Pleasanton Weekly

Cover Story - January 21, 2011

Parking problems at new health club

Workouts start with walking, thanks to New Year's resolutions, other gyms closing

by Glenn Wohltmann

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."


Posted by dwalden, a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2011 at 10:51 am

dwalden is a registered user.

The problem has gotten better now that many people have apparently given up on their new year's resolutions. When 24 Hour first opened in December parking was fine but after the first of the year it got so bad in the afternoon you would have cars circling the parking lot to find a place to no avail.

I understand the potential liability of local businesses who might allow 24 Hour patron parking but really folks, this is a community and if the business adjacent to 24 is closed for the day and their parking lot is empty why be a grouch. Furthermore to pay guards to patrol the entrance to some of the lots to protect their "space" is ridiculous. I am glad that the Weekly posted pictures of some of those signs. Those signs are not good "press" for those businesses and maybe those photos will make the managers of those businesses think before taking action in the future. Being a good neighbor is what Pleasanton is all about.

Posted by Terrible, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm

I was going to join the gym but after circling the lot for 15 minutes to find no parking I gave up.

Posted by KristiPlaya, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm

There is a simple solution to the parking issue at the new 24 Hour facility. The conditions of approval provide for a review by the City if there are parking conflicts. The City can then require mitigation or void the permit.

The process should be commenced as soon as possible.

Not a question of the adjoining property owners being "nice neighbors" but rather solid planning and engineering principles.

Any solution that involves leased off-site parking needs to address pedestrians crossing Willow Rd. and to make sure that the crossing meets City Standards and the Vehicle Code and that liability issues are address for the parties to the lease and the City of Pleasanton.

Posted by Dan, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 22, 2011 at 9:10 am

The new 24-Hour is a great addition to Pleasanton. It is obvious that it was also well needed due to the crowds. The folks at 24-Hour are very well aware of the issue and I am confident they will resolve the issue. They are already taking steps to address the problem. I have noticed a marked difference lately. The club was running a promotion to allow all 24-Hour members to try the new club regardless of membership level (which included members from Livermore, Castro Valley, San Ramon, etc.) and this added to the crowds. Since that promo has ended it seems to have leveled off a bit. I am very pleased with the club and have no regrets switching my membership to this facitiy from another local gym. I hope the neighboring businesses work with 24-Hour as this gym is a huge asset to local companies in the business park. This is not the only gym in town that has parking issues at peak hours, so let's celebrate the fact that our citizens are packing the local health clubs to stay fit. Thanks 24-Hour Fitness for providing a beautiful new facility for us to use at a great price.

Posted by betty the bart rider, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2011 at 9:46 am

Good Point Kristi

With Willow Road used as a main artery to BART, 24 hr fitness members jaywalking with or without kids, could be a huge liability for the City, Business Park, Shacklee and 24 hr. fitness.

Posted by Express is Easy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2011 at 8:44 pm

When the Kathy's/Gold fiasco developed, I went to Express in Rosewood....Big and beautiful facility. I parked at the front door twice yesterday... Friday morning and Friday evening...easy in, easy out. Close, cheap, fast...I'm happy !

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 24, 2011 at 2:00 pm

I'd have to agree with "Express is Easy."
Excellent customer service! Finally a gym that understands what is really important; understanding who uses the gym and what makes them happy!

Posted by Tango, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jan 25, 2011 at 9:17 am

There is a new fitness center opening in the Vintage Hill shopping center. Plenty of parking. Fitness Express.

Posted by Marcus, a resident of another community
on Jun 21, 2011 at 11:12 pm

I really think that some of these post are fake! The problems with the parking still exist at 24hr Fitness on Willow in Pleasanton Ca. It's really sad that @4hr Fitness ignored a petition that 243 members signed stating that they were unhappy with the parking not to metion the cheap machines that they replaced the old machines with. The new machines are not ergonomically sound at all. Many members are getting injured because of the bad decisions that the buyer made.


Web Link

Posted by marcus, a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 21, 2011 at 11:15 pm

I really think that some of these post are fake! The problems with the parking still exist at 24hr Fitness on Willow in Pleasanton Ca. It's really sad that 24hr Fitness ignored a petition that 243 members signed stating that they were unhappy with the parking not to metion the cheap machines that they replaced the old machines with. The new machines are not ergonomically sound at all. Many members are getting injured because of the bad decisions that the buyer made.


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