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Trader Joe's Parking Lot

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Hey Trader Joe’s,

This is a bit of an open letter, inspired by a recent visit to the local Trader Joe’s. I just moved to this part of Denver, and now for the first time am living within like a 3 minute scoot of a Trader Joe’s.

I know that some people like to complain about parking at TJs. (Can I call it that? Trader Joe’s -> TJ’s?)

Here’s a sampling from Reddit:

Lots of people mis-understand parking lots, and so no matter what happens, someone’s going to complain about something. I sort of love that Trader Joe’s has smallish parking lots, and would love to scheme to make them even smaller, while making the users of the parking lot and visitor’s to TJ way happier.

This is something that can be done. It is already done in certain ways around the world. Different countries have common, accepted solutions to different portions of this “parking lot problem”. I’d like to work with TJ’s to cobble together an off-the-shelf solution to all/most of the issues.

Obviously, there’s a lot of money to save, hassle to reduce, delight to be had, money to be made, by better managing business-critical capital, and parking lots are critical to the functioning of businesses.

Lets talk about it.

Email me, we can email/phone/IRL discuss it.


- Josh

Tiktok footage of a local TJ’s parking lot #

Here’s footage to whet the appetite.

Sometimes embeds show up strangely, so here’s direct links. I recommend clicking both:

  1. timelaps overhead shot (one)
  2. timelapse overhead shot(two)
@josh_exists lots to appreciate here. the audio is great I have thoughts on parking lots. I see them as hidden sources of abundance, currently not allowed to function as well as they might. a little love goes a long way. #fyp #dji #traderjoes #toyota #ford #denver #colorado #timelapse #carlessdriver #driverlesscar ♬ Final Speech - From "The Great Dictator" - Charlie Chaplin
@josh_exists I'm gonna send this to someone at trader Joe's. I'll explain the book 'the high cost of free parking'. #traderjoes #parking #drone #dji #timelapse #denver #colorado #freeparkingisnt ♬ original sound - josh

Online comments about Trader Joe’s parking lots #

Here’s what some online commentors have said about the parking lot:

I stopped going to Trader Joe’s weekly because of the parking lot situation. I knew it was only a matter of time that I would forced to murder someone in a Prius over a parking spot.

I drive past mine somewhat often and only go about once a month when I see it’s emptyish. Tend to buy more and go less frequently

I live equal distance from two Trader Joe’s. The parking lots are decent compared to the one in Sherman Oaks. One of the local Trader Joe’s has a security guard who will assist the elderly getting out of the parking spots. That makes me return to that specific location.

I drive to a TJ further away because that one has more parking. The closer one is in an extremely dense neighborhood, and there is no guarantee you will ever park anywhere close to it.

source, reddit

what managing a parking lot skillfully looks like #

Properly managed, a parking lot will always have about 10% capacity available. This means someone wanting to quickly enter, dash inside, and leave, will be able to do so.

Ensuring availability means using price/cost to mediate demand.

Donald Shoup wrote a book The High Cost of Free Parking, and has a standard recommendation for fixing parking. It would be preferable of american municipal planners properly managed on-street parking, but they don’t, so you, TJ’s, with a bit of my help, have to make up the difference.

Donald Shoup says:

  1. charge appropriately for on-street and off-street parking
  2. Spend the collected money exactly where it’s being collected
  3. Remove parking minimums

TJ’s is obviously operating with different constraints than municipal planners, and I appreciate and can accommodate that. There’s plenty of improvement to be had, and TJ’s is in a better position to make this change than nearly anyone, because:

  1. car-heavy user base
  2. very busy stores
  3. limited parking

Other Reading #

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