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Second phase of Cleveland Streetscape project downtown is underway

The City of Redmond began its second phase of construction on the Cleveland Streetscape project this week.

During this phase, which will last through Sept. 1, crews will be pouring large quantities of concrete on the road.

Jill Smith, business liaison for the city, said this will be the main work for this phase. To give the poured concrete time to dry and cure, only one traffic lane will be open on Cleveland Street between 161st and 164th avenues northeast weekdays from 3:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. and all weekend. On weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., crews will continue with the full road closure for that portion of Cleveland Street, she said.

Smith said they are pouring the concrete now because during the summer, they have better odds when it comes to good weather. In addition, she said, there also tends to be less traffic during the summer months.

OPEN BUT STILL AFFECTED

While the road will be closed, Smith said sidewalks will be open. There may be closures in some areas, but there will be alternative pedestrian access to businesses.

“We definitely want to keep businesses open,” Smith said. “That’s definitely a priority.”

And though businesses are open, they have taken a hit as a result of the construction.

“Our lunch business has been tremendously affected,” said Danny Pentin, the general manager at The Matador. “(Customers) don’t come down. We lose that business.”

The restaurant has been located on the corner of Cleveland Street and Leary Way Northeast for six years and Pentin said their customers have told them they don’t like the construction. Matador has patio seating, which he said is popular this time of year, but nobody wants to sit outside with all the noise from the equipment and machinery.

PARKING ISSUES AND SOLUTIONS

Charley Lee, the chef and owner of Eastern Pearl at 7844 Leary Way N.E., has had similar complaints from his customers, who have had a hard time finding parking with all the work being done in the area. He spoke with the owner of AAA All Pro Auto Care at 16311 Redmond Way, who offered a solution.

“They allow our customers to park over there (in their parking lot),” Lee said. “They try to help us.”

He said this has helped a little bit.

Eastern Pearl has been open for almost 10 months and Lee said the Cleveland Streetscape construction began about two months after they opened.

Tipsy Cow Burger Bar at 16345 Cleveland St. opened in December 2013 and like Lee’s restaurant, construction has been happening for the majority of its existence.

Assistant manager Lauren Kreutz said because of this, it’s difficult to tell if business has been affected because they are so new. But she said the new restaurant has been doing well despite the construction. Though like Lee, Kreutz said parking has been an issue for their customers but a parking garage recently opened in their building, which includes retail parking, so that has helped.

THE PRICE OF PROGRESS

Despite the affect the Cleveland Streetscape project has had on their businesses, Pentin, Lee and Kreutz are looking at things for the long term and are excited about what’s to come.

“We’re excited about all the new restaurants coming into town and all the new residents coming into town,” Kreutz said about all the development downtown. “Hopefully it’ll be good for all businesses.”

Lee is also hopeful that once the project is complete, it will bring in more business.

Pentin agreed, saying the changes are fantastic and great for the city.

“When it’s all done, it’s going to be really good…I know it’ll be good,” he said, adding that if you want to be part of the end result, you have to be part of the duration.

And while the construction is an imposition for their businesses, Pentin, Lee and Kreutz all said the city has done a good job in keeping them informed about what is happening.

Smith said the city informs the businesses and residents every Friday of what will be going on the following week so they can plan accordingly.

“I think that’s been going well,” she said.

Kreutz agreed.

“(The city) keeps us constantly updated,” she said. “They’ve been very open with us.

DEVELOPING DOWNTOWN

The objective of the Cleveland Streetscape project is to enhance the developing community gathering place in the heart of downtown Redmond and prepare it for eventual two-way street conversion. The project is located in the historic downtown, between the future Downtown Park and the Redmond Central Connector Trail. Project features include signal improvements, widening sidewalks, on-street parking, street lighting, utilities and landscaping.

The project will cost $5 million and is funded by a $3.37 million Surface Transportation Program (Urban) federal grant and the city’s Capital Improvements Programs budget.

The second phase of the project, which is now underway, is the most impactful, Smith said. In the fall, the next phase will begin, which includes landscaping, adding benches along the street and putting in lighting.

“We’re on schedule and doing well,” Smith said.

For more information on the project, visit www.redmond.gov/downtown or contact Smith at jesmith@redmond.gov or call (425) 556-2448.

To receive traffic alerts regarding the Cleveland Streetscape project or other construction projects that will be happening in Redmond this summer, visit www.redmond.gov.

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