Local News

Road construction hurts Hillsborough Street businesses

Posted August 1, 2009 5:16 p.m. EDT
Updated August 2, 2009 3:10 p.m. EDT

— Business owners along Hillsborough Street in Raleigh said an improvement project along the thoroughfare has negatively impacted sales.

Ric Colruss, general manager of Schoolkids Records, 2114 Hillsborough St., said the business has seen sales cut in half since the construction started.

Right outside the store’s window, construction often clogs up traffic and blocks the road.

“There are people who’ve been on the street who’ve worked their entire lives, who brought the atmosphere to the street itself, and they’re the very ones who are being hit the worst here,” Colruss said.

Hillsborough Street is being converted to a two-lane section with a median from Gardner to Oberlin roads, according to the project’s Web site. A two-lane roundabout is being added at Hillsborough Street and Pullen Road. A single-lane roundabout is being added at the Oberlin Road and the extension of Pullen Road.

The project will also make on-street parking available on both sides of Hillsborough Street. More than 100 parking spaces will be added to the 77 currently available.

New sidewalks will be installed and there will be more crosswalks and pedestrian crossing signals. Bicyclists will be able to travel on a 5-foot-wide buffer lane between parked cars and street traffic.

Construction is expected to be complete by September 2010.

Last week, supporters of the project and city leaders gathered at North Carolina State University’s Bell Tower to let the public know that despite construction, businesses on Hillsborough Street are open.

Jon Choi said he is concerned about the impact the construction will have on his new restaurant, but he hopes his food can entice even the most frustrated driver to stop in.

“I mean, they have to eat,” Choi said.

Business owners hope when college students return in a few weeks that will help business some. But many believe, as long as the construction hangs around so will sluggish sales.

Colruss said he is worried about losing the long-term customers.

“If we inconvenience the people who have been so loyal to the street in the first place over such a long period of time, will we ever get them back?” he said.