CityTarget opens with bikes on billboards, but access an afterthought (UPDATED)

CityTarget opens with bikes on billboards, but access an afterthought (UPDATED)

City Target billboard

City Target is using bikes to market their new downtown Portland store.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The nation’s smallest Target, which opened its doors on the west end of Portland’s downtown Wednesday, was happy to use bikes in their marketing campaign.

“I’m all for Target jumping on the bike bandwagon, but you’d think they’d put some parking in.”
— David Backes, customer

That makes sense — the store’s urban location and lack of free auto parking mean that the retail giant is banking on bikes to bring in plenty of its customers.

But making it easy to park a bike nearby? Maybe the site managers never got the memo.

Three days before its grand opening Sunday is expected to swamp the joint with bargain-hunters, bikes had already filled the three bike staples and all the sidewalk fixtures outside the new store at Southwest 10th Avenue and Morrison.

David Backes, who works nearby, stopped by Thursday afternoon to check the place out. He ended up wheeling his bike up and down the sidewalk outside.

“I’m all for Target jumping on the bike bandwagon, but you’d think they’d put some parking in,” Backes said.

Looking for parking.
(Photos © M.Andersen/BikePortland)

The two-floor discount store, which the retailer calls a “CityTarget” for its compact urban feel and neighborhood-oriented product selection, is big news for Portland’s already-bustling downtown, the city’s most prosperous retail area. Portland Monthly reported this month that former Mayor Sam Adams “once described practically stalking company execs” in order to land the tenant, which has signed a 15-year lease for the space and is expected to serve as an anchor for the string of smaller retailers on 10th Avenue.

And there is, in fact, bike parking near the new site. It just happens to be down the ramp into an underground parking garage on the other side of the block. It’s not marked — the parking attendant I talked to was confused when I asked him about it — but it is there. There’s a pair of elevators nearby — but they don’t currently stop at Target’s floors, so the only way to reach the store after parking a bike there is to walk up the parking ramp, which includes a painted stripe that seems to be intended for pedestrians, and back around the block.

Here’s the bike parking entrance:

And here’s the bike parking (presumably intended for employees):

It’s possible that there are big plans in the works for bike parking near CityTarget. Like any major landlord in Portland, Target can request a bike corral and would almost certainly get one if it asked; maybe they’re on the waiting list. It’s also possible that there are unusual restrictions on the sidewalks surrounding the Galleria that somehow prevent more than the three existing staples from being installed outside this major new retailer.

Or maybe not. Three days ago, Target’s lead spokeswoman for the launch said she’d need to “gather some bike-specific details” before answering any questions about parking. If she ever gets back in touch, we’ll let you know.

Update: Target spokeswoman Erika Winkels did get in touch this morning with an apology for the delay to clarify that there’s no bike parking on the site. “What is available is what the city has provided,” she said. “Given the location of the store, we recognize that many of our guests will arrive on foot or via mass transit.”

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