The new Trader Joe’s on University and Martin Luther King will open on June 11, but be prepared to walk rather than drive.
The new store only has 48 parking spaces, and the city council, wary of squeezing out spaces used by nearby residents, voted this week to severely limit street parking in the area.
Shoppers frequenting the popular chain may have to search for parking spaces – and walk further than they might like – because the city is restricting parking on four streets near Trader Joe’s – Berkeley Way, Addison, Bonita, and Grant.
On those streets, people without residential parking permits will only be allowed to park on one side of the street. Those with permits can park on both sides of the street.
The restrictions will be in place from 8 am to 6 pm Monday through Saturday.
“Forty-eight parking spaces is probably not sufficient to absorb all the demand,” said Farid Javendel, the transportation manager for the city of Berkeley. “There is some expectation there will be some impact on the neighborhood.”
Patrons of the North Berkeley Senior Center, located nearby at Hearst and Martin Luther King, are worried that shoppers at Trader Joe’s will worsen an already difficult parking situation. Hundreds of seniors come to the center each day for meals, programs, and field trips, and the city routinely holds meetings there in the evening. The center has a small parking lot in the back, which fills up quickly. Seniors can buy a $1 permit that allows them to leave their cars on the street all day, but parking can be difficult.
“It’s bad enough now,” said Allen Stross, a member of the Berkeley Commission on Aging. “It is going to be worse when Trader Joe’s opens.”
While the store does not have much dedicated parking, it is in an area frequented by many pedestrians and they may become customers, said Javendel. It’s near BART, there are numerous bus lines running by the store, and there are a lot of offices, houses, and apartments nearby. The city center complex is just a block away and Berkeley High, with about 3,200 students, is two blocks away.
It costs about $40,000 to build a parking space, said Javendel, and since the parking is on the ground floor each additional space would have cut into the store’s footprint.
On Thursday, workmen were putting final touches on the exterior of the building. Inside, workers were stocking products and getting ready for next Friday’s opening.