Wednesday, October 14, 2009

LRT Construction Impacts Downtown Businesses

The Met Council started the Central Corrdor light rail construction in downtown St. Paul. They are digging up the utilities to prepare for the LRT. Senor Wong restaurant in downtown invited SOBJ and AEDA (our biggest supporter) to see the impact on their business. We spent three hours at the construction site and talking to Senor Wong. They are located at 4th St and Robert. The streets are closed, for three months now. No parking on the street at all. They said they are lucky there's a parking ramp one block away or they be out of business by now. Everything is blocked off. The big construction machines digging everyday. You can't cross anywhere at 4th and Robert to get to Senor Wong. You can only get to Senor Wong if you go to Robert & Kellogg or 4th & Minnesota and walk one block to Senor Wong's door. The skyway is open so that's another way

The owners are angry. Their customers are not coming like they used to. They said probably up to 40% are staying away since construction started. We told them that's not surprising for us. we learned that from other cities. We are trying to do what we can to prepare the small businesses on University Avenue. They said Met Council or the city can't or won't do anything to help them. We asked Senor Wong to tell University Ave businesses about how they are impacted it would help them prepare for construction.

These pictures were taken by AEDA's director:

You can see more pictures here:

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