I love Trader Joe’s for their prices, for their Joe-Joe’s, for their simmering sauces. But, all the mushy love I have for Trader Joe’s is nearly outweighed by how much I hate it for having absolutely awful parking lots. If you don’t live near one of their new and improved stores – i.e., the ones at Hollywood and Vine or Olympic and Barrington – then you’re stuck with an archaic lot that is a one-way traffic jam from hell. This is my list of the 5 Worst Trader Joe’s Parking Lots in LA.
5. Huntington and Rosemead
The Trader Joe’s on Huntington and Rosemead in the good ol’ San Gabriel Valley shares space with a Petco next door. Often, when Trader Joe’s plays nice and shares its parking lot space with others, the lot actually is not half bad (see, e.g., the parking lot at Santa Monica Blvd. and Martel in WeHo). Not so here. As you can see, the parking lot employs the Loop method. There are two entrances; whether you go with the Blues or the Reds, you’re going to be stuck in a one-way jam somewhere.
4. Santa Monica
Like its brother across town, the Trader Joe’s in Santa Monica also utilizes the Loop method, and also fails spectacularly. There are two entrances: one on Pico, and the other at 33nd (the other end of the loop). Cars inevitably converge, and it’s a bloody fight on who gets to continue through the Loop. Smarter drivers forgo the Loop entirely and opt for one of the spots in front of the entrance, or look for a spot behind the store – but good luck getting there. Those entering on Pico theoretically have a Stop sign to obey, but who listens to red octagons in a parking lot? No one, apparently.
3. Silver Lake
I think of this lot as one where Trader God threw up all the available parking spots into the air and let them fall, along with Traitor Satan, into the pits of Hell. The result: spots scattered awkwardly in a half-Loop around the perimeter of the store. Cars entering or exiting the lot from either entrance on Hyperion sidle uneasily alongside each other, angling for a spot. I’ll let you in on a secret though: if you drive on Hyperion, past this insanity, past the Cheese Store, there is an overflow lot. Park there and save yourself an enormous hassle.
2. La Brea & 3rd
What is worse than a tiny parking lot designed for a large volume of suburban shoppers jonesing for some two buck Chuck? A tiny parking lot designed for a large volume of shoppers jonesing for some two buck Chuck located right off of one of the busiest intersections of the city. For some reason, Trader Joe’s thought this little plot of land was capable of handling not one, but two, ill-fated Loops. If you look carefully at the pic below, you can make out the arrows painted in the lot, which, I guess, are supposed to tell you where to go. In practice, the arrows make no sense: they don’t guide you to safety any more than the footsteps do at Ikea.
1. Arroyo Parkway
This is the OG TJ’s, circa 1967. The template of its future stores, including, apparently, its horrible parking. The lot is a labyrinth and the parking slots are tiny beyond tiny (as my friend pointed out, “only a clown car” could squeeze in the spots). Overall, the lot is ill-equipped to handle the density of traffic and the vanity of Los Angeles (gigantormous Lexus SUVs hogging 2+ spaces, I am looking at you). Yes, I would like to know how Trader Joe’s came up with the Loop and Other Urban Parking Lot Nightmares, but what I really want to know is: How did the people in the yellow box get in and out of their cars?
That’s my list. What’d I miss?