Allisyn Howard, general manager of Prema Wellness Centre, stands outside the business at the corner of 14th Street and 17th Avenue S.W. on Tuesday, June 25, 2019. The business has been facing various issues with the 17th avenue construction.
Gavin Young / Postmedia
After more than two years of operating in a construction zone, many business owners along 17th Avenue are pleased with an announcement from the city that starting Friday evening, crews will be working round the clock until Tuesday morning.“It’s great, I wish they would have been doing it all 24/7 from the start,” said Jon Truch, owner of Tubby Dog. “They could have had this done already.”From 9 p.m. Friday, June 28 to 5 a.m. July 2, construction work will be non-stop at the intersection of 17th Avenue and 14th Street. It is part of the much larger, years-long 17th Avenue S.W. Reconstruction Project that runs 17th Avenue from MacLeod Trail to 14th Street.Since late April, sections of 17th Avenue have been periodically closed to perform upgrades to underground utilities such as power, gas, water and sanitary. The road surface will be redone and has been redesigned to help traffic flow as part of the ongoing project. Sidewalk and intersection improvements will be completed later in the season.Detours have been set up in the area and Quinn Eastlick with the city’s transportation department said some three- and four-way stops have been added to keep traffic slow moving as it is a residential neighbourhood.
Construction workers prepare for the weekend closure of the busy intersection of 14th Street and 17th Avenue S.W. on Tuesday, June 25, 2019.
Gavin Young /
“We are also asking motorists to use the 14th and 15th Avenue detour routes as a means of keeping through traffic to a minimum,” he said, adding more Calgary Police officers will be on hand throughout the weekend to keep traffic moving smoothly.According to some, the project’s progress has been painfully slow and despite the city saying it will be “completed within this construction season,” there’s no specific end in sight.“I got an email yesterday saying they’re going to have this section open for Stampede but I’m not holding my breath,” Truch said. “It’s going to wipe out 17th Avenue.”Truch and other business owners said they are more than just frustrated with the ongoing construction – they’ve lost considerable business.“Our business has decreased by 30-40 per cent throughout the weekdays and I think because of our location, we’re luckier than others,” Brenda Videnoff with Prema Wellness said.Prema sits on the corner of 14th Street and 17th Avenue and Videnoff said despite the fact that the city has been good about communicating the process to businesses and residents in the Beltline, it’s still been difficult to adjust.“It’s incredibly frustrating… we’ve had to adjust by moving clients to rooms towards the back of the building without windows to cut back on noise,” she said. “The city put up all this fencing saying, ‘We’re all about 17th Avenue,’ but who’s going to come down when it’s like this?”
Detours will be in place but drivers are encouraged to avoid the intersection on the long weekend.
Gavin Young /
Sobhy Borhot has owned Soby’s Eatery for seven years and said the loss of an entire patio season has had a huge impact on his bottom line.“We’ve seen a 35-40 per cent decline [in business] and for us, you can’t have the patio open when the trucks are 15 feet away kicking up gusts of dust,” he said. “The work’s got to get done, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a better way. I would love to see the city give us a break on our property tax for this.”Jennifer LeBlond owns Steeling Home, a shop for unique handmade homewares, arts and gifts on 17th Avenue and is on the board of the BIA. She said that a combination of property tax increases, the poor state of the economy and the closures along 17th Avenue has led to 30 businesses having to close their doors.“It’s the war of attrition here,” she said. “I mean yay for Calgary for doing this, but inevitably when you close a road there is going to be an impact to business. We are just wanting it to be done quickly.”email@example.comOn Twitter: @oliviacondon