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BREAKING NEWS — Break Out the Three Buck Chuck: Clarendon Trader Joe’s Close to a Reality

by ARLnow.com September 14, 2010 at 5:02 am 14,647 122 Comments

It has been a persistent rumor, but now it’s close to coming true. Trader Joe’s is in the late stages of negotiations to come to a 10,000 square foot space in the nearly-completed Clarendon Center project, according to two people who attended a Lyon Village Civic Association meeting last night.

The store is nearly a done deal, we’re told, except for one big hurdle. Trader Joe’s has said it will only move to the space if Arlington County amends the Clarendon Center site plan to allow reserved parking spots in the building’s parking garage.

As the site plan stands right now, the garage will be open to anybody who wants to park there, whether they’re going to a Clarendon Center store or to a restaurant across the street. It’s a provision that the county desired, but Trader Joe’s fears that there won’t be enough parking left for its customers.

A site plan amendment is expected to be filed on Friday. The matter would likely go before the county board in November. (Update: See county board chairman Jay Fisette’s comments about Trader Joe’s here.)

The 10,000 square foot Clarendon Trader Joe’s would be of average size for the chain. It would be nearly 2,000 square feet smaller than the Alexandria Trader Joe’s.

At last night’s meeting, some Lyon Village residents expressed concern that parking for Trader Joe’s will spill over into nearby neighborhoods. Most residents, however, were supportive of the long-awaited grocery store, we’re told.

Also at the meeting, Clarendon Center’s developer revealed that each building is on track to open on schedule, before the end of the year. The south building is expected to deliver in November and the north building — future home of a number of new restaurants — is expected to deliver a month later, in December.

Hat tip to J.B.

  • Sunny617

    A Trader Joe’s in walking distance of my apt? Yes Yes Yes!!!!

    • MrCar

      Walking ? Didn’t you hear ? They will have reserve parking for Trader Joes. You may as well drive if they are going to reserve a space for you.

      • LP

        Typical American response – drive when you can walk.

        • MrCar

          You Betcha ! Walking is OK, but if someone is going to reserve a space and especially if it is FREE, then why not take the wheels out? Nice comfy seat, AC in summer, Heat in Winter, Shelter from the rain, Tunes, Phone.. how can you help but love your car ? When you love something, you want to be with it all the time. I think I need to go give my baby a kiss right now.

        • charlie

          walk vs. not walk. it is quite a problem. if i walk, i MUST have plastic bags because the handles on the paper bags last long enough to get from the register to the car. not even from the car into the house. and i can never remember my recyclable bags. but the paper bags just don’t last very long.

        • Jim

          LP, it’s nice when you are able to walk. I used to enjoy it. For some of us old folks, it’s no longer an option.

          • LP

            Jim- Completely agree, however the original poster seems to think that just because there are parking spaces, we should drive. We should walk when possible and safe the spaces for people who can’t walk or have to drive.

          • MrCar

            LP – I get your point – save the free, available spaces in the most desireable part of town for those that really need them. It’s noble, really. It’s just that if Bocatto Gelatto is giving away free gellato’s and I have a slight bit of room left in my belly, I think I’d have a hard time resisting. And, I love, love, LOVE free parking even more than Gelatto. Who doesn’t ?

        • Let’s Be Free

          Ya, sure, tell me how I’m going to walk to a store to do my grocery shopping for my family of five. I’m not an Ox.

          Arlington is filled with naval gazing narcissists who have no conception of how ordinary American families live. I can’t wait for the day when I am able to move where there are real people with real familes with a real sense of community who don’t try to shove their personal preferences and lifestyle choices down others’ throats.

          • Actually, “Let’s Be Free,” you live in a representative democracy under a Federalist structure of government. Specifically, that means tax subsidies on the local level, together with ordinances and other influences, are subject to the collective wills and lifestyles of people down to the very local level.

            If you don’t fit in (thus cparticipate in this collective value system that discourages driving unless necessary), then there’s that gigantic other part of “America” where “ordinary people live.” Feel free to move there instead.

          • MB

            Or, you know, if TJ’s really thinks cars are so necessary to its location, they could approach the folks owning the parcel at the corner of Washington Blvd & 10th (the old CVS/Thai place (or even ollllder mini-golf location)). Those condos have been coming since what, fall 2007? Something tells me the owner would be happy to be rid of that property . . .

            I suspect, however, that TJ’s values the high foot/Metro-based traffic more than it does the better parking that the 10th & Washington Blvd proposal would enable. In any event, the biggest losers if TJ gets to reserve the parking are its neighboring businesses, whose customers would otherwise have access to those spaces. I imagine they’ll have something to say about it.

          • Let’s Be Free

            I spend a very small part of my life in privately owned motorized vehicles. To devote significant time and resources or to devote every political and personal planning process to reducing that small slice yet further would be an obsession that borders on insanity, an excercise for the mentally unbalanced. I’m not signing up for the funny farm.

