Local businesses still open during I-25/Paseo project

Posted at: 10/21/2013 6:11 PM
Updated at: 10/21/2013 8:05 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Local business owners are complaining about the huge Paseo/I-25 reconstruction project underway in Albuquerque – they say it’s costing them customers.

It is orange barrel season along Paseo  del Norte and its tributaries, and while the morning and evening rush hours are a headache, business owners say the rest of the day is a piece of cake. The trouble is that many of us are just bypassing the whole area altogether.

Cathlena Burr has had her Village Wools shop on Alameda near San Padero for seven years. She says the business took a dramatic drop when the Paseo project started last week.

“We’re not going anywhere and we’re open and there are many different ways to get here,” Burr said. “I drove through the Big I when they did that for two years, getting my kids to and from school. It was never a problem.”

The stitching goes on at nearby Kokopelli Quilting and Southwest Decorative on Carmel, but owner Mary Jo McCarthy says business is far from its usual busy, bustling self.

“I think people are getting the wrong message,” McCarthy said. “They’re being told that they can’t access this area at all, when in fact there are many businesses right here. We’re still open. We’re open our usual hours.”

To the rescue – the North I-25 Business Association. The 30 year old commercial group is putting together an online directory of places in the Paseo/I-25 zone that are open for business no matter what.

“We fear change,” said Mary Ann Giangola of the Association. “I think the citizens have reacted to this by saying – oh – I’m going to avoid the area. What we want to do is encourage customers to continue to support businesses in the area.”

“Just because there’s a morning and evening commute issue doesn’t mean that the whole area is affected and you can’t get on san Pedro or you can’t get on Paseo or you can’t get on Alameda,” said McCarthy. “I mean you can get to us – all of us – we’re all open.”

Here are the latest lane closures, in addition to the ones already in place from last week. Now eastbound Paseo has a lane