OCEANSIDE — By March 31 phase I of the Mission Avenue improvement project will be halfway completed and the north side of the street will be fully open for pedestrian use.
“March 31 is a big milestone,” Terry Jones, principal with Arcadis Company, said. “We’ll be halfway done. People can use the sidewalk and enjoy it.”
Currently a narrow fenced-in walkway is open to pedestrians on the north side of the street, as roadwork and sidewalk replacement is under way.
Businesses have done their best to endure the roadwork, which began in November, to improve the road from Clementine Street to Coast Highway 101.
During initial roadwork Jones said businesses reported sales had dropped by half. At that time roadwork was under way between Clementine Street and Ditmar Street. Most businesses along that section of Mission Avenue have side street entrances.
“In the beginning I heard disastrous numbers of over 50 percent,” Jones said. “Businesses were upset. Now, after time, people know it’s not as bad as they were first commenting.”
During the last two months, in stage two of the phase I project, impacted businesses included restaurants with street front patio seating and stores with only front entrances.
Alyce Solomon, 20-year owner of North County Trophies, said the roadwork has had a significant impact.
“Even regular customers are having a hard time finding us,” Solomon said.
Solomon said she is not looking forward to road changes that will require customers to reverse angle park.
Others business owners said they are willing to wait through road and sidewalk improvements with the hope changes will have a positive impact on business.
“Everyone is looking forward to the project being completed,” Nathan Mertz, city project manager, said.
“The street has been the same way for decades. Initially there was shock.”
During roadwork, building renovations to prepare for the opening of Mission Ave Bar and Grill have moved forward.
The new business on the 700 block of Mission Avenue is expected to open while work on the street and sidewalk is still in progress, possibly right outside the business’ front door.
Accommodations have been made to ensure customer access during construction.
“Two guys are opening a bar and grill on Mission Avenue,” Jones said. “Construction will be right in front of the new store. They’re real positive with it.”
Business owners said the contractor has been very receptive to business concerns.
The city and contractor have kept businesses informed of the project timeline, and discussed next steps at MainStreet Oceanside monthly meetings.
Jones said rapport has improved as businesses gain understanding of the process and business concerns have been addressed.
“We managed the project with business owners in mind and have taken into account their ideas and feedback.”
Business owners who attended the last MainStreet meeting said they are pleased with the way the contractor and city have moved through process.
During the project additional traffic and pedestrian access signage has been added, a private parking lot was open to the public, and safety fencing was lowered and lit for greater visibility.
Starting April 1 improvements will continue on the south side of the street. Work includes putting in a new traffic light and conduits on Coast Highway 101.
“We have a lot of work to do still,” Mertz said.
Completion on the roadwork and landscaping is expected by June 19.