Merchant Campaign Designed to Stop Shoppers From Passing By Buck Jones

Posted April 10, 2007 10:03 a.m. EDT
Updated April 10, 2007 10:52 a.m. EDT

— With major work on the intersection of Walnut Street and Buck Jones Road complete, business owners in the area want customers to know the way is clear to come back.

The intersection was reworked as part of the $58 million U.S. Highway 1/64 improvement project. The two-year project added lanes to the highway and rejiggered traffic flow to Buck Jones Road and Walnut Street.

Now, after months of having customers stay away in droves to avoid the congestion brought on by lane closures, merchants at South Hills Mall and other shopping centers in the area have banded together in a promotional campaign touting "Buck Jones Is Better."

"It has been a little bit painful, you know. The barrels were out there quite a bit. People had to adjust to different turn lanes," said Bob Dascombe of Martin Properties, which owns South Hills Mall. "We now have our day of emancipation, if you will. We have better turning lanes. We have more traffic light cycles. We have right turn on red where we didn't have that before."

Merchants are placing "Buck Jones Is Better" posters in their windows and are handing out "BJIB" car magnets to customers to help spread the word. The group also has put together a television commercial to broadcast their message.

"The pain is now turning into the gain for the Buck Jones corridor," Dascombe said.

Still, some drivers aren't convinced the two-year project was worth the pain.

"I don't think it's better yet," driver Maria Mull said. "I'm still having a hard time, and I'm here all the time. I always get stuck here with people not knowing what lanes to be in."