            The irony of all this anti-car mania is that it has driven decent grocery shopping for families (and much other ordinary retail) out of the County so we end up driving further than is necessary just to conduct our daily lives, very ordinary lives that are not in accordance with the elitist wishes of political thugs like Paul and his political heroes like Chris Zimmerman and Jay Fisette. What a crowd!

          • mrm

            One would think people are being forced to walk or drive. Parking will be available for those who would utilize it according to one’s needs and personal circumstances. Same goes for walking, according to one’s needs and personal circumstances. Parking is a need, and while it would not be on the scale of say, a similar store in Manassas or Faifax, it’ll still be available.
            There are also other grocery shopping options in the area. Harris Teeter in Ballston, Giant on Washington Blvd and Monroe, Safeway on Rt 29 in Cherrydale. All with parking, and some within walking distance of the residents that live near them. Get over yourselves and get off the soap box. Someone needs that soap. LOL

        • TGEoA

          Move to Europe where the rest of the anti-American douchebags live.

  • MB

    Great. Because what that area needs is more traffic turning into/out of garages. It’ll double the fun of the Whole Foods/Starbucks Vortex of Idiocy just down the street.

    • Skeptical

      Second that comment. I’d love to have a Trader Joe’s closer to me and with less chaotic parking than the cluster**** at Bailey’s. But getting into and out of Clarendon is no improvement. You might as well go straight to downtown DC. TJ’s will have its built-in clientele, for sure, but it doesn’t do people who live in any other part of Arlington a damn bit of good. When will our Urban Planning Idiots and the retailers who deal with them figure out that jamming everything into the streets that parallel the Orange Line serves only the people who live right on top of the Orange Line? I guess the rest of us can just go stuff ourselves.

      • anon

        The rest of you can stay in your car and drive the extra 10-15 minutes to Bailey’s or Foggy Bottom.

        Orange Line corridor has 10s of thousands of residents – that’s why retailers and Urban Planners cater to them. Arlington’s love of centering development around public transportation is not a secret, learn to like it or leave.

        • Skeptical

          Oh, another “like it or leave” prince. After living here for over fifty years, I just love being told that every time I point out that Arlington seems to be forgetting the people who built the community and have paid taxes into it for longer than most residents of the Metro corridor have been alive.

          I live close to Columbia Pike, and the only supermarket in handy distance of three or four well-populated voting precincts is a one-off place that smells like dirty diapers. I guess we’ll have to wait until Zimmerman’s trolley goes in before our neck of the woods is considered deserving of anything more desirable.

          • anon

            I’m a realist. Your statement is true, but this trend of development has been going on for 20+ years, why would it suddenly change?

            Your Giant is getting remodeled so stop whining about grocery stores. And if you live close to Columbia Pike this new TJs would be, at best, marginally closer. Most parking lots in the metro area are a mess, would you really drive farther for a slightly less chaotic parking lot?!

          • Frog

            There’s nothing on the County government end that would stop a Trader Joe’s from going in to Columbia Pike. Trader Joe’s goes in to areas with extremely high incomes, which the area around Columbia Pike does not have, at least relative to the rest of Arlington.

            In addition, you think the traffic around Clarendon is as bad as DC or Bailey’s Xroads? Really?

          • Josh S

            Actually, the whole “I’ve lived here for 50 years” argument is pretty whiny, too. As if your age or time in residence gives you more importance somehow to making decisions in a democracy. Sorry, bud, it don’t. As others have pointed out, somehow trying to argue about how terrible the R-B corridor is rather illogical given how A) crowded it is, B) how expensive it is to live there, C) how many businesses continue to want to locate there and D) the fact the development there continues apace, despite downturns elsewhere. It may not be your cup of tea, which is fine, but clearly the place has a lot of very desirable elements, many of them relating directly to the fact that it DOESN’T work like a car-dependent neighborhood.

  • DK

    This is great news!

  • LIbraryLady

    Hallelujah! An alternative to shopping @ “Whole Paycheck” (aka Whole Foods) and the nasty Safeway in Rosslyn. I can’t wait until it’s open!

  • LP

    Don’t mess this up Arlington County, approve the reserved parking spots!

  • Danielle

    Please approve the parking…it would be awesome to have a Trader Joe’s there.

  • Jeff Miller

    TJ’s would be a welcome addition in Arlington. But like any grocery store, it does require a reasonable amount of parking (not everyone lives within walking distance).

    The County Board’s ongoing hostility to parking in the R-B corridor has already made life uncomfortable for residents, shoppers and local merchants. If the Board continues its inflexible policy, TJ’s will go elsewhere — to the detriment of Arlington residents who would rather shop here.

    • RB-Resident

      Yes, it’s very uncomfortable. Nobody wants to come here any more. It’s so empty. They’re all going… where are they going ?

      • Frog

        Yogi Berra: “No one goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

    • Hostility to parking? There’s a ton of parking in the R-B corridor. It’s just mostly paid parking, though much is cheap (like $1 for 3 hours in Ballston during the day and $1 flat from 6pm to midnight, or like $2 flat from 4pm to midnight in Clarendon).

