As we noted earlier this week, more intensive construction work began Monday on the Crenshaw/LAX Line. The work involves closing the east side of Crenshaw Boulevard between Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Stocker Street and installing supports for the underground station that will serve the area.
The east side of Crenshaw in this area is lined with small businesses that rely in part on street access and street parking. The work, as expected, has its impacts — K-rails, fencing and mesh were installed between the street and the sidewalk. NBC-4 ran a segment earlier this week about the concerns of some business owners and their worries about how the work will affect their customers and their bottom line.
Over the last several weeks, Metro has been working closely with the businesses to respond to their concerns. The message Metro wants to convey: the community spoke, Metro listened and Metro reacted to help further mitigate the impacts of construction. In particular, Metro officials want to stress:
•Parking for those patronizing businesses on the east side of Crenshaw Boulevard continues to be available at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza on the west side of Crenshaw. Metro and its contractor, Walsh Shea Corridor Constructors, have also been trying to lease a vacant parcel on the east side of Crenshaw. If a deal can be reached with the property owner and the city of Los Angeles approves, the lot would be paved, striped and lighting installed. It would provide about 10 spaces for businesses on the east side of Crenshaw.
•Walsh Shea Corridor Constructors (WSCC) has assigned a superintendent to work with Loves Furniture to ensure that deliveries can continue to be made to the store and that customers can pick up merchandise they have purchased.
•The contractor building the project will be replacing the green mesh on fences with a mesh that is 60 percent less dense and will allow for more light to shine through. The new mesh will be used on a trial basis; Metro and WSCC need to make sure that it helps control dust and debris from the construction site, in addition to other functions.
•In response to concerns about safety because of narrowed sidewalks, Metro has asked for a greater LAPD presence in the area, in addition to the contractor’s security patrols currently in place for the construction work area.
•Metro has had banners in place to advise the public that the existing businesses are open, that there is parking and to specifically mention the name of businesses. To improve on those efforts, Metro will be installing new banners along the work zone:
Work will continue on the eastern side of Crenshaw Boulevard through summer and then work will shift to the western side of Crenshaw Boulevard. The goal is to complete the work that must be done at street level as quickly as possible so that decking can be installed on the street and work can continue on the station below the ground and largely out-of-sight for the majority of the remaining construction.
“This is a significant project for the Crenshaw community as it holds great promise for the community and its businesses,” said Charles Beauvoir, the Project Director of the Crenshaw/LAX Line for Metro. “We will continue to try to minimize our impact on the community and its businesses during the construction period and welcome the input of the community to ensure that we are continually improving on our delivery of this important project.”
The problem is that there is no easy way to do this. They are building a modern light rail line that will have street running and underground segments. It’s already hard enough just keep traffic flowing over such a large and complicated project. Every rail line that is built in built up urban areas always have this issue. Look at NYC’s 2nd Ave Subway construction and the impact of business.
The community should also making steps to tell people in the community to forego the inconveniences and still support the businesses. A lack of business during construction isn’t purely Metro’s fault.
I feel for the businesses, but once the rail line is done they will act like this is best thing to happen to their business since sliced bread.
How about announcing a color for the Crenshaw Line already?!?
I counted one major retailer and four medical providers. Perhaps banners in front of each business indicating they are open would help out these small business owners. While my experience indicates parking will be limited during the stations construction the decking will at least open up the ability to view the businesses.