Downtown businesses want one main thing during the city’s five construction projects scheduled to take place through December — for residents and visitors to know that they’re still open.
The city wants the same thing, so it is designing large signs to place at the construction zone that list the businesses located beyond the road-closed signs.
City staff presented its preliminary plan March 29 to business owners and residents. Everyone agreed on the need for the signs, but some had suggestions on how to improve them.
The five construction projects are the Palm Avenue parking garage, Five Points roundabout, Palm Avenue and Main Street intersection improvements, Main Street waterline replacement and Downtown Improvement District landscaping.
The largest disruption for businesses will come when the entire 1300 block of Main Street is closed to cars during the month of June for the waterline replacement.
Six-foot-high blue signs are expected to be placed where the road is closed, and the preliminary plan is to have each business listed in 4-inch letters.
But some felt the names would be too small.
“Isn’t this to serve businesses?” asked Pineapple Square developer John Simon. “You want signs with more than 4-inch lettering.”
The signs will direct people to turn left to access businesses on one side of the street and to turn right to access the businesses on the other side.
Susan Dodd, assistant to the city manager, said the city did not have the resources to direct drivers to specific public parking lots, so the arrow would just point them in the general direction.
Because downtown construction projects are going to result in the loss of parking spaces for much of the rest of the year, the city has come up with a plan to push underutilized parking areas.
Susan Dodd, assistant to the city manager, said she encourages people to use the Second Street garage at Whole Foods, the Cocoanut Avenue lot and the angled parking on Gulfstream Avenue.
Gulfstream has 110 all-day spaces that downtown employees frequently use. The city will convert 53 of those spaces to two-hour parking for customer and tourist use.
Dodd said she hopes employees who used Gulfstream will now use the four-hour parking in the Second Street garage, the Cocoanut Avenue lot or be willing to park a little further away in bayfront parking lot, near the “Unconditional Surrender” statue.
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