  • Neighbor

    3 buck chuck? I yearn for the good old days of 2 buck chuck. Don’t let the Teabaggers catch wind of this.

    • Jack

      ah – the reason it became 3-buck over 2-buck is because of taxes and additional regulations.

      and you don’t need to be vulgar to make a point.

      • Neighbor

        Didn’t mean to offend you, but you and I certainly have different opinions of vulgarity.

        And, that’s a pretty big assumption to make on the increased cost. Are you sure it’s because of taxes and regulation? It very well could have been an increase in the cost of grapes or glass or transportation or labor or margin…and so on.

        • Jack

          “Teabaggers” is a vulgar term under all circumstances and is used to insult and degrade a group of people who’s only crime is being politically active. as a liberal and tolerate society, arlington should be leading the way in thoughtful discussion vs name calling.

          and the tax thing came from traderjoes website.

          • KateKirk

            I thought they named themselves teabaggers, either after the early colonists who revolted against tea taxes or as an acronym for Taxed Enough Already. Assuming that those who founded the movement have a cheekier intent is giving them too much credit for imagination.

          • Neighbor

            So is the “tax thing” federal or state? A 50% increase in the cost of wine is quite a hefty tax. I still don’t buy your over simplified explanation.

            Here’s an article from the NYT in 2003 talking about 3 buck chuck in Washington state. It appears to have existed for the last 7 years.

          • CadeTyler

            They did come up with the name themselves and swiftly tried to backtrack when the modern meaning was pointed out to them, but alas it is too late.

            Teabaggers they shall be for ever more.

            I teabag, You teabag. They teabag. Jack teabags. Teabag teabag.

            Finally, teabag.

          • Jack

            @CadeTyler – hate much?? you should really try to be a person of love vs. hate… you’ll live longer.

          • CadeTyler

            I’m a lover, not a fighter.
            I love my teabagging neighbors and celebrate their right to teabag wherever they may.

  • Nova

    Trader Joes should show a modicum of flexibility regarding parking spaces. There are thousands of single people who live in easy walking distance – I would guess enough to keep it busy regardless of the parking. Much more centralized than its other locations. I live 1/2 mile from Clarendon, and would walk. With that being said, Arlington, don’t screw this up! It’s a great win for the Clarendon lifestyle.

    • Clarendude

      I assume the store will close at some point (9 PM ?). If so, no matter what they do, the spaces should be available to anyone after that at least. It seems that they don’t really need to change the rules here, just apply pricing policy. I assume that is under Saul’s control. Make the spaces in the garage $7 an hour (which is still pretty cheap) and then Trader Joes could validate for their customers. Nobody but those going to TD would park there because there are tons of cheaper spaces in Clarendon. Eventually, the Olmstead building across the street will be open to park once the “agency” moves out.

      • Greg

        $7 an hour is cheap? Where are you used to parking?

        • Clarendude

          About the price of a glass of wine. And, lots of cities have such rates (http://boston.bestparking.com/index.php)

          But, main point is it could be priced above the going rate in Clarendon and then subsidized by the party that wants to reserve it (Trader Joes) and that would work for what they are trying to accomplish I think. I think $5/hour used to be the going rate at the Olmstead building when it was open to the public. The sign is is still up there inside the entry if you want to check. Basically, rates should and are set by demand. Garage empty – lower price, garage full – raise price. Some places are going to more dynamic spot pricing based on real-time utilization (similar to HOT concept) so that the market works even more efficiently.

          • david

            You can’t compare parking in Boston to parking in Clarendon – it’s not a valid comparison. I do think that you are to something though. If you make the parking slightly higher than the surrounding garages and have TJ validation then you should have plenty of spots available for customers.

          • Thes

            Clarendondude, your proposal to rely on market pricing is in fact the most efficient in theory, and if it could be done workably, I would strongly support it. However, there are potentially high information and transaction costs.
            Customers (particularly new customers in the first year or so of operation) will want a high degree of assurance that the complicated pricing scheme will in fact result in a free space, because if the garage turns out to be totally full, they may never return for a second try. Having “reserved” spaces would create that certainty. Likewise, if the differential between the prevailing Clarendon rate and the premium rate for Trader Joes parking is too high, people might start gaming the system by making micro purchases at Trader Joes just to avoid the charge, perhaps resulting in all sorts of enforcement costs. Finally, Trader Joes customers are unlikely to use all of the parking all of the time (or even most of the parking most of the time — the garage has a LOT of spaces) so the price would either need to be set very carefully to encourage some of the general public to park and pay while still discouraging enough to make room for the Trader Joes customers, or otherwise to charge a second, lower, rate for the excess parking, which entails additional information and transactions costs.

            Even when it was free, it took about three years for people to “learn” about the DHS parking garage and modify their patterns to use it. Because information costs are such an important factor, it may make sense to have one simpler to understand (but perhaps less efficient) set-up to start with at this location and then transition to market techniques after people are ready to adapt to them.

