Parking problems at new health club
Workouts start with walking, thanks to New Year's resolutions, other gyms closing
A shortage of parking at the new 24 Hour Fitness club on Willow Road in Pleasanton has led to new exercises: the parking lot crawl and spot jumping.
On the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, for example, there were often three and four cars waiting for one to leave, and neighboring businesses, such as Shaklee, Polycom and First United Services Credit Union, have put up cones and signs threatening to tow cars that do not belong to employees or customers.
24-Hour Fitness members complain there aren't enough spaces for the demand at the new facility. An informal survey of members arriving and leaving the club didn't turn up a single member who thought parking was adequate.
Gloria Halman, who recently moved to Pleasanton and signed up for a membership, is upset with the parking problem -- and how the club is responding.
"I made a personal trainer appointment during the day and I had to cancel because I couldn't find a parking place," Halman said.
Halman said she'd contacted the club and even emailed 24 Hour Fitness's CEO, Carl Liebert III, but had no luck getting an answer.
"They don't have any notices up ... They don't let anyone know that they're working on it," she said.
Halman isn't alone. A coworker that Halman described as "disgusted" with the situation had signed up her entire family.
"She's ready to just cancel it, because she can't get parking," Halman said.
In fact, Halman said the club has had to hire security because altercations were breaking out in the lot over parking.
Member John Serri called the parking "a really bad situation," adding, "someone messed up."
Serri is hoping for what he called "the January effect" to kick in. That's when the people who signed up for membership as a New Year's resolution return to their normal, if unhealthier, lifestyles.
In a response to calls from the Pleasanton Weekly, 24 Hour Fitness issued a response by email, which reads:
"24 Hour Fitness is aware of the parking situation at our Pleasanton Super-Sport club and is actively working to resolve the issue to make our club more accessible to the local community.
"Some of the steps we have taken to resolve the issue include:
- Re-opening the original Pleasanton club for workouts on January 8 to help accommodate as many members as possible. The club had previously been closed beginning on January 3;
- Providing Members who park at the original Pleasanton club with Black Tie shuttle service Shuttle Runs between the old and new club. Members can park at the old club and take a non-stop shuttle ride to the new Super-Sport. Rides accommodate up to 20 people and last approximately 4 minutes. Shuttle service is offered Monday (through) Friday from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Saturday (through) Sunday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m."
The company is also shuttling employees from that lot to the new club to free up parking at its new location.
The statement concludes that 24 Hour Fitness takes its members concerns "very seriously" and apologizes for the inconvenience.
Jerry Pentin is both a club member and a member of the Pleasanton Planning Commission. He said he works out in the morning and hasn't seen that big a problem but admits parking is problematic at other times.
I've seen signs in the parking lots of the neighbors," he said. "They're trying to address it. I think they're working toward alleviating their parking situation."
Pentin pointed out that the club is running a shuttle bus from its old facility on West Las Positas Boulevard. "They're trying to be good neighbors."
Halman said she's seen that bus but said no schedule has been posted. She said class scheduling is also an issue because the exercise classes are back-to-back so that people have to arrive for a class -- and find parking -- before the previous class is over.
Part of the problem, according to Pentin, is that the inside of the facility is so nice that it's a big draw for new members in addition to those who transferred from the old club.
Plus, he said, "You have all your New Year's resolutioners. It's a perfect storm."
While Pentin is confident the situation will resolve itself, he said the city would likely get involved if it doesn't.
"I'm certain if the parking problem continues, it'll probably be brought back to the zoning board or the Planning Commission," he said.
Planning Commissioner Jennifer Pearce was on the board when 24 Hour Fitness applied for a permit to convert the old Tri-Valley Herald building into a gym a couple of years ago. She said a review indicated there was adequate parking.
Pearce said the Planning Department is aware of the problem -- and that a resolution may be in sight.
"I know that they're aware they have a parking problem. They're working on getting together with Shaklee to get a shared parking agreement," she said. "I raised this issue at the Planning Commission meeting last Wednesday (Jan. 12), and the Planning Department is confident that an agreement is forthcoming."
Pearce, who also called the parking problem "a perfect storm," pointed out that other Pleasanton exercise clubs have closed, which could be compounding the problem. But, she said, "I will continue to bring it up until we feel we have adequate resolution."