I may be in a small group of people, but I’ve only gone downtown to work, not shop unless by shopping you mean for lunch or occasionally dinner. It’s a heavily compacted place, the parking is terrible so if I need something like say an HDTV, I’m going to Costco or Stonestown or Serramonte where the parking is free and it’s easier to get your purchase to your car.
There is lots of fun stuff to do on Market street, but it’s all on foot. Street parking is a disaster and there are few parking garages which are all expensive, so the current idea of putting a mid-market shopping area has me scratching my head. There is rum0r that J.C. Penny will be an anchor store. If I go there and purchase a bed, how exactly am I going to get it to my car? Will they have people who will move it to the parking garage for me?
I like the suburbaness of the Sunset and Richmond districts. It’s where most of us live and the thought of living downtown is out of the question for me. I have two friends that live downtown. One lives in the equivalent size of a jail cell and the other couple with a plush 2 bedroom condo in SOMA is just a little bigger than my garage. Getting stuff you purchase in and out of a place in this area is ridiculous and usually involves a traffic ticket for double parking.
Taking purchases home on the metro or bus is ridiculous unless it’s shoes or clothing because unless it fits in your lap it becomes a disaster. When my wife and I worked downtown we would only leave work to eat and we usually brought our lunches to avoid the high prices at the local restaurants. We have a restaurant out here in the avenues that has another location downtown the difference? The food costs twice as much downtown because the rents are higher. We don’t even go to the Costco in San Francisco because the traffic is such a pain.
I like downtown, but I’d prefer to work there and grab lunch once in awhile than shop. I enjoy my trips to the Ferry Building when I can get down there, but most of the items there fit in a small grocery bag so I’ll hop on the Metro and get off at Embarcadero. We love taking a trip down to the main library, but only on Sundays when the parking is free if you can find it. These are the kind of shops we need downtown not a new Target at the Metreon which means you have to cross to street to get to the parking garage. I doubt the shopping carts would make it that far. Let’s take the Metreon as an example. It’s failed miserably except for the eating areas and the movie theaters, none of which you have to take home with you. Most of the original stores have left and now Target [albeit a smaller one called CityTarget] is moving in. I’ll have to assume they understand that they’ll only be selling small things that you can carry in your hand or a small shopping bag.
Nearby is the Westfield Mall, mostly clothing, services and food. Mostly stuff that will fit in a shopping bag. So I hope CityPlace keeps this in mind when it’s built. When I was talking to my wife she said she liked the stores downtown, but she only browsed and never bought anything unless it fit in her purse. So this is something I hope happens. Mid market does need a clean up, a big clean up, but there also has to be an incentive for people to go there.