Business concerns to be tackled one-on-one during International Avenue construction

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Business concerns to be tackled one-on-one during International Avenue construction
WATCH: As International Avenue S.E. is rebuilt, the City of Calgary and the Business Revitalization Zone are using lessons learned from the construction project on 17 Avenue S.W., to communicate better with individual businesses affected. Tony Tighe reports – Nov 22, 2017

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to clarify that the city has added angle parking in the area. A previous version said the city had put in paid parking.

Driving on International Avenue S.E., in Calgary may feel like a maze with all the construction underway.

The entire street — 17th Avenue S.E. — is being rebuilt with new bus lanes, BRT (bus rapid transit) stations, wider sidewalks and new boulevards.

Unfortunately, the work has reduced access and parking around some stores like Tim’s Café. Co-owner Don Bain says business in down about 20 per cent.

The City of Calgary has added angle parking on the side streets within a block away on either side of the store, but Bain says he’s skeptical.

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“It’s public parking all the way up and down. The apartments, all the people that work in the area all park there. It’s very congested so there is no real parking,” he said Wednesday.

When that complaint came into the Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ) office, a team was sent to investigate the problem.

“We have gone back to the city and asked them to re-look at it, to try and find a solution,” BRZ executive director Alison Karim-McSwiney said.

It’s part of a new approach during road construction to deal with businesses one-on-one and address individual concerns, Karim-McSwiney added.

“The city has communications team that works directly with us and we have a group that meets on a regular basis to deal with any outstanding issues that can’t be dealt with immediately.”

It’s lessons learned in how to communicate with businesses after the construction delays and disruptions on 17 Avenue S.W., earlier this year, according to Michael Cox with the City of Calgary Transportation Communication team.

“We have dealt with the businesses as quickly as we can, whether it be accommodating deliveries that are coming in, or whether it be driveway access, or making sure pedestrian access is maintained.”

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The owner of Jayson’s Corner commended the committee for its work. While she said her business has been affected by construction, she understands the construction is necessary and said she’ll work around it.

“Any issues I’ve had, they’ve dealt with them really good. The guys in construction have been really good and accommodating,” Johanne Molloy said.

The International Avenue BRZ says out of 400 businesses on the street, there have only been a dozen serious issues which have all been dealt with.

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