          • Clarendude

            Thes- any system is going to have ‘issues’. If the spaces are reserved for exclusive use of TD, how is that enforced ? Will violators be towed ? On Lee Hwy not too long ago a store owner with a reserved space had a car towed when the driver was seen parking there and going into a Dry Cleaner nearby. The driver had intended to pick up their cleaning and then go to the store in question. Limited resources have to be rationed, and I guess it is debatable about which rationing system works and/or is most fair in any circumstance.

            david – I’ll agree that Boston and Clarendon is not a perfect comparision. But, I would say in terms of transportation options it is a closer comparison than Clarendon to any place like Tysons/Baily’s .

          • Greg

            OK. I get it. Really you meant make the parking NOT cheap. 😉

            It’s an interesting idea, though.

      • TGEoA

        Is DIA scheduled to move out?

    • Nick

      Nova, I totally agree. I live in Ballston and would Metro or walk, depending on the season.

  • Thes

    People who are carrying bags of groceries need a close parking space more than people who are just going out to a restaurant. So it makes sense to organize the parking to give grocery store people first dibs on parking access. On the other hand, with the DHS garage moving from free parking to paid parking (and with the Olmstead building still having its parking closed because of terrorist fears), there will be an increasing demand for open public parking at this location. It would be a shame if late (say, 9 p.m.) restaurant and bar patrons couldn’t get access to the garage because there were a bunch of unused spaces still reserved for a grocery store. Hopefully the store, building owner, citizens, and county government will be able to devise a subtle solution that makes sense for everyone.

    • charlie

      once again Thes you try to manage the world to the way you would like it.
      In reality, which would be a nice place for you to visit, the TJ’s in downtown DC is open until 10 pm, so certainly this store is going to be more urban, thus open later, thus needing their parking until 10. As are the ones in Chelsea and Union Square are also open to 10.
      Right?7 Right.

      • Thes

        Who said anything about closing time? Whole Foods is open until 10:30, but their parking lot has available spaces well before then.

  • charlie

    i park in lyon village when i go to Whole Foods. 11th street and edgewood have tons of parking too. beyond that, parking is essential to this business being successful.

    • TGEoA


      I think publishing a guide to parking in the neighborhoods around the R&B corridor would be a GREAT idea.

      • We would be happy to publish it if someone wants to make it happen.

        • Thes

          Try this link, for starters. It’s our County Government’s interactive guide to parking in the R-B Corridor.


          • Jack

            Thes – do you work for the Arlington County Govt? i’m just curious, because your posts seem to indicate that.

          • Thes

            Nope. And to their credit, County employees tend to do a good job self-identifying here.

          • charlie

            @Jack — these does not work for the county. although Thes would like to rule the County. Thes is a lapdog for Zimmerman. It could be the other way around, no one knows for sure.
            Thes thinks he knows everything, be warry. He will correct any response that isn’t on the party line.

          • TGEoA

            How about public streets, especially in neighborhoods around R&B and the times zones are in effect?

            Speaking of which, why are there ANY zone stickers in the first place? Any Arlington resident should be able to park ANYWHERE on public streets.

        • Clarendude

          Wouldn’t it just be the inverse of the residential permit map ?


          I live on a single family home street. It’s zoned but I wouldn’t care if people parked there using the shops in Clarendon (if people could be reasonably quiet and don’t litter). In fact, almost all the streets are zoned it seems out to almost 1/2 mile. Do people really park that far and walk ? If so, I’m impressed.

    • Josh S

      Actually, Chuck, businesses thrive on customers. How they get there is up to them. I find that for most transactions, having a one ton hunk of steel in tow is unnecessary.

  • JamesE

    I would drive from Ballston, this probably makes me a horrible person.

    • MrCar

      Nonsense! It makes you a right-thinking true-blue American!

  • DJ

    While walking is nice for those who live nearby, Trader Joe’s also wants to sell to those beyond those within walking distance. I want to drive up my car, fill more bags than walking will allow, and allow Trader Joe’s to make a big profit. Stop berating those who drive and will contribute to the success of the store. Trader’s Joe’s business model can’t be supported by only those within walking distance.

    • Nick

      I agree that TJ’s wants to sell to those outside of their walking distance– obviously, the more customers, (in general) the higher the profit margin. However, parking is never actually free (see the book “The High Cost of Free Parking” http://www.amazon.com/High-Cost-Free-Parking/dp/1884829988). The very high cost of the parking, especially at a transit-oriented area like the Clarendon TJ’s, will be externalized to society (in this case, mostly people who don’t drive). Those of us who pay the higher rents to live in the transit-oriented R-B corridor don’t want to see massive parking lots in places where we could have more shops, restaurants, and parks. Obviously there won’t be a “massive parking lot” for this particular store, but they still could have used those spaces for something else (such as the ideas I just provided).

      My opinion: give TJ customers who drive a slight discount on parking after they they their parking validated at the cashier. That will encourage people to walk/Metro if they can and still allow those outside of the walkable/Metroable area to shop at the store, while contributing to the true cost of the good (i.e., a valuable parking space).

