OCEANSIDE — Businesses are revving up for six blocks of roadwork to begin on Mission Avenue in November.
The Gateway Project will change Mission Avenue from a two-way street into a one-way gateway into the city. Traffic on Mission Avenue between Clementine Street and Coast Highway 101 will go west. Eastbound traffic will take Seagaze Drive.
As part of the Gateway Project sidewalks on Mission Avenue will be widened, in some places up to 30 feet. Reverse angle parking spaces and crosswalks will be striped in, and streetlights, outdoor furniture and landscaping will be installed.
Businesses will remain open during the nine months of construction, but parking and alleyways will be closed in some areas.
Rick Wright, MainStreet Oceanside executive director, said due to the project being “off and on” for several years businesses are trying to “wrap their brains around” the fact the road construction is “really happening.”
Ocean Sky Beads owner Dee Layden said she keeps customers updated on the upcoming road construction through the store’s Facebook page and newsletter.
“We’ll put a wooden plank across the street to stay open,” she said.
Burger House owner “Scott” said he has not given customers any notification and plans to “roll with the punches” and see what extra signage is needed after construction begins.
“I don’t know how they’re going to tear it up,” he said.
Not all businesses think the one-way road is a good idea.
Layden said many of her customers are handicapped and reverse angle parking will be difficult and make drivers vulnerable to traffic as they exit their cars.
“It will radically change the thrust of traffic,” she said. “I feel frustrated for customers who are used to parking in front of the store. Many of my customers are handicapped. It’s unsafe.”
She said she voiced her concerns to City Council while road plans were being reviewed.
Layden added she is willing to sit through the roadway changes and see how they impact traffic and business.
She said she is glad the contractor has experience building in urban areas where businesses are operating. Road construction in Solana Beach almost put her friend’s bead store out of business.
Wright also has some reservations. He said he is not sure the downtown area is ready for street furniture, without attracting loiterers, but like others who have questions about specifics of the improvement project, he is wiling to wait and see the results.
“I think there will be some pain attached to the construction project, but it will be well worth it,” Wright said. “There will be a new beautiful gateway.”
MainStreet Oceanside is working with the city to support businesses during the nine-month construction period.
Roadwork will be limited to a block of the street at a time. Two-hour parking limit signs will be removed in impacted areas during construction.
Information flyers printed by the city and store window signs printed by MainStreet Oceanside will be available to businesses to help keep customers informed.
The city will also post Mission Avenue road construction updates on its website.
Currently electronic road signs have been set up on the 800 and 500 blocks of Mission Avenue to warn drivers that construction will start Nov. 7.