August 31, 2016 6:20 pm
Updated: August 31, 2016 9:38 pm

Kingsway-area businesses fear LRT traffic jams are driving away sales

WATCH ABOVE: Businesses along the Metro LRT Line say they fear ongoing traffic tie-ups are driving customers away. The City of Edmonton is now planning to take a closer look at the delays as well as the concerns of the businesses. Kendra Slugoski reports.

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EDMONTON – A group representing 800 businesses in the Kingsway area has called for a traffic study and want to know if the Metro LRT is driving customers away.

“It does have the potential to be either great for our members or a problem when it’s not running at full speed,” Ellie Sasseville with the Kingsway District Association said.

The LRT hasn’t been running at full speed since it opened almost a year ago.

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On Sept. 6, 2016 the Metro LRT will celebrate its one year anniversary, but Anna Geczi, who owns a pet grooming business nearby, said it’s not a milestone to celebrate.

“I’m literally like two seconds away from this place and I’m stuck.”

Geczi took over DK’s Pet Grooming in April, but said the constant delays on the Metro Line create a domino effect.

“Customers have a hard time to get to me on time,” said Geczi, who told Global News customers call her when they’re trapped behind the crossing arms.

“Sometimes even 15 minutes,” she adds. “It’s getting really bad.”

On Tuesday, Edmonton city council was updated on the progress of the Metro LRT line. The timeline to get the train up to full speed this fall has once again been delayed.

READ MORE: Metro Line LRT misses another deadline for running at full speed 

Councillor Bev Esslinger read part of a letter sent from the Kingsway District Association, outlining concerns over potential lost business.

“Are people avoiding that area because of the hang-ups there?” asked Esslinger. “I don’t know, but it’d be nice to have some information to respond to that.”

It’s still too early to know what the traffic study will look like or if the economy is to blame for sagging sales, but Sasseville said it’s clear businesses are concerned.

“When we have an issue like we did last week and it’s not running, then we have problems.”

Last Tuesday, during the morning rush-hour, the Metro Line shut down, stranding passengers in the train and blocking traffic behind the crossing arms.

READ MORE: Metro Line LRT goes down during Tuesday morning rush 

Sasseville said the group is working with the city to navigate through the Metro Line hiccups. She said pedestrian improvements have been made, however she adds there’s a risk people will start avoiding the area.

“It’s important to us to get that thing running.”

Geczi is sure neighbouring businesses are also affected by the ongoing LRT issues and traffic jams.

“It’s delays after delays.”

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc

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