      • david

        You’re going to put restaurants, shops and parks in level B3 of a garage? I don’t understand your logic at all – this is an underground parking garage.

  • Neighbor

    If I am buying just what I need to finish dinner, I will walk the 2 blocks to Whole Foods. If I need a case of water and/or a case of wine, and groceries for the week, walking is not possible. The County has never really been reasonable about the fact that some purchases simply cannot be transported while walking, biking, or Metroing. Trying to pretend that parking is more optional than it is leads to disasters like the Whole Foods parking lot, which should be avoided at all costs if Trader Joe’s comes to Clarendon!!

    • charlie

      the flaw in the thinking of the board of supervisors and the transportation board is that they don’t think people should own cars. HA. every board member has a car. some have two.
      the good thing about cars in arlington is that while people own cars (and taxes get paid, or at least when the bills are mailed) most are driven very few miles in comparison to others. We still need our cars. we still need to store them at home and at businesses. cars are bad but they are necessary evils.

  • B

    What a dumb move on TJ’s part. Yes, there are thousands of affluent singles in Clarendon, but most of them don’t cook much. They do buy lots of booze, so maybe there’s hope for the store in that regard.

    A better location would have been on Wilson, near affluent families with cars, who do more cooking. Or on Lee Highway between Glebe and Harrison, which is in dire need of some upscale retail to match the upscale residences.

    I live near Ballston but will continue to drive to the TJ at Bailey’s, which has free parking that is not altogether difficult unless you go on a weekend afternooon. Or the one in Falls Church, which is even better.

    Transit is simply not feasible for buying more than one bag of groceries. And anything that needs to stay cold or kept from bruising? Forget it.

    • John

      You may be right that single people don’t traditionally cook much, but Trader Joes makes the cooking so easy with their prepared meals that I would start preparing and eating home a lot more often. I’ll just freeze what I can’t finish in a week.

    • LP

      Have you seen the houses 1-3 blocks off of Wilson Blvd in Clarendon? $1.8M and up – there are plenty of affluent families with cars in the area.

  • Arlingtonian

    If anyone has been to the Old Town Trader Joe’s, they have minimal street parking and an underground pay garage. I agree with an earlier poster that some type of validation scheme would be the best option for dealing with parking. I know that the Old Town TJ’s validates for an hour which should be plenty for Trader Joes shopping. Their garage isn’t even that big and there always seems to be parking, even on weekdays. And that is in an area with less walkable density than Clarendon – I think the Clarendon location will have much more walk-up business.

  • Exceptional

    Great, another retail establishment trying to use their popularity as a way to get the board to change established concessions that neighbors asked for. Trader Joe’s should not be treated differently than others. I don’t care who walks or parks, but the spaces should not be reserved. That penalizes the other retailers who do not have reserved spaces. Next thing you know the others are asking for reserved spaces to be blocked off too. Shirlington is terrible in this way. The garages are blocked off with special areas for offices, the Harris Teeter, the library, and the theater. The right thing to do is keep the garage open and have staff available to carry out groceries for those who can’t do it themselves. Why do residents always have to be threatened by retailers. Trader Joe’s and its landlord are acting in bad faith.

    • charlie

      most people aren’t willing to pay extra costs to their food or tip to have someone carry their groceries to the car. all of our grocers had people who would load your car but no one does that any more.
      And TJ’s should ask for a ruling because the rules for this building and its parking are absurd and if anyone would read the level of detail they too would agree that this building is a phenomenal micro-management by Ron Carlee and Zimmie. Personally I’m shocked that any retail user would consider this place.

  • MC

    I’d love to see TJ’s in Arlington, but would hate to see it be a car magnet. I see many DC license plates at the TJ’s in Bailey’s XRoads — it’s too easy to drive with free parking. So the garage owner should charge everyone $7 an hour, to discourage short-run car trips. Maybe TJ’s can validate parking if someone spends over $70, representing a true week’s grocery shopping that couldn’t be carried out on the Metro. Restaurants in the building could also validate the parking if the spending met a certain threshold.

    • Deb

      First of all, if people from DC want to come to Virginia to spend their money, I’m happy to see them. Let them pay sales tax to my state. Second, your plan makes no sense. I live in Arlington but do not live near Metro. And I’m single, so I never spend $70 in one trip to the grocery store. So why should I be penalized and made to pay to park if I choose to support a TJs within Arlington instead of one outside the county, while others get subsidized parking for the same store?

      • Nick

        Deb, I totally agree that I’m happy to have DC residents come to VA for our stores. On your second point, you’re not really being “penalized” for driving– you’re just paying at least a slice of the true cost of a good– in this case, a short-term lease on property (in the form of a parking spot). Those who live closer to the store (and pay more for rent) do not pay this fee. I mentioned it in one of my previous posts on here, but parking is never free… the costs are merely socialized. To those of us who don’t drive/avoid driving at all costs, frankly, we don’t want to have to pay for someone else’s trip to the grocery store, since we don’t benefit from it. Thus, I hope there’s at least a SLIGHT fee for parking at the Clarendon TJ’s, even if you’re a customer. It’s all economics!

