OCEANSIDE — Roadway and sidewalk improvements that will finalize Mission Avenue west of Interstate 5 as a one-way street and create wider pedestrian friendly sidewalks has moved into phase II of construction. Roadwork that began on the north side of Mission Avenue from Clementine Street to Ditmar Street has progressed down the road to Coast Highway.
The city and downtown businesses anticipate phase II construction will have the biggest direct impact on business sales since so many street facing businesses sit in the construction area.
Earlier phase I roadwork only impacted a few businesses, most of which had backdoor or side street entrances for customers.
During phase II construction, customers will need to park on adjacent streets and navigate on foot across temporary walkways to enter businesses.
Noise will also be an issue with construction taking place directly in front of businesses.
Nathan Mertz, city capital improvements manager, said sidewalks in front of businesses would be jack hammered within a week and temporary spans and bridges would be installed as needed to allow customers to have continued access to businesses.
“Pedestrian access on both sides of Mission will remain open,” Mertz said.
“There won’t be any interruption to customer access at all.”
During phase II construction the Thursday Farmers Market on Pier View Way will be moved one block west to allow Freeman Street to remain open to traffic. Open-air market booths will be set up on split sides of Coast Highway and shoppers will need to cross traffic to browse the booths.
Rick Wright, MainStreet Oceanside executive director, said this layout for the market has been used before and proved manageable.
The city and MainStreet Oceanside are making concerted efforts to keep businesses and patrons informed of street closures, parking availability and the project time line.
Positive results from phase I roadwork can already be seen with markedly wider sidewalks, designated planting beds and upgraded crosswalks in place from Clementine Street to Ditmar Street.
Gumaro Escarcega, MainStreet Oceanside program manager, said the impact of phase II construction on business sales would be measurable in a week.
The start of phase II roadwork is timed to follow the holiday shopping season in anticipation that the seasonal jump in sales will help pull businesses through any further sales drops during the three months of door front construction.
Escarcega said businesses on Mission Avenue have reported a 30 percent decrease in sales since phase I of construction began in November. He added the temporary business loss is manageable, but if it increases to a 40 percent drop in sales it could close some small businesses.
Phase III construction on the south side of the street on the same two blocks will also effect many street facing businesses.
The hope of everyone involved is that businesses will weather the construction and benefit from increased business once streetscape improvements are completed in June.
Escarcega said MainStreet Oceanside is getting increased inquiries from new businesses about available storefronts during construction.
He added he anticipates Oceanside will see an economic boom in the next five years as downtown redevelopment is completed and two planned luxury hotels open.