Trader Joe’s to respond to Silver Lake’s request for ‘green measures’ *

A representative from Trader Joe’s is scheduled to appear tonight at a Silver Lake planning committee meeting to respond to community ideas on how to handle increased traffic and environmental concerns, said Leonardo Chalupowicz, a board member of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council.

The council’s Urban Design & Preservation Committee presented some ideas as the grocery-store chain seeks variances related to its recently expanded Silver Lake store on Rowena. Chalupowicz, in an email, said.

Trader Joe’s representative will be coming back in front of the committee to pursue a variance related to their new expansion and to brief on TJ’s response to the committee’s suggestion that they adopt “green measures” to help ease traffic and encourage patrons to use alternative transportation (like planting trees, install bike racks, free deliveries, carpooling programs, etc)

The meeting begins at 6:30 P.M.

* Update: Trader Joe’s will probably add bike racks and some landscaping.  Click here for a meeting update.


  1. how ’bout greener packaging? all the plastic trays and wrapping for the fruit and veggies… they won’t take them back except to recycle them, even though they are in perfectly good condition. it is kind of silly to show up with your cloth bags only to load them with tons of plastic-wrapped stuff. recycling isn’t the answer, either. our plastic gets shipped to china, where it comes back in the form of clothing and other products…not as trays or plastic bottles. so the solution seems to reduce plastic use altogether. no? i can’t imagine that would offend anybody…

  2. “encouraging” people to ride bikes by putting in a couple of bike racks is not going to help traffic congestion in the slightest.

  3. I agree with Sahra.. The packaging needs to change, however the traffic around Trader Joe’s happens everywhere – I’d be curious to see if they are willing to make changes to all of their stores if they do anything at all.

  4. This sounds like a complaint about lack of parking and convenience to the customer, rather than a search for “greener practices.” Why is it on Trader Joe’s and not on the car-driving commuters to change their ways?

  5. I don’t see how the “new , bigger ” Trader Joe’s increases the traffic on Hyperion, which was already bad.
    The aisles inside the Trader Joe’s are wider, but that is the only difference, as far as I can tell.
    So if you went to the Silver Lake Trader Joe’s before, there is no difference.
    How does increasing the inside of the store increase the outside traffic ?

  6. How about building a Trader Joes in Echo Park! Trader Joes had the chance when Pioneer market left. Folks from Downtown and Chinatown could do their shoppping in Echo Park instead of driving to the overcrowded Silverlake and Eagle Rock ones. Does anyone know why Trader Joes won’t build in Echo Park or vicinities nearby?

  7. What about the refrigerated & frozen sections that are just open. Other countries have doors or plastic flaps or something to keep the refrigeration contained instead of freezing the shoppers out on those isles. All that cooling energy is going out the door- literally.

  8. Allison,
    The amount of square footage of a commericial use is directly related to the number of required parking spaces. In this case however, TJs was not required to increase their parking with the addition.
    The logic is the store can now handle more people, thus theoretically more “trips” to the store, usually by car. At peak hours, a person who may avoid TJs because it was cramped and crowded may now see that time as an opportunity.
    More bike racks (that don’t look like an afterthought stuck in some awkward space) would help, as would a DASH line of course.
    The reason it’s “on TJs” to address parking issues is that’s the way our city’s planning code was written. This is why planning, the vision of planners and elected officials, and community involvement is crucial for good neighborhoods. Sadly, most people don’t even know what the zoning code is, or how it works!

  9. Who shops at TJs anymore now that Fresh & Easy is open?

  10. I’m with Ruby!

  11. The issue here is traffic, not packaging, and what impact this special variance will have on it! The mention of green isn’t about recycling, its about air pollution for cars, as in bicycling makes for fewer cars and now pollution. Gee, stay on topic!

  12. Trader Joe’s is the devil.

  13. The issue with the traffic problem at this location is because of the parking shortage. Unfortunately, the blame for that goes to city (and neighborhood council) polices that allow constructions with too few parking spaces up front. Cars line up, and out into the street interfering with traffic, while waiting for a parking space. Traffic jams up while cars try to go around the backup.

    Trader Joe’s expanded size is designed to handle even more customers, but nonetheless the application for a variance provides leverage to force them to do something to mitigate the traffic congestion.