        And I understand the frustration about having “free” parking at the TJ’s in Bailey’s Crossroads vs. having to possibly pay for parking at TJ’s in Clarendon. Until that area gets redeveloped… that’ll be a question for another time. 🙂

        • Greg

          If people don’t drive, there won’t be a TJs for you to walk to. At least TJs doesn’t think so. I don’t think you can reasonably say you don’t benefit from people driving to the grocery store.

        • Deb

          You’re missing my point, and frankly you’re being smug about the car-free thing. That’s nice for you, but it’s simply not realistic for many people. And we can’t all live on top of a metro line, either. There is only so much residential capacity. Someone has to live elsewhere.

          • MB

            That’s nice for you, but it’s simply not realistic for many people.

            It’s realistic for *far* more people than think it is. When I read complaints on this thread about a 45 min Metro trip from Ballston to Clarendon, I just . . . christ.

          • Bureaucracy Creates Jobs

            There are some wonderful ideas in this thread. It would be a huge waste of an opportunity to allow a developer to build a building with a garage that people can use to get to a grocery store, and allow a grocery store to lease that building with a garage that people can use to get to the grocery store. This isn’t just about people buying groceries in the five minutes off they have from working 80 hours per week in order to pay for living in Clarendon or the R-B corridor; it is about not missing an opportunity to manage the lifestyles of our fellow citizens, for the better.

            Those of us who did not buy the land, or develop the building, or build out the grocery store, or run it, or necessarily even plan to patronize it, should really have the primary say in how the store operates and how customers get to the store.

            We need to get as involved as possible in the parking issue by encouraging local government to enshrine any armchair thoughts we have at the moment regarding various hurdles we can put up before our fellow citizens can go to the grocery store. Here’s a starting proposal for what we should have the County government force on residents, working from some of the best ideas expressed so far: (1) let’s have a sliding-scale pricing system for the TJ’s parking lot, where prices change throughout the day, ranging from $1 to $70 depending on (a) traffic in the store consisting of people who walked; (b) traffic in the store consisting of people who drove; and (c) the general volume of people present in the neighborhood at the time; (2) a mandatory daily registration and fee/rebate for the groups in (a), (b), and (c), with a $5 fee for drivers (10 percent discount for using an iPhone app to register / 10 percent surcharge if you are a driver driving a family to the store) and $1 rebate for walkers visiting the area (but only if they do not own a car and identify themselves as supporting smart growth); and (3) a $33 registration sticker, paid annually and available through the TJ Parking Sticker Office at the County’s headquarters, to support the cost of developing the sticker and a litigation fund to go after the sticker’s manufacturer/printer, if the sticker is ever not ready in time for a new year.

            Rather than limiting ourselves to how customers arrive at the store, however, we should consider various regulations for how customers leave their homes, at what time they leave them, and who they leave them with. That can be second priority and the subject of a future commission.

            This could be awesome. It should be an amazing system for everyone else. Personally, although I may live in the R-B corridor because of its proximity to downtown DC employment, I’ll likely plan to just drive somewhere else to get groceries and not participate. It adds 15 minutes of highway driving, but I don’t have much time to get errands done on a weekend.

    • ballston

      First, $70 to validate parking? Come on that will never happen and is totally ridiculous.

      I think simply having TJ’s validate parking combined with a certain amount of reserved spaces up to a certain time is the best solution. In addition, they should do what Whole Foods does and enable validation from another nearby garage in case the reserved & non-reserved spaces are full. Validation for 1.5 hours after entrance to garage (there can be really long lines at TJ’s at peak times).

      Also, all of you ppl complaining about people driving there…. You cannot rely on metro for grocery shopping are you serious? Lets say you go on a Sunday when they have 15 minute gaps. It sometimes can take 45 minutes to go from Clarendon to Ballston on a weekend on that system, its just not reliable when you have perisables. Come down from your towers of $1900 1 bedrooms and remember some common sense for those who dont have the income to live 1 block away.

      • MC

        I don’t believe parking in Clarendon should be free, period. Whole Foods generates too much traffic as it is, and makes the area less walkable. I pay to park for the farmer’s market in Court House when I choose to drive, even if I spend $60 there (which I sometimes do). Why should commercial groceries be able to offer free parking along the Orange line?

        The people who really need to drive to the grocery are people in families with children, because they have both kids and lots of groceries to buy. Buy lots of groceries that feed a family household = get validation. But if you are single and young, buying a few items you could carry out in your arms, you are simply exercising a choice to go for convenience, and shouldn’t be upset to pay for parking. Please, no adding to congestion to save a couple of dollars on cheap wine, because parking is free.

        I live over a mile from Whole Foods, and always walk and shlepped items home. I have lived without a car for over a decade even further from a grocery store and managed. If you aren’t happy with the quality of the public transportation options, tell the County to improve the ART buses.

        The problem with DC grocery shoppers is not that they spend money, which is fine, it is that they drive there cars (and ZIP Cars) into the suburbs because they don’t want to bother or pay for parking, and our neighborhoods become a soft target. We get traffic, congestion, pollution from car nimbies.

