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Opening Day Nearing for Trader Joe’s

by ARLnow.com November 10, 2011 at 12:32 pm 6,396 67 Comments

Shelves are being stocked at the new Trader Joe’s in Clarendon, a sign that the store’s long-anticipated opening day may be nearing.

Interior construction on the 12,300 square foot grocery store appears to be wrapping up. Multiple calls and emails to Trader Joe’s HQ have gone unreturned in recent days, but several tipsters tell us that staff members have been saying the store will open on Friday, Nov. 18, in time for Thanksgiving.

The new Trader Joe’s store is located at 1109 N. Highland Street.

  • Thes

    Woot! Arlington: now awesomer.

    • Suburban Not Urban

      How sad is it, that for Arlington, something as utilitarian as a new grocery store opening is big news that gets this kind of anticipatory coverage. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get things like businesses or manufacturing that produce something rather than only retail- most of which is only for basic needs food etc., and government contractors that live off other folks hard earned money.

      • GJ

        Not really. I don’t live in Clarendon to look out my window and see manufacturing plants and sky scrapers.

        • Jake

          +1 Exactly – move to Fairfax county

  • Ballstonian

    Am I the only one that thinks traffic and parking are about to become a big challenge in Clarendon? I’m thinking about the traffic that piles up coming in and out of the Whole Foods. I realize there will be plenty of foot traffic to/from the store, but I foresee people pulling stupid stunts on Clarendon and Wilson Blvds trying to snag parking spots and not paying attention (more than usual).

    • CrystalMikey

      No, based on the same craziness you mentioned and how busy it can get at Bailey’s and Old Town ones.

      Side note: this pedestrian can’t wait!

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Ballstonian, I think you’re right. I like Trader Joe’s but if the mess at Clarendon’s Whole Foods lot is any indication, I’ll probably go to Traders at Bailey’s or on Rt. 7 between Falls Church and Tysons. I live too far from Clarendon to walk to the new location.

      • Justin Russo

        The parking lot at Bailey’s is a total clusterf*ck, especially on weekends, so not sure why you prefer that.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          I’ll clarify: I normally go to Traders on Rt. 7 between Falls Church and Tysons weekdays during my lunch hour – not great but not a real mess. If I go to the one at Bailey’s I try to get there right when they open on Saturdays before it gets too bad.

        • AVer

          Really? I’ve never had a problem at Bailey’s.

        • Clarendon

          @Justin Russo

          I’ve never been there on the weekend, but I work in the Baily’s area and have tried there at lunch and it’s bad enough so that I don’t go there any more. I’ll much prefer walking.

    • Maria

      Isn’t there a garage with dedicated parking for TJs? Obviously that’s not going to accommodate everyone who wants to go there, particularly after work and on Sundays, but I think the biggest problem with the Whole Foods is that the parking lot is street level, so people waiting to get in don’t have a choice but to wait on the street. I think you’re at least a little right though, that there will probably be – at first, for sure – more traffic here, but hopefully it won’t be too bad??

      (are my rose-colored glasses showing?)

      • creative

        There is validated garage parking directly across the street from WF, beneath Williams Sonoma, but people either don’t know about it or don’t want to walk across Clarendon Blvd.

    • UnlimitedCustoms

      Traffic will be terrible on Garfield Street and Clarendon Blvd. Any car turning will cause a huge backup because cars cannot go around because of the large bulb outs that have been created with the new developments in this area. Highland Street has dedicated turn lanes, however, the garage entrance is on Garfield.

      Any chance the county would remove the sidewalk bulbs?

      • bemused bystander

        Dream on …

  • CW

    I think that the intersections of Clarendon Boulevard and Highland/Garfield could benefit from two features which are used all over the rest of the country, but which this County refuses to accept.

    1) Dedicated left turn arrows (so left-turning cars can actually get through on green)

    2) Dedicated pedestrian lights (as opposed to having pedestrians go with traffic so that turning traffic either runs them over or backs up. Often at those lights there can be a steady stream of pedestrians over the entirety of the green so that not a single car turns.)

    I am mostly a pedestrian but these features would make sense I feel. These intersections have too much going on to just be free-for-alls; there needs to be more control.

    • Southeast Jerome

      Yeah, I like those ideas…. left turn arrows in Arlington are few and far between.

    • CrystalMikey

      +1 on both your ideas, CW!

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Spot on for both your ideas, CW. I think they would be great in many other intersections in Arlington as well!

    • walker

      +1 on the dedicated pedestrian lights

      at best, the lack of dedicated pedestrian walk time holds the traffic up

      at worst, impatient drivers try to cut through gaps in the walkers, inevitably leading to injury

    • zzzzz

      Arlington refuses to accept left turn arrows? Since when?

      • CW

        Arlington has a weird habit of only implementing them in the “outbound” direction (away from D.C.). Examples include Wash. Blvd @ Kirkwood, 10th @ Wilson, Wilson @ Quincy, and a couple more. Left turn arrows for those going west-ish, none for those going east-ish.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          I noticed something weird as well. Washington Blvd eastbound at Glebe Rd has a left turn arrow. Washington Blvd westbound at Glebe Rd doesn’t. Rush hour runs in both directions, so it strikes me as strange that only some parts of the intersection have left turns, especially since both are major Arlington roads. I’ve noticed the examples you mentioned also.

