Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Apr 11, 2014 11:04 AM

Whole Foods parking hell

A few weeks back, I ranted about the tiny lot at the tiny Whole Foods on River Road. Of course, the Clarendon lot is notoriously bad. And the garage at the WFM up in White Flint (ahem "Bethesda North") has been a horror show since day one. Narrow aisles, narrow turns, poorly lit. One of the managers there told me that the garage is the number one complaint up there. We won't park in that garage - we look for street parking. And now Friendship Heights, which has a nice garage - well-lit, wide aisles - has become a hassle, too. They validate your parking ticket. Then you go into one of the two exit lanes and pray that the gate will actually go up when you put your validated ticket into the machine. This has been going on for months. No one seems interested in fixing it. Today I was stuck in line for nearly 20 minutes. The right-hand gate worked sometimes but then someone would get stuck. Meanwhile, the parking attendant was trying to get the left-hand gate to go up. The car was occupied by someone who has a monthly parking pass and would rather sit there for 15 minutes while she tried to get it to work rather than just pay a few bucks. I actually offered to pay the fee so he could get out of there and the rest of us stuck behind him could get out.

Yeah I know. First world problems. Still...GRRRRRRR.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Welcome to living in the city/burbs. Parking space is a premium no mater where you are in this area and it is only going to get worse. Of course, I used to hate the lot at the White Flint WF, but then I learned to just go down to the second level where I could always find a space without having to worry about how tight things were because of the other drivers, especially those who feel the need to drive a huge SUV to transport their one child.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dinwiddie

      The problem at White Flint and Friendship Heights is not lack of parking. It's crappy parking. I have a small Honda, not a SUV, and the garage at White Flint is tight for my car. The problem at River Road is that the county should NEVER have approved that space for a popular grocery store. The parking was inadequate from the start. And there is only one entrance/exit. So bad design...they need an exit at the far corner of the lot for people who are turning right. That would help to alleviate congestion.

    2. The small WF in Falls Church has a parking lot that is astoundingly rude.

      1. Parking lots ain't what they used to be. When I know I'm going to buy something at the Clarendon Whole Foods, I'll park in the garage across the street. They validate parking there, but you really have to convince a cashier to stamp your ticket if you didn't buy anything.

        The lot for the Whole Foods in Falls Church is large and not difficult to navigate, but with a gym and several restaurants, it's usually pretty crowded.

        At the Clarendon Trader Joes, you validate your own ticket whether you buy something or not, but that garage is a horror to drive through, it seems that every parking space is next to a large pole, and there isn't a clear route from the entrance to the "designated" Trader Joe's spaces.

        3 Replies
        1. re: MikeR

          Go to the second level of the garage for the Clarendon TJs. Much easier.

          1. re: Lori D

            If you mean the second level down, that's usually where I end up. I should probably just go there directly rather than cruise the entry level for a space, eh?

            It's against my nature to pay for parking, whether in a garage or at a meter on the street, when I'm shopping at a place where I expect free parking such as a large grocery store or restaurant that isn't deeply "downtown". If I can't park reasonably close for free, I'll go elsewhere.

            1. re: MikeR

              depends on time of day -- the 2d level is only open after 5 and on w/e.

        2. Ha! This is one of the reasons I stopped going to Whole Foods. Their garages are a nightmare of entitled people who either (a) have no idea how to park, (b) have serious anger management issues, (c) drive a tank that they can't see out of or (d) all of the above. The Trader Joes in Old Town has a garage and I never use it. I'd rather park a block away and walk than deal with these idiots. The only grocery garage I've never had a problem in is the Harris Teeter near Potomac Avenue and it's probably because I go during lunch and there's no crowds.

          2 Replies
          1. re: monkeyrotica

            That TJ's parking situation is a pain in the arse.

            1. re: monkeyrotica

              lots of special snowflakes shopping in the WF in clarendon, for sure. oblivious, many of them. simply oblivious.


              Check out this video. Too funny! I think this was shot in CA, but it should apply.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Kat

                I'm about to check out.
                Pay my 80 bucks for 6 things and get the heck out.