Thursday, July 26, 2012

CityTarget - a Transportation Near-Miss

Target opened its brand new store in downtown Seattle yesterday, and to my surprise the story in the Seattle Times included this little piece of data:

Seattle CityTarget
By the numbers
96,000: Square feet
185: Parking stalls
2: Bike racks (for 22 bikes)
300: Employees
400: Shopping carts
3: Floors
Source: Target
So naturally I hopped on my bike and rode downtown to check it out. At first I was disappointed.  The only bike rack in front of the store was one installed by the city long ago. The sign posted at the front of the store showed the location of the car parking garage, but there was nothing about bikes.  I locked my bike to the rack and went into the store.  One of their red-shirted employees directed me to the parking garage, and sure enough, on the main floor right near the entrance were two nice, perfectly empty bike racks:
I went back outside to check out the entrance to the parking garage.  Not too much of a grade, looks pretty easy to get into with a bike.  But how would I know the bike parking was there, if I hadn't read the story in the Times?
When you're riding a bike, you tend to look around at eye level and below.  You're looking at the vehicles around you, and watching for potholes and tire-trapping  cracks.  You don't usually look up.  When I finally did look up, this is what I saw: 
The sign over the garage entrance has a big bike icon, just as big as the parking icon!  If a similar icon were added to this eye-level sign at the front entrance, I would have known right away where to park my bike.
When I got home I checked the Target website.  Surely with a name like "CityTarget," and a big bike icon on the parking garage, the website would give biking, transit and walking directions!  Sadly, I was wrong.  There's a nice "Directions" feature, but it gives nothing but driving directions.  Not even a hint that there are dozens of buses and a Light Rail station within a couple of blocks.
Thanks, Target, for providing bike parking and attempting to make it easy to find; a couple eye-level icons will fix that.  But please fix the Directions on your website.  In downtown Seattle, driving is not the best way to get around.

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