As traffic snakes through construction barriers on University Avenue, I look at the chain link fences lining the sidewalks and wonder just how much damage some of my favorite small businesses have already felt. Corner businesses on major cross streets are luckier—the #16 bus still stops at Prior and University and traffic still crosses the street in all directions. Mid-block businesses on the south side of University Avenue (now) and on the north side (later) are cut off by trenches and earth-moving equipment, imprisoned behind chain-link fences.
It’s not always clear how to get to them. Uninformative official signs merely point to cross streets for business access, without indicating in advance which businesses are accessible from which cross street. As University Avenue Business Association President Jack McCann said in a press release, “survival time is short for many businesses.”
Any government aid that might be available is not going to fill the gap left by lost access and lost parking and lost customers. The only good news is that we are the customers, and we can come back. University Avenue may be a mess, but there’s some way to get to every business. They need our support during this difficult time.
Here’s a recent press release from the Met Council Central Corridor PR folks:
If you’re headed for a specific business and have concerns about access, bus stops or parking, call ahead to ask the best way to get there.