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Take The Bus To Bloomingdales

The new Westfield San Francisco Centre, billed as the largest urban shopping center west of the Mississippi, opened on September 28 -- without parking.
October 3, 2006, 7am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"No new parking was built to accommodate the 25 million people a year expected to visit the mall, which has tripled in size (through the addition of 1 million square feet of retail and office space). The decision not to add parking is in keeping with the city's "transit first" policy, which encourages the use of public transportation."

According to Jim Chappell, president of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, on a normal day plenty of parking is available in nearby city garages and smaller private lots. Across the street, the city's largest garage, the 2,585-space Fifth and Mission Garage, is only 60 percent full on average at the busiest time of day.

But what about the busy holiday season?

" 'No shopping center in the world, I don't care if you're in the middle of Kansas, can provide the parking you need between Thanksgiving and Christmas,' Chappell said. 'You have to plan for what a normal day is.' "

"In addition to the nearby cable car lines, historic streetcars and bus routes, visitors can take the new direct entrance from the mall's concourse level to the Powell Station, which serves BART and Muni Metro (underground heavy and light rail, respectively). New BART entry gates were installed near the shopping center's entrance."

"Developers Westfield Group and Forest City paid the city $1.5 million for future parking projects as part of the development deal. They also restriped Mission Street to create a valet parking zone in front of the main Bloomingdale's entrance and will help pay for traffic control officers when needed, including at today's grand opening."

Adding to the parking challenge is the proximity of the Centre to the convention center which draws huge crowds, such as the upcoming Oracle Open World 2006 that expects to draw 41,000 people.

Thanks to ABAG-MTC Library

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, September 28, 2006 in The San Francisco Chronicle
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