  • Thes

    Looks like Arlington County has an official policy to support grocery stores and is willing to accommodate them through “reasonable modifications of county regulations”:


  • Lyon Parker

    Bummer. I was hoping for the 2201 Pershing site to include a Trader Joes.
    Not a metro spot, but bazillions of people drive past the site on Arlington Blvd every day. Maybe Bloom would show us some love down that way.
    Trader Joes within Segway distance is still great 😉

    • Sarah

      Agreed! Still happy to have TJ within walking distance, though.

  • Thirsty

    Woo-hoo! TJ’s in North Arlington! That’ll cut down on the crowds in Bailey’s Crossroads. Thank the gods!

  • NO to TJ in Clarendon.

    There are already two other grocery stores in walking disctance. Spread the wealth y’all. Why not put it on route 50 and Pershing where there is more bandwidth for cards and parking. The idea of the metro corridor is to keep it car-less, so don’t bring cars there… take ’em form route 50. There is already enough congestion. Jay just say “NO”!

  • NO to TJ in Clarendon.

    Agree with Lyon Parker 100% TJ off Route 50!!!

  • YES to TJ in Clarendon

    Clarendon is the perfect place for this store. It will get a good combination of walkers and drivers, unlike the car packed Baileys crossroads. And TJs deserves some concessions since they would be renting the largest space by far – the space is 10,000 square feet vs. the next largest which is 4,402.

  • rosita

    After reading all the nasty comments about drivers, I do not want to shop in Clarendon, not at TJ, not anywhere.

    • gone elsewhere

      This is exactly why I do nearly all of my shopping and dining in Fairfax county. I’d rather drive 3 extra miles and get easy access to parking than try to find parting anywhere in the Ballston-Clarendon corridor. I will not pay for parking to patronize someone’s business. Arlington’s anti-car philosphy is a joke. At least they had the common sense to have a decent amount of free parking in Shirlington.

      I’m someone that takes transit every weekday to work, but I don’t want to deal with that hassle on my own time. It takes much less time to drive anywhere around here than deal with Metro.

      I’m from Phoenix originally and could drive 30 miles in the time it takes to go 6 miles via metro here. We need more highways!

      • MrCar

        Fairfax ? Meh. They don’t cater to my car properly. I recently visited some relatives in Gloucester, VA and they have a Wal-mart that is truly glorious. The store itself is about 5 acres inside, but the parking lot, OMG. It makes me excited just remembering – it’s easily 8 acres of TOTALLY FREE parking. Next door is Home Depot, but their lot is only about 4 measly acres (but it is free too). The next best thing, other than the shear joy of seeing that many places that I can put my car for free, is that there is pretty much nothing else around there – not a house to be seen or really even any other stores, no people walking around or infernal bikes to hinder your motoring pleasure. Car enthusiasts, I’m telling you – it is HEAVEN ! I think the link below will provide a map. Check it out and tell me if that isn’t the most beautiful sight you have ever seen.


        Hey, maybe we could share pictures/stories of our favorite parking lots ? Anyone know good site for that?

        • MB

          Mr. Car, I salute your contributions to this thread. I wish you a glorious waxing in the future.

  • A Trader Joes in Clarendon would be great. It would be nice if the ART 77 would be popular enough to warrant a Saturday schedule. I love TJ’s big round cans of lentil soup.

  • Jim

    Having a Trader Joe’s here would be excellent. I hope the county can get this done.

  • AES

    Um, exsqueeze me? This is a grocery store model for the surrounding neighborhood. Not for North Arlington, not for DC, and not for everyone whining about parking. If you live in Clarendon or Courthouse then you chose an urban lifestyle and should be prepared to shop on foot for 1-2 days groceries. If you want cases of water or wine, zipcar over to Costco and stockup. This ain’t no strip mall.

    • charlie

      AES: Sorry but Clarendon does NOT survive on Clarendon alone. It MUST have easy access to all of Arlington to survive. People in Clarendon have spent too much on their houses to buy much else.

      • Let’s Be Free

        Excellent point Charlie. Ten years ago I used to trek up to Clarendon from my near Route 50 home almost daily. Now almost never, people like me are being squeezed out. The pointy-headed elitist urbanites will come to regret their policies of exclusion when they see increasing vacancies and failed businesses down the road.

      • AES

        charlie: I agree with you about every shop in Clarendon except grocery stores. Groceries are neighborhood institutions, or should be. The discussion here is unique to boutique grocery brands like TJ. If this were a Giant or Safeway would we be worried about people commuting in from DC?

        • charlie

          grocery stores are for neighborhoods. in a nostalgic sense.
          i do not shop at the Giant or Safeway or Whole Foods or TJ’s near my house.
          I don’t go to Safeway; I go to a Giant in Falls Church (no yuppie hell like the Arlington ones, plus I drive there on the way to and from work) and the Whole Foods in Fairfax or Tysons is also much calmer. I seldom go to Clarendon.
          BUT other people in Arlington need to go. Whole Foods CLarneodn does $75 million in sales a year — that is not just Clarendon. Stores do serve their immediate neighbors and ALL the stores in Arlington do rely on people to come from DC, let’s face it DC has very limited stores. People may not want to admit it, but we love taking their money and having them pay our sales tax. Importing money is a good thing. at least for the County budget.

    • JamesE

      That is why everyone just drives to the 24/7 Harris Teeter off Glebe. Guess it isn’t urban enough !

      • Thes

        Since you asked, no, it’s not urban enough. The Harris Teeter building faces back toward the parking lot, instead of having the main entrance along the street. Pedestrians who try to go in from the surrounding community have to walk clear around the building and usually across the vehicle lanes just to get in and out. Walking along the sidewalk, pedestrians can see neither the goods nor the activity inside. The properties in the first two blocks nearest to it are, respectively, an auto dealership, an auto dealership, and a parking lot. (Trader Joes will have almost all high-rise apartments and offices.) Even the residences behind and adjacent to the Harris Teeter have to walk around to the parking lot side to get in. Harris Teeter should never have been approved in that configuration, because it makes life unnecessarily difficult for pedestrians.

    • ballston

      besides the fact that you said exsqueeze me, you sound like a condenscending a-hole. I would hardly call the clarendon-courthouse area “urban.” Maybe if you live in one of the condos within 1/2 mile of the clarendon metro, but if you expect a majority of Arlington citizens to lug 3 bags of groceries from TJ’s to colonial village or to the Vista at Courthouse you are out of your mind.

      Imagine a 5’3 girl 100 pound chick trying to do that? Get real. Yes, some people can (and will) walk to the store, but for a grocery store to survive there has to be parking available because most people will need to drive.

      Its great that you and your hipster, car-hating, prius loving, fro-yo eating, brown sandal wearing clarendonites will walk, but for the 90% of the other ppl that will need to frequent that store for it to survive, parking is needed.

      Go donate some time by protesting waste water or saving a stray deer.

      • MrCar

        Hey, you can’t be car-hating and Prius-loving simultaneously. Prius’ are cars too and we must love all our four-wheeled companions equally, even those that are horsepower challenged. Having said that, the new Mustang Boss 302 looks pretty sweet.

      • Nick

        Solution for those who have to carry anything more than 15 lbs. home (and are within walking/metro distance): folding shopping cart. $15.99. Heck of a deal.

  • AK

    For all those who insist it’s not possible to shop for groceries without parking spaces – phooey on you. I shop weekly, by bike, for my family of five. If I don’t bike, I walk. It means I actually have to plan well and break a sweat but that’s about it. It doesn’t take me any longer and the only real inconvenience is the idiots in the parking lot fighting over parking spaces. Change the way you think. It’s exhilarating. And healthy. If Trader Joe’s really is the progressive kind of place they pretend to be, they’ll figure this out. Insisting on more parking is a total cop-out. No, I’m not anti-car, I’m just pro-better choices for all involved which means if you’re physically unable to walk or bike then by all means use the form of transportation that works. But if you are able to walk or bike and choose not to, you’re a part of the problem.

    • Hear, hear. I’m with you. And since our economy is (even still) based on free markets, TJ answers to no one but customers served at a specific location. That customers in the high-density Rosslyn-Ballston corridor feel differently than those who are not is an unsurprising piece of that equation.

  • Jim

    Three cheers for Jay Fisette’s desire to work out an agreement that will get TJs to Arlington. And once more to the anti-car purists: would you like to help me push my wife’s wheelchair from Ballston to Clarendon so she can visit her favorite store?

  • Jamestown!

    Do we have to make this discussion about transportation? Im starting a new topic right now.

    I LOVE TRADER JOES! Who else is crossing their fingers and super stoked?!

    • charlie

      yeah man!!

  • Sheesha

    So, someone is happy to get a Trader Joe’s within walking distance of their apartment, and this somehow gets interpreted as an attack on other people’s car-drivin’ lifestyles? Good grief!

    • MB

      Perpetual victimhood is hard work, you know.

  • Pingback: Trader Joe’s Coming to Clarendon « SocialSmashDC()

  • JackRussell

    My wife and I are inclined to tell TJ to take a hike until they drop the demands for free parking.

  • Jim

    From reading this it sounds like most people are excited and hope the county can work something out with TJs.

  • Bill

    I know I’m late to this party, but If Trader Joe’s does open then perhaps Whole Foods may cut their prices. A grocery good store war in Clarendon would be a lot of fun for us, the shoppers! Let’s get it going!!

  • Set the controls

    Three buck upchuck.

  • Tracy

    party at trader joe’s, summer 2011!!!

  • Gil French

    Our neighborhood in Charles Village, Baltimore, MD is anxious to acquire a Trader Joes in the nearby Rotunda at 40th st. and Roland Ave. in Baltimore. There is a very large community of affluent neighborhoods nearby and people most anxious to patronize your store. We ould very much love to have consider placing one there.
    Thank you for your consideration.


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