          • CW

            Ahh, you’re right. The thought might be that a lot of people need that arrow to get down to the 66 eastbound onramp, whereas people coming from the east and getting onto 66 westbound would use Fairfax. Just an idea.

            I think there are a decent number of intersections down on Four Mile that have one-way turn arrows too.

          • zzzzz

            I think they put left turn arrows in places where traffic backs up. There used to be one on G Mason onto eastbound Four Mile Run. But that wasn’t enough, so they added one at the Four Mile Run access road (same intersection) and the original one now has two left turn cycles within every complete light cycle during the pm rush.

            Isn’t there a left turn arrow at Lee Hwy and Glebe, going east on Glebe?

            There are all-way left turn arrows at Glebe and Fairfax and Glebe and Wilson. Arrows on Glebe at Carlin Springs in both directions, including 2 lanes going into the mall parking garage. A turn arrow at Glebe and Randolph for Harris Teeter.

            The arrow on Walter Reed at Glebe is for northbound traffic, which seems “inbound” to me.

            I really don’t see an “outbound” conspiracy here, or a refusal to accept turn arrows. If left turn traffic is backing up somewhere, contact the county and have them look into the addition of a turn arrow.

          • CW

            It was initially a bit of hyperbole, becuase while we cite these specific examples, it does seem that Arlington uses left-turn arrows less than a lot of places I’ve been. The main thing is just the one-direction ones. I didn’t say there was a conspiracy; in the region that I mentioned (the R-B corridor), most of the lights that have left-turn arrows have them in the outbound direction. Lights at Glebe have them because a lot of people are trying to get to 66.

  • bad

    The placement of this store is just awful, it’s going to cause massive backups around there and be a giant pain for everyone.

  • SmartArse

    Trader Joe’s: Like Whole Foods, but for Cheaper, Older Customers.

    [I shop there too.]

    • Tre

      I disagree with the age statement… and as of now I would like to commission a study to determine the average/median age of the whole foods and trader joe’s (once open).

      • Tre

        *whole foods and trader joe’s customer

  • OX4

    CaBi, bus, Metro, or walk.

    Sit in traffic if you want, but it isn’t Trader Joe’s fault.

    • Southeast Jerome

      i’d hardly describe the traffic as horrible. maybe during peak times you will have a 5 minute wait for a spot, but thats not the end of the world. going at non-peak times will be a good solution. the area will adjust. lets not freak out with these white people problems.

  • Glen Danzig

    Just go to Mom’s Market.

    • FrenchyB

      Mommy, can I go out and…

  • clarendonneighbor

    Ballstonian: I already think it’s a big issue. Friday night is starting to feel like M Street in Georgetown with the vehicle and pedestrian traffic. I feel the previously the neighborhood seemed to be more accessed by locals but now with all of the newer retailers and restaurants Clarendon is more of a destination than ever and the traffic (and noise!) is already showing it.

  • ODCASteve

    I’ll give credit to Whole Foods for providing parking lot attendants (most of the time) to keep things civil and moving. Also, free, validated parking across the street is a huge benefit. Let’s hope TJ’s does similar.

    • Chris

      Agreed… I wouldn’t be parking there if it weren’t for those guys.

    • Ben

      They have parking attendants in the DC store garage. I’d expect them to do something similar of the garage here gets bad.

  • Glen Danzig
    • ClarendonDweller

      Why should we go there as opposed to Whole Foods or Trade Joe’s? Just curious, as I have never been to a Mom’s Organic Market. And none of their locations look all that convenient.

      • DarkHeart

        Every time I go to Birchmere or the VW dealer (2-3 recalls a year it seems), I wonder why MOM chose that location.

        • Glen Danzig

          Too many latinos and poor people for you see? It hurts your eyes?

      • FreshMarketFan

        Agree. I would rather go to the new Fresh Market in Vienna.

  • UnlimitedCustoms

    Will there be an entrance on Garfield as well?

    • CW

      No. That unit on Garfield that they’re renting appeared at last glance to just be administrative offices and storage. There is just a service hallway between the two spaces; only employees should be able to get between them. They’ve installed keypad controlled locks.

  • LuvDusty

    SIGH–we’ve had this “traffic” discussion in ever single post about TJ that’s shown up on arlnow.com : (

    It’s kinda crazy to keep repeating the same discussion. I really don’t understand what people want…we want new stores to open–they bring business, people and yes, revenue to Arlington.

    They are building an underground parking garage to go with this TJ store. The Whole Foods has a surface parking lot that is tiny and a huge mess..which is what causes the back-up.

    Additionally, this TJ store’s location makes total sense to serve the thousands of pedestrian customers who live within blocks and will be using it daily for small trips. If someone really wants to drive to this TJ, then they will have to weigh the pros of the parking/traffic issues w/the distance/extra work of going to another TJs that may be more suitable for driving customers versus pedestrian customers.

    It’s honestly ridiculous to keep having this same discussion–the stores will continue to be built as long as Clarendon continues to be an attractive neighborhood.