    I will say, while the suggestions of bike racks to encourage bike riding or shuttles are nice, nice is about all those will accommodate. The fact of the matter is, very, very few, if any people, are going to take up bike riding. It is just fantasyland thinking to believe they will. Even shuttles. People just are not going to drop their car and start dealing with the hassle and unpleasantries and coordination of dealing with a shuttle any more than they will with a bus, especially since most people are going to more than just Trader Joe’s when they are out. In fact, look at who rides those shuttles at the supermarkets that offer them — only the people who otherwise ride the bus, meaning it doesn’t reduce car traffic one iota.

    So, the need here is a realistic amount of parking so cars don’t back up into the street waiting for a space. And the only way to do that would be a two-story parking structure on site — because a far-flung parking lot is not going to get people to it, they will continue to back up at the parking on site.

    That store complex there should have been built with more parking in the first place. This issue is going on all over the city, and our Neighborhood Council has again and again only exacerbated the problem.

  14. How is having a meeting going to generate more parking spaces now that they have expanded? This issue should have been dealt with before they expanded.

  15. The only real realistic way to get people to use cars less and consequently lower pollution and dependence of foreign oil is to to make it less convenient (be it traffic, parking or cost) than other forms of transport. In a 180 degree disagreement with Henry (sorry Henry), I like that TJs has awful parking. In fact I would like them to have to slowly reduce the amount of parking slowly over time rather than make increase space. As some # of people each month finally get fet up enough to try alternatives (foot, bike, bus, etc.) they find out that it is not so bad and indeed becomes preferred to the car. I know that it is difficult if you live at the top of the hill on streets with no sidewalks (of course if there were fewer cars we wouldn’t need sidewalks!) or have a large family to try to go without the car, but like any situation, one can adapt and make do. After all, is it less “difficult” that our planet is dangerously warming at an alarming pace and that people are dying in wars for oil, both of which will only get worse as oil becomes more scarce? Like the drug problem were small use here seems absurdly far removed from the aggregate harm it causes half way across the globe, our individual casual use of oil in aggregate also has grave unintended consequences.

    ….to be fair I should say that although I try to keep it to a minimum, I too own a car and drive though never to TJ’s, because I am one of those I described who discovered that the drawbacks of walking or biking to TJ’s (bought side baskets for the bike which are great and I live on a hill) are far less than those of driving there which led me to expand that idea to do the same with most other errands. If it weren’t for the parking nightmare at TJ’s I might have stayed more car dependent. Thus for me, I like that TJ’s has awful parking.

  16. charles herman-wurmfeld

    i am also in 100 percent disagreement with henry. the cost of free parking is only climbing and we will NEVER meet our needs. over and over highway and parking construction for automobiles proves itself a loosing game. build another lane, it will fill to capacity and beyond, build more parking and it will do the same.

    the real costs are too many to outline completely here – but among them our childrens health – lung capacity of LA children statistically reduced from children in cleaner, less car pollluted cities; plus the staggering death rates associated with automobiles. 50,000 americans die every year in cars…avoiding these stark realities is the true fantasy land.

    on the lighter side, we sacrifice our public space to roads, space that might be parks for (currently overweight) kids to play. we sacrifice the potential for living, breathing streets to car hegemony.

    we need a marshall plan to re-create LA public transit that is comprehensive, and bikeways throughout the town (these are coming). the zoning is a great place to start. re-write the DNA of our streets. millions of folks will bike if it’s safe, and easy, and as socially promoted as the automobile.

    i was at the council meeting last night, and it looks as if TJ’s will consider sacrificing the first parking spot (right when you enter the lot – one that’s impossible to get in/out of anyway) to create a proper bike corral where 10 bikes could safely park. if they do this it’s a huge victory and one that we will hopefully replicate across the neighborhood.

  17. Leonardo Calupowicz

    Wide sidewalks lined with shade trees, dedicated bike lanes, bike parking, public water fountains, open facades that invite in…
    The days of the reign automobile are numbered – gas prices, congestion, health – and outmoded designed establishments will not survive unless they adapt and open up to the above mentioned improvements.
    TJ’s is a clear example of bad urbanism = a blind front, open to a parking lot, no tree in sight. They just spent a fortune expanding but did not dedicate any dollars to community oriented improvements.
    Bravo to the SLNC to bring it to their attention.
    It makes good business sense.

  18. The awful parking situation at TJ’s is not going to get me to ride a bike from Echo Park to Silver Lake. The lack of parking at TJ’s inspired me to start shopping at Fresh & Easy instead and they have a HUGE parking lot. Bliss!

  19. Half the problem is the incredibly poor parking lot space plan.
    If they changed the entire lot to one-way and repainted rows to reflect that. ie: you would only be able to enter the parking lot at one of the two entrances.
    Right now its a free-for-all where you can drive in every conceivable direction with a giant open space in the middle.
    It makes no sense.
    I park on Griffth Park Blvd (always tons of spaces open) and walk the half block, but that seems like too much trouble for most Angelenos who need to park as close as possible to their destination.

  20. @EP4ME, not kidding here….why not ride from Echo Park? You should give the bike a try before you say no. Both Sunset Blvd and Griffith Park have existing designated bike lanes which means that, unusally in this city, most of your trip TJ’s trip would be on designated bike lanes. It would be about a 20min ride (same as the car at traffic times). I ride much farther than that to work and to downtown to go to the market in Little Tokyo and it is no problem at all….actually a pleasant experience.

  21. As a parent of a teenager that has permanent brain damage from being hit by a car on his bike on Sunset Blvd., I think everyone on the roads on bikes is crazy. The City of Los Angeles is not bike friendly! Lots of talk and plans but this city is not there yet. You are riding along on a bike lane and then it disappears and your in
    the way of cars. Please be careful, so many of you are riding without helmets.

  22. As has been said, we already have put in bike lanes on many streets. I have not seen a single extra person riding a bike because of it. It is fantasyland to think they will.

    My friends who are most vociferous about people giving up their cars and taking the bus or riding a bike NEVER do so. And they drive an SUV besides! I berate them for this hypocrisy, but they continue with it anyway.

    I’ll bet everyone who is saying to walk or ride owns a car. They own it because it is decidedly the preferred choice as it is more often than not a necessity, much less a great convenience and time saver.

    You see, this talk from MOST people, not all, is really intended for what someone else should do. Because for themselves, they are going to drive. If that statement were wrong, you would see tons of bicyclers on the streets – but they just are not there.

    Re the talk of getting rid of the car, if you want to go back to the horse and buggy, you will have an economy at that level too. Say good bye to your jobs, and everything else in your life. The economy we live in and want CANNOT run without cars.

    Its a nice idea. But it is just flat out deeply unrealistic as a matter of routine.

    Also, as for air pollution, that is on the way out from cars anyway. We are moving to electric cars now, and soon will be moving to fuel cell cars. Both are zero emissions. So, making it impossible to use them isn’t going to do anything for air pollution.

    With that change on the way, the only issue is congestion.

  23. I’d rather forage through a trash bin for food than be subjected to the pretentious “im on my cell phone when i shop because im afraid to be alone” atmosphere that Silver Lake trader Joes.

    Yes, really

  24. Why don’t they combine MJs and Trader Joes into one huge gay/grocery combination?

  25. My wife and I just moved from Hyperion 2 months ago. The traffic is bad not because TJ’s expanded but because everyone uses Silver Lake as a pass through to get to the freeway. Until the Silver Lake council can get traffic diverted out of Silver Lake this is all self serving nonsense.

    The other thing TJ’s has become is a cesspool of pseudo Europeans Biodegreenable righteous hyprocrites. Look at the gas guzzlers coming in and out of the parking lot. The people that shop there drive so recklessly to get their organic bread and put the bike rider and pedestrians in danger. Again I am a bike rider and lived down the street.

    So the righteous Silver Lake council should look at themselves and their contingency before they get on the high and mighty soap box.

  26. I used to live there in 1978 (when TJ’s was the “HUB”) and silver laker is ABSOLUTELY correct! Traffic has ALWAYS sucked there! in fact, Gelson’s (which was Mayfair) probably has more traffic in and out of it!

  27. to Leonardo –
    “Wide sidewalks lined with shade trees, dedicated bike lanes, bike parking, public water fountains, open facades that invite in…”
    The place you describe is called Orange County, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita and many, many, other cities. L.A. is “the Car Town”
    always will be.

  28. to tom trujillo, packaging is on topic. plastic is a petroleum-based product. making it creates air pollution. shipping it to china to recycle it also creates air pollution. erika’s point that the refrigeration methods they use are poor is also on topic, as cooling requires a significant amount of fossil fuels. which creates air pollution. no need to be so angry…no? if they are serious about being green, there are a number of different measures they can take, in addition to having more bike racks. it is about looking at the problem holistically and committing to better overall solutions. even as a dedicated biker who bikes 99.9% of the time, i firmly believe that putting up a handful of bike racks outside the shop is window dressing. it is great for the bikers who won’t have to lock up down the street, so kudos for that. but that is a small percentage of the people that shop there. given the volume of what they sell, i would think that the packaging they use and open refrigeration aisles are actually something they can do something about and make a significant step towards being more green.

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *