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New Target Store Includes Bike Racks, Access Blocked by Shopping Carts

April 21, 2007 Bicycling, Big Box, St. Charles County, Suburban Sprawl 35 Comments

Big box retailer Target just opened a new store in the suburban St. Louis municipality of Dardenne Prairie in a center called, oddly enough, ‘Dardenne Town Center.’  Like most suburban centers this one has some good and bad elements.

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View of Target approaching from sidewalk off Henke Road — Yes, a continuous sidewalk from a public street to a big box front door.  Landscaping, seen in the left of the above image, helps soften an otherwise harsh facade.  This type of greening can easily be included in strip/big box centers without blocking that all important visibility from major roads.  Note the extra shopping carts in the image.

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Above we see a lone cart in the way of one side of bike rack intended for two bikes (one each side, parallel with the carts).  Someone arriving from the adjacent neighborhoods via bike could easily move this single car and secure their bike.  But what if more carts were here?

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You see, Target made the effort to include a total of four such bike racks for a total of eight bike parking spaces.  Unfortunatetly, store staff uses these racks to help align their extra carts outside the store entrance.  The availability of bike parking depends upon the location/use of extra shopping carts.  This is a common, but avoidable, problem if only the planners, architects and engineeres on these projects gave more thought to shopping cart storage and bike parking.  With lots of extra room along the front of the store, bike parking could have easily been located elsewhere and have avoided conflicts with the carts.  Again, this is a brand new store — only open for a few months now.

The Dardenne Town Center was developed by Opus Northwest, the same developers at the Park East tower in St. Louis’ Central West End neighborhood. Thankfully, Dardenne Prairie is working with urban planners from the firm DPZ on a real town center.  Designers from DPZ already have suggestions on how to improve this newly built retail “power center” which includes a JC Penny, Shop-N-Save and numerous smaller stores and a few restaurants.


Currently there are "35 comments" on this Article:

  1. Jeff Jackson says:

    I wonder if the people that constructed the new Target even informed them (employees) that they are “bike racks”? Maybe that is the problem.

    Keep Cycling!

  2. Dole says:

    While it is annoying the carts are in the way, I am impressed that Target is making an effort! Making the effort counts for something.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Yes, Target is a bit more progressive than other national retailers.  However, their designers are failing them by placing the racks in the ideal spot for extra carts.  And in reality they don’t really need parking for more than 2-3 bikes which would have been easier to place out of the way of the carts and more visible to the public for safety.  This is a failure of the design staff.]

  3. My “power shopping area” is already walkable from my apartment and includes these stores, minus shop and save, along with other smaller shops. A 15 minute Metro ride gets me Downtown to other various small boutiques as well as Macy’s. While DPZ’s planned Downtown is a big advantage over traditional suburbia, it is still a self contained walkable environment surrounded by auto centric development. So, good for the suburbs, yet without a transit system it is limited. One needs a car to get from point A to B, even though while visiting A and B one walks around.

  4. Jim Zavist says:

    Have you checked out the covered bike parking in the garage at the Target at Hampton and Chippewa? Secure, clear, and unused . . .

  5. Jim Zavist says:

    At least the carts aren’t blocking the fire exits (another common faux pas on the part of Target employess)!

  6. Ted Wight says:

    The Post had an article in the Metro section today which said The St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation just got a grant for $50,000 to put in 200 -300 bike racks. They are having a contest for the design: http://www.stlbikefed.org You must submit your design by May 20th.

  7. LisaS says:

    ^^^Correcting Mr. Wight’s link: http://www.stlbikefed.org. thanks for the heads-up, it looks like a fun competition!

    [UrbanReviewSTL — I fixed his link, thanks for noticing.]

  8. insider says:

    call me crazy but, why would you ride a bike to target? how the hell are you going to carry your items home on a bike?

    [UrbanReviewSTL — As the next person said, maybe you are an employee and that is how you get to work.  I know I personally make a lot of trips to stores where I could easily carry the purchases on my bike.  In fact, I have done just that.  You go to the store for that latest CD (although I use iTunes now), some toiletries, maybe a book or magazine, etc…  Not every trip is to purchase a new TV. 

    Also, they make these things called bags, baskets, racks & panniers which can attach to a bicycle and provide substantial storage.  People also use these things called back packs or messenger bags which can hold other items.  You’d be surprised what you can carry on a 2-wheel vehicle.  If you don’t believe me, just click here.]

  9. Steve-O says:

    What if you worked there and simply chose not to own a car?

  10. Ben H says:

    I just biked home from Target with a nice European style dish-drainer. For all those using American style, I highly recommend making the switch.

  11. What makes the dish drainer European? Is it diesel and get 70mpg or something? If we stop using our American turbo-charged V8 dish drainers then the terrorists win!

  12. Tim says:

    I have to say the few times I stop by this site I am always amused with the phrase “auto-centric”. I use a local park out there and I can’t imagine trekking up to that Target from even the nearest subdivision on a bike even to buy a pack of gum. Besides, who has that kind of time in general? This isn’t Manhatten, a trip in my car takes at most 20 minutes and I arrive sweat free. I love the future, I think I’ll stick with it.

    Are those really bike racks? Or are they indeed for the carts?

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Well Tim, a subdivision of roughly 140 homes is directly across Hwy N from this development.  Plus, this subdivision connects over to Post Road with a nearby entrance to the vast expanse of homes within the Winghaven development.  So while I’d not suggest anyone (except the very experienced such as myself) bike along Post, Hwy N, Hanley, Fiese there are some very viable alternative routes to enable a large number of local residents to bike to the Target, Shop-n-Save, JC Penny, the movie theatre (12 screens) or one of several restaurants  — all without getting in their car.  In fact, some of them might be too young to drive but certainly old enough to bike to the store by themselves. 

    And who knows, after a long commute from from someone might actually enjoy getting on their bike and enjoying pleasant weather.  I know this might be a strange concept to you but some people like to bicycle — it can be a great way to slow down and relax.  Yes, it might take a Winghaven resident another 10 minutes to get to Target but if they are not in a hurry, why not? 

    Those are indeed back racks, but they seem to be used as guides to align the carts.]  

  13. Adam says:

    apparently future = gasoline-powered automobiles. we’re doomed.

  14. And still no one has mentioned the Hardley-Ableson parked on the sidewalk… I’m stunned!

  15. Tim says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ll ride a bike 60 miles for the fun of it. But I’ll drive my car to the movies thanks.

    The past = streets filled with horse manure and muck. Not to mention the air filled with coal smoke so think it covers your clothes after five minutes. No thanks, I think I’ll hang out here in the future where I can ride my bike for the fun of it and drive my car for the pure convenience of getting places with ease.

  16. john says:

    “Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of mankind” , H.G. Wells

    There is a Target in my neighborhood (over 1500 homes nearby) that I or my wife ride our bikes to frequently. The cars that we see along the way never seem to get there as quickly as we do and spend too much time trying to get in and out of the parking lot. Convenience for some creates great bottlenecks for others.

  17. Craig says:

    Tim, where have you been all of my life, my long-lost brother!

  18. Ben H says:

    auto-centric as a concept… could be amusing under the right circumstances. To my knowledge its not an insult, just a quantifiable description of a place. Maybe it is misplaced guilt that causes the reaction.
    I have a car. I drive it almost 10k a year for various things. But i bike places because it makes me feel good. If you “cant imagine” biking to Target, then its not for you, thats fine. Why be so hostile to the whole idea, are you actually opposed to having usable bike racks at target? Is this a real debate, or just akin to throwing the proverbial chinese food at a cyclist?
    I bike for the convenience of getting places with ease and drive my car for the fun of it. Seriously.
    Which is the future? who knows. I love biking to work and do it 4 days/week 9 months/year. To work, door-door travel times are car 15 min, bike 20 min. I also bike to Schnucks, Target, etc as much as possible. The sweat can be an issue, but it can be worked around. I dont feel entitled to be whisked around at 70 deg. Future promises, but future’s promises are fickle.

  19. Adam says:

    so now instead of coal smoke the air is filled with smog and exaust. thank goodness it doesn’t dirty my garments though.

    tim, if you lived five block from a movie theater would you still drive? how about ten blocks? driving for the sake of driving is, unfortunately, still wasteful.

  20. Tim says:

    The phrase auto-centric sounds like a phrase used by people that want to go back to a “better time” or worse, force me to go with them via central planning. I can’t say I feel “entitled” to drive around in 70 degree comfort. Being able to is the result of someone saying, “this sucks” as they trudged along in the elements taking up time that could be better spent elsewhere. Like inventing the automobile or central air.

    To answer the question yes, I would drive. This is not as hypothetical as you might have thought. I did indeed live two blocks from a theater and always drove there. In fact just last night I drove to the “auto-centric” Loughbourogh Commons, parked in front of Schnucks did some shopping, got back in my car and drove to Lowes. I guess this explains how I put nearly 25,000 miles on my car in less than a year.

    In general I stand by my belief that we here in the future are much better off. I’m going to enjoy my extra 36 years on average to live since 1900. I’m going to take comfort that world chronic hunger has dropped from 36% to 17% from 1970 to 2003 all the while with a population growth of 83%. Now if we survive the robot uprising and the alien attack that consultants of the State department have warned us about I think the future is down right great. Just look how much time you have to sit around reading this blog and not out trying to track down something to eat.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — I can appreciate that you like your air conditioned car.  I’m not a fan of humidity and certainly enjoy AC.  However, as humans we are all different and some people enjoy walking, biking or scootering.  Why not build places that are accessible to everyone — by whatever mode they prefer?  Auto-centric, in my mind, means an area is auto friendly to the point of excluding other choices — forcing everyone to use a car whether they want to or not.  We know, today, it is entirely possible to built areas that are as friendly to motorists like yourself as well as those on foot, bike, scooter, transit or motorcycle.  We have the means and knowledge to accommodate nearly everyone.

    As the world begins to replace food crops with crops to create “green” fuels like ethanol & bio-diesel look for hunger issues to increase, including here in the US.]

  21. Ben H says:

    Dont look at it as modern vs old-fashioned. I live a fully modern life in addition to regularly using a bicycle. I’ll take the benefits of technological advancement, without putting faith in everything it has to offer. I dont think that every so called labor-saving device from the last 100 years has improved my life. Whatever helps you, I have no problem with that. You have to do what you think is right.
    Ultimately, my opinion is the auto centric lifestyle is unsustainable, for societal and economic reasons, espescially on a global scale. The lifestyle that we expect automobiles to provide may not even be available within a relatively short period, given unpredictable circumstances.

  22. Tim says:

    In short it boils down to this. The developers of lets say a strip mall with a grocery store and a hardware store probably do a bit of research on who will be coming to their shopping center and how they will get there and plan accordingly. I’m going out on a limb here but I bet by foot or bike isn’t a big percentage. So I find all this talk about there not being a more pedestrain friendly entrance a little pointless. I’d like to ride a horse there but there aren’t any hitching posts either.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Uh, no.  Most developers look at what tenant will require and what is the least they have to do so comply with local codes.  If the city, such as Wentzville, has a landscaping requirement they do that.  Without such a requirement, you get a treeless parking lot.  If the city requires bike parking, you get some bike racks.  Target wants the appearance of a youthful lifestyle so they include some token racks even though not required.  I would imagine in part of the country where you have concentrations of the Amish you might see a few hitching posts.]

  23. Craig says:

    Tim is exactly right. Retailers are very good at making money. The publicly traded retailers even have a legal duty to make money.

    If retailers had a large contingent of customers who wanted to ride bikes to their stores then they would build bike racks. You wouldn’t have to write such a requirement into a zoning code or depend on public pressure from a blog to get them installed.

    Undoubtedly, there are some people who want to ride bikes to these places. But they are not great in number. No one should have to accomodate the preferences of every vocal minority.

    That being said, if a company is going to install the bike racks, they might as well make sure that at least one is functional.

  24. Tim says:

    So you’re saying that Frontenac Plaza only looks nice because of the zoning laws? I think your point has stunned me into some sort of stupor. Um, wow, in the simplest way I can put this consumers rule the world. Without them and their votes (dollars) they go out of business. I suppose without the benevolent planners that come up with the zoning laws regarding “landscaping” all shopping centers would be as sterile as an East Berlin apartment building.

    “That being said, if a company is going to install the bike racks, they might as well make sure that at least one is functional.”

    Oh, yeah, right there with you. I’m guessing the poor kid that has to push the carts saw them as a great tool to keep the rows straight. He’s probably thinking about pushing carts all day on the parking lot and how he can’t wait to clock out because it’s so very hot.

  25. Adam says:

    “To answer the question yes, I would drive. This is not as hypothetical as you might have thought. I did indeed live two blocks from a theater and always drove there.”

    frankly, that’s just irresponsible.

  26. Skewgee says:

    although these bike racks are not being used for cart storage, they are suspiciously devoid of something else using them – bikes. as seen outside the target store @ hampton & chippewa in st louis, mo.

    sorry steve

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Here is another example of not understanding basics.  This Target again installed four racks (same type, BTW) yet turned them the wrong direction as intended.  To properly use these racks you’d place your bike parallel to the storge which means bikes would conflict with each other.  Either the person that did the drawings or the contractor screwed up.  Even worse is the location — a very good distance from the entryway.  I would not trust my bikes at these racks as someone could be sawing  through the lock and not be noticed by people entering/existing the store.]

  27. Jim Zavist says:

    Wal·Mart with hitch posts:

  28. Webby says:

    Hey Steve, have you seen the new bike “racks” next to the Starbucks on the Kingshighway sidewalk at the Southtown Center? Just wondering what you think of the placement…

    [UrbanReviewSTL — I’ve seen them but not up close.  I heard they are placed in the middle of the sidewalk — so that if being used for bikes they will block a large part of the sidewalk.  I will be checking out the one near Starbucks later today.]

  29. Gary Smith says:

    I’m glad you’re taking up the banner for access to bike racks at retail outlets such as Target. I appreciate Target’s forethought in planning bike racks for its facility in Dardenne Prairie, but it’s obvious from Steve’s comment that employees need to be aware of the purpose behind these racks. Now we can hope other retailers and shopping center designers follow the lead set by Opus Northwest and Target in addressing the needs of local cyclists.

    Gary Smith, President and founder, http://www.abloccycles.com

  30. BruceMcF says:

    “Auto-centric” refers to the heavy public and private subsidization of the car, and associated network of rules, regulations,, tax breaks and private investment catering to the large majority that either choose to or have no alternative but to drive a car to get around.

    Of course, someone able to imagine an alternative is far more likely to notice auto-centric development. However, I doubt that most people imagine leaving the second half of the twentieth century by going back to the second half of the nineteenth. Most imagine going foreward into the twenty-first century as we leave the age of Auto Uber Alles behind.

  31. Darryl says:

    All those carts shouldn’t be eating up the part where the bike racks are.

  32. billi says:

    Same deal at my local target, the bike racks are cart storage. I sent Target an e-mail with some suggestions for improvement. Decent bike racks are available cheap. I’m going to bring this up next time I talk to some folks at our local bike organization.

  33. wehaye17 says:

    Sidewalks should be used only for pedestrians not to park a motorcycle or the other. The government should strictly enforce the law and the developer have a neighbor park planning. Thank a lot.

  34. youaredumb says:

    some people cant afford a car and they should have the ability to secure their bike while they shop. considering what target does, low cost goods for the masses, i would venture to guess that at least some dont have, or cant afford, a car. petroleum is a limited resource that harms our environment in more than a couple of ways. perhaps more people would ride their bike if bike racks and lanes were available. 2 blocks and you cant ride your bike? come on tim, be a man. 

  35. youaredumb says:

    some people cant afford a car and they should have the ability to secure their bike while they shop. considering what target does, low cost goods for the masses, i would venture to guess that at least some dont have, or cant afford, a car. petroleum is a limited resource that harms our environment in more than a couple of ways. perhaps more people would ride their bike if bike racks and lanes were available. 2 blocks and you cant ride your bike? come on tim, be a man. 


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