    What is the alternative? No stores? No growth? That’s life.

    • AllenB

      Welcome to the cranky commenters on arlnow.

    • CW

      Well, it’s an interesting thing to talk about. This is a local current events board and it’s a big current event.

      You’re discussion of the parking lot is crazy-talk. The garage was built as part of the Clarendon Center development. They’re just repurposing the first couple floors (which is already public paid parking). In fact, I don’t know how that argument ended, whether TJs got dedicated spots or if it’s just a free-for-all open garage. It’s also the same size or smaller than the WF lot. And if you think it’s quicker and easier to get out of a garage as opposed to a surface lot, that’s also crazy. Either way, a side note is that it’s going to make it really tough for residents of that building to get in and out of their spots, which are located on the lower levels. But it was known that this was happening when the building was built, so that’s part of what they signed up for.

      I’m all for growth and new, exciting things. I will be walking if and when I go to this store. But it’s interesting to talk about different aspects of the development that happens near where we live. That’s just human nature.

  • Johnny Utah

    If you don’t know what a ZJ is…you can’t afford it.

  • Walsh44

    From the Arlington County Board’s press release of Nov 16, 2010:
    The Board voted unanimously to approve modifications to the site plan it originally approved in 2006. Among the changes is a reduction in the number of required parking spaces in the building’s parking garage from 220 to 214, to provide for shopping cart corrals and two elevators that will provide direct access to the grocery store. Seventy parking spaces in the garage will be reserved for use by the grocery store’s customers until 10 p.m. The County also agreed to expand the hours of operation of the loading dock to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week and to allow limited, temporary outdoor displays of store merchandise on the North Highland Street sidewalk.
    Read the whole thing here:
    http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/Communications/PressReleases/page78990.aspx

    • CW

      Yep, they bent over and took it.

      The elevators were a nice touch; they spent a couple months retrofitting the garage with them.

      Haven’t seen any cart corrals go in yet.

      It’s funny because they have these signs they installed at the loading dock. It says “Loading Dock Hours: 8 AM to 6 PM.” Then on the next line it says “Trader Joe’s ONLY: 6 AM to 10 PM”. So TJ’s gets to use the dock for 4 more hours than it’s “open”. Makes a ton of sense.

      • Thes

        What it should say is “Trader Joes only from 6-8 a.m. and 6-10 p.m.” Perhaps the sign-make thought that was implied.

        • CW

          Right. That’s what it’s should read. But now it just looks silly!

      • Clarendon Resident

        So if the legal loading dock hours for Trader Joe’s do not begin until 6:00 AM, why was I awakened by a NSF truck making a delivery there at 5:40 a.m. this morning?

        • CW

          His watch was fast?

        • Suburban Not Urban

          Guess what – welcome to your new life. The board just takes folks at their word and ignores the reality of the situation.

        • charlie

          because he was unloading?
          because he was idling and waiting? (if we let him IN the loading dock you wouldn’t hear it!!)
          because you have some hot something or another in your bed and that is really what woke you up!!

  • TJfan

    This one store is not going to single-handedly cause the traffic situation in Clarendon to become intolerable, at least any more than the Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble, Ann Taylor, Cheesecake Factory, etc have. I think most of the traffic at this Trader Joe’s will be from the many thousands of people who live in the neighborhood and are wise enough to not drive. I live in Clarendon and look forward to stopping in Trader Joe’s on my walk home from the metro. But if I want to make a “big” shopping trip, I will drive to the TJ’s in Bailey’s or Tyson’s (where parking is free!), and I suspect many others will as well.

    • LuvDusty

      +1
      Thank you TJfan for expressing exactly how I feel, but much more succinctly and clearly. I don’t understand all the moaning and griping on this blog every single time a new store opens.

      It just gets tiresome–at some point, I keep hoping common sense will prevail. But clearly, it’s not.

    • charlie

      nothing in arlington has ever caused catastrophic parking or driving conditions on a permanent basis.
      everyone is just insanely hysterical and worried about their own worlds.

  • Chris

    Ohhh man, peanut butter pretzels, prepare to be eaten. This is going to be awesome.

  • I’ll be going there to pick up big cans of their lentil soup.

  • charlie

    best parking spaces in Clarendon are 11th Street between Danville and Fillmore. no meters. two hour term. can walk anywhere — especially Trader Joey’s!!!

    • CW

      Good luck finding one open these days. Maybe a year or two ago.

  • TS

    If any one is interested in renting a rather large newer home just blocks from TJs with a swimming pool and jacuzzi and 2 car garage, let me know. Send an email to [email protected] for more details.

  • sue

    Who cares about traffic?! But- I am a city person at heart!! I moved from DC and wouldn’t live in Clarendon years ago because it was too dead. I love that hustle/bustle and seeing tons of people on the sidewalks..plus we walk everywhere so the cars/traffic aren’t an issue for us.

    Bring on TJS. I have to buy one of those dorky metal carts to carry my groceries/cases of wine the 2 blocks home.

  • Don

    Cheese, cheap cheese. I look forward to some competition for WF! — and Giant and Safeway.

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