A cluster of small businesses met with project representatives Monday to address their concerns over the impact the O and P Street Project will have on their shops and customers.
The O and P Street Project has progressed from the mainly residential parts of P Street to the block of shops and that includes Just Paper & Tea, Ella Rue and Fleurir Chocolate, among others. Construction is scheduled to commence Wednesday beginning at Wisconsin Avenue and working West on P Street towards 33rd Street.
"The main concern of businesses is, when they shut down the street where businesses are, that obviously eliminates parking," explained ANC Commissioner Ed Solomon whose store Wedding Creations and Anthony's Tuxedos is on that block of P Street.
Solomon said it was a "good meeting" in part because the contractors agreed to work with the businesses to keep an alley that provides access to a rear parking lot open during the majority of construction (Marked Alley 4 in the PDF). Having it blocked through the end of April, which is the goal set for finishing construction, would have "a major impact" on several of the businesses that rely on the lot for customer parking.
This week O and P Street contractors will remove the streetcar tracks in front of businesses on the block. Next week they begin work on the north side of P Street, lasting anywhere from a month to six weeks. Then the south side of P Street will have its turn, also lasting four to six weeks. Throughout construction, crews will maintain one lane of thru traffic. (See PDF for project phasing).
"The project team understands the impact that that is going to have [on businesses]" said Meghan Hughes.
Hughes said that the contractors have learned their lessons from work done on previous blocks and expect this section to move quickly. The utility companies have already been working in the area, aiding in the quicker pace.
"The time estimate for expected completion is almost cut in half," explained Hughes.
Hyde-Addison Elementary is sandwiched between the project streets and will also have some parking issues once the construction moves to the south side of P Street. Even then, teachers and parents will still have access to the lot from the O Street entrance.