Alba Village parking leaves shoppers in a tight spot

I've heard several complaints from people about the parking lot at the Trader Joe's/REI shopping center, and now having been there, I can see what they are talking about.

All the traffic has to go in and out one narrow exit, which means it is often backed up in both directions. And the parking lot itself doesn't seem to be big enough to handle the crowd. (Plus the parking spaces are really tiny.)

Doesn't somebody review this kind of thing before it's built?

— Joyce L., Medford

The current parking arrangement outside REI and Trader Joe's is "awkward," but there's more to come, Medford planning officials said.

The 8-acre Alba Village is only the first component of the 84-acre Northgate Centre Marketplace, developed and designed by Regency Centers, a national retail development company.

According to the master plan, the marketplace will occupy three quadrants of the "Big X," where North Pacific Highway and Highway 238 cross, and will include additional and, hopefully, more convenient parking options, said Medford principal planner Kelly Akin.

"We have a general layout of what it will look like, but we have not seen an actual application to begin building the next phases," she said.

The current parking lot is in compliance with Oregon Transportation Commission's Standards for Accessible Parking Places and was approved by Medford's Architectural Commission. The spaces are 8 feet wide and 19 feet long, and the aisles are 24 feet wide, which is average, Akin said.

However, the congestion is the result of having only one entrance.

Akin said planners discussed adding a second entry point between the roundabout and Central Avenue but were concerned it would impede traffic along the street.

"It's possible the access may change as the project develops, but right now, there is no where else to park," she said.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.


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