More bad news for 16 Ave.
UPDATED: 2009-04-09 02:54:57 MST
Construction-weary business owners brace for eight weeks of lane closures
By JENNA MCMURRAY, SUN MEDIA
Shop owners along the 16 Ave. corridor, already frustrated by decrease in business due to construction, are bracing for more headaches.
Starting Monday, there will be eight weeks worth of lane closures along 16 Ave. N.W. as part of the North Urban Corridor Project and businesses located on the traffic artery say they've already lost too many customers since the project began in July 2005.
"We don't get the drive-by traffic we used to and our sales have dropped 20% to 30%," said Stuart McAllister, owner of the Cat 'n' Fiddle pub, which has been located at 540 16 Ave. N.W. for 15 years.
"We'll never get that back I don't think. The damage is already done."
Forecasting the drop in sales for businesses due to limited access from the construction, the city launched the Wide Open campaign in 2007 -- a two-phase promotional initiative including flags reading "16th Ave. Shops Are Open For Business."
"We wanted to raise awareness that the businesses were open during construction," said Jennifer De Vries of Transportation Infrastructure at the city. "It's aimed at getting motorists to stop."
But Cameron Treleaven, owner of Aquila Books, located at 826 16 Ave. N.W. for 18 years, said the campaign has done nothing.
"It's an absolute waste of money and I've complained on so many levels, but there's nothing I can do," he said.
"I've had so many customers say, 'I don't come because I don't know how to get there.'
"We will not make up what we've lost."
The $89-million project will wrap up this year. Land acquisition problems made it impossible for the city to meet its original 2008 deadline, said De Vries.