brought up the bottleneck – theres no parking around there either but it seems to be doing alright. And during the day the starbucks seemed to be doing ok as well – i am actually disappointed to see it go even though I dont drink coffee… I really doubt adding a few parking spots is going to change much. Its not like safeway parking isnt RIGHT around the corner or anything…
(as posted on the Miller blog: Jim’s developing @ 23/Union and both sides of 22/Madison)
Jim Mueller here. I thought I would give some clarity to my comments on street-front parking.
First, our new project efforts only succeed if there is cool, successful retail on the street (Boom Noodle on Pike is a good example). That’s what makes a location attractive to new residents (and to you cool current residents in the neighborhood).
Parking on the street in front of retail creates the impression that it is possible to park there, making the destination attractive to drivers regardless of actual available stalls right there. Much more importantly, the cars parked on the street make the sidewalk seem safe, and if you will, cozy for pedestrians. The issue is one of human psychology, not really one of parking spaces, surprisingly enough. If you interview retailers whose stores are on streets that have onstreet parking part of the day only, you will find that even though most of their customers are pedestrians, their business drops during the times the parking goes away because the pedestrian environment becomes unfriendly.
A bus stop, such as the one in front of the retail on the S. Side of Madison makes the situation worse, as a bus stop directly in front of a store tends to have a chilling effect on the retail. Interestingly, streetcar stops seem to have the opposite effect, a subject that is too lengthy for this blog.
If the goal is to make the sidewalk more inviting for walkers, then let’s do that without adding parking spaces. I for one would not be involved in asking the city to add parking, when we know that good transit-efficient development involves less parking spaces, not more.
If narrowing the traffic lanes is OK then widening the very narrow sidewalk could be a nicer solution than car parking spots. Right now it is not very pleasant to walk along that stretch because the car traffic is right on your heels. Widen the sidewalk and install bike racks. More people on the street is what drives retail. Foot traffic in front of a location is what drives it’s desirability for businesses. Once the new buildings are built across the street and down the block there will be plenty of people to support retail shops there. It will be harder to attract people there if it feels like you are walking alongside a freeway.
I drove by there twice today, eastbound, and I could not see any no parking signs beside Safeway on Madison between the bus stop and the east end of the building. I did have other cars on my tail, so I couldn’t look as easily as I had hoped, but I did not see them. (Didn’t try parking there to test it).
When the building across 23rd goes up (in the Denny, 23rd, Madison triangle west of Crush), they will have retail shops looking for parking spaces too, so there may be increasing competition from there.
But we’re supposed to be walking or biking anyway, so unless you’re buying lots of groceries to carry, in which case you can park at Safeway, it seems to me the increase in pedestrian-friendly sidewalks is the real issue. And maybe the bus stop could be moved.
No Parking (anytime) signs are there: I walked the whole area before I posted anything. I’ve got pictures!
Agree about desire to walk/bike, but my theory was that people DO still drive and that if we can capture those people, we can get stores that we might be able to support otherwise. Mueller’s argument that a line of parked cars makes pedestrians happier also seems plausible.
I’m curious – did the owner of the safeway building consult w/ Starbucks on what it would take to make them stay?
Starbucks has a pretty good idea on what drives traffic…I have to believe there would be some value in asking their advice, at least.
I shop a lot of neighborhood places, but starbucks does some good things too sometimes, and this might be one case they would step up a bit.
Why cant safeway/starbucks pay the owner of the lot behind Twilite to let cars park there in the day-time – that wont deprive the bar of a lot of spots…? It seems like a waste of valuable real estate, and a plus for each sides involved.