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CHS Pics | New gates at Harvard Market

A first in the world, sensor and camera-filled, checker-less grocery store backed by a $938 billion retailing giant just opened down the street.

Harvard Market, the Capitol Hill shopping center at Pike and Broadway, and its QFC have added… new parking access control equipment.

Don’t scoff. The improvement has been a long time in coming as the property’s owners responded to calls for increased safety efforts around the center following a deadly parking lot shooting there last year.

The addition of the access gates included a changeover in the lot’s payment system and will help keep the area clear at night where nightlife crowds have regularly gathered.

The Harvard Market QFC itself is also lined up for investment by the chain’s corporate parents. CHS reported last summer on a $1.65 million overhaul being planned for the busy grocery as it faces increased competition from Amazon.

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26 thoughts on “CHS Pics | New gates at Harvard Market

  1. I was there last week after they turned the gates on. The issue I had was that in order to validate my parking for the retailers at the parking lot level, such as Bartells where I was shopping, I had to go down inside the QFC after running my errands. It was inconvenient and took longer than picking up my prescription in the first place. If I were a Harvard Market tenant on that upper level, I’d prepare for a decrease in customers.

    • That is a challenge. I take my pets to Banfield, which means at some point, I will have to be exiting with animals. Here’s hoping the figure out how to handle it more efficiently; I am not willing to lock my pets in the car once summer comes, and vet visits aren’t always seasonally convenient.

    • Ooink tried to validate my ticket but the machine didn’t take any $ off. I didn’t have time to address it (and someone was already in line behind me so I couldn’t back up) so I just paid and left with a negative feeling.

    • The copy size is actually great, thanks for making it this way! I am sure they are trying to make sure the website serves the whole community, and this includes many who are older and/or vision impaired and cannot read small print. You’ve also got great contrast going. Really appreciate it, even if Mark doesn’t.

  2. The 8 foot high clearance bars cause a lot of problems for the UPS drivers with their trucks who have to load all the boxes on to push carts because they can’t access the parking level. And it’s always been an inconvenience

  3. I wish they’d allow Bartell’s to validate parking, but it probably means a fee that Bartells doesn’t with to pay (since they seem pretty keen at this juncture in just closing up shop and leaving Seattle proper).

    THAT’S where I have to wait for 20 minutes to fill a prescription for my kid. Last time I was there it took 20 minutes and the guy told me I need to go to QFC or pay the 8 dollars for twenty minutes. I told him by the time I parked, went to QFC, asked for validation (and I guess, probably have to buy something?) it would have been over 30 minutes and they would charge me anyway.

    After some nice, totally (not) calm further one-way discussion that came completely out of my own mouth, they raised the gate. I’ve since changed where I get my prescriptions and won’t have to deal with that problem anymore. A shame, I liked the Harvard Market, but I’m not into dealing with the fact that I can go buy a latte at QFC Starbucks and get validated but not get medicine at get validated.

    • I’ve moved all my scrips to Walgreens. The Bartell and Rite-Aid on Broadway staff their pharmacies in ways that almost seem like they’d rather not be there.

      About the parking, I think it’s worth the minor pain the ass in order to decrease the amount of loitering that’s going on. I’m sure they’ll iron out any kinks within a few months.

    • @CS – You don’t have to buy anything at QFC, there’s an automatic validation machine by the elevators and you just scan your ticket.

      @iluvcaphill – We’re pretty lucky to have a locally owned and operated pharmacy chain in our region. CVS has tried to buy them out several times and now is straight up challanging their business in several locations. I’ll keep supporting them with my business, but as a resident of South Cap Hill/CD I’m halfway to a few Bartells and while I prefer the one on Broadway, the parking validation issues might send me to a different location

      • We really tried to keep Bartell as our pharmacy, but the service was just so bad and the lines so long it was untenable. Regence also has Walgreens as a preferred provider so the co-pays are much lower there if there are any at all. I’m all for spending a bit more to buy local, but they have to be able to provide service. The Walgreens usually has 2 techs on staff plus a pharmacist. The Bartell and Rite Aid often didn’t have a tech and the pharmacist would be alone. Both companies need to regroup and figure out that part of their business.

  4. Can someone explain how swing arms are going to stop groups of people walking in and loitering, let a lone someone with a gun? How will this be any more effective than their previous non-efforts? From the linked article, the ownership already has the lot monitored, and previous attempts at limiting access were ineffective.

    Somehow, I doubt this effort will have any different result, but I’m open to being proven wrong.

    • Most criminals follow the path of least resistance with everything they do. The gates are a minor barrier, but they indicate boundaries between private property & public streets and will probably serve to keep some of the worst, dangerous people away. Bad people sometimes congregated there at night because SPD officers – who are already stretched thin – tend to stick to public streets and sidewalks. I’ve been going to that Bartells for years, and often see some very sketchy people doing business in their dark-tinted cars, even during daylight hours. I think the gates also may be a way to fend off legal liability, since we know people love to sue deep pockets, even when they are the ones causing the mayhem that often results in violence.

    • Most of this loitering involved vehicles being parked there after all of the businesses were closed. So this will help exponentially, but nothing will stop everything.

  5. There are only 2 validation machines. One at QFC. The other at the UPS store. And that one is for their customers only. The QFC machine is open to everyone. As to why businesses upstairs don’t have validating machines. Well, they cost $3k each. Which is why only two businesses have them.

  6. What I do not understand is why they had to make it so that you can only enter from Union and only Exit at Harvard? Why not leave it like it was where you can enter and exit at both?

    As far as the validation goes Bartell’s made a business decision to send their customers down to QFC to get parking validation. All one has to do is scan their ticket it takes a few seconds but the elevator ride is often not so quick. Bartell’s could have spent the $3000 on a validation machine like the UPS store did but they seem to feel customers won’t mind going down to QFC. People will decide by taking their business elsewhere, or not.

    UPS trucks have always loaded and unloaded on Harvard ST because they can’t fit onto the upper parking lot due to size, weight and other constraints so nothing changed for them other than the fact that there are now two lanes exiting the parking area on Harvard ST. This creates it’s own issues. What if two vehicles are exiting at the same time and both are turning right it becomes a you go first, no you go first then you add pedestrians and it is really chaotic sometimes.

    • I was at the Bartell Drugs on Wednesday evening for the first time after the gates were installed and the pharmacy tech told me that their checkout station #2 has a validation machine. That lane was not open, but when I went up front an employee was able to come over and validate it for me. But the machine is not really set up for self service since it is tucked under the checkout counter. Not sure how it will work too when checkout stands are busy (it was quiet when I was their) and the checker may have to run over to the other station to validate.

  7. Today I went to both Bartells and Ooink – was validated for both and ended up paying $8 when I was there for 45 minutes and had 2 @ 1/2 hour each stamps – hopefully they work the bugs out. I’m pretty sure they want people to visit more than one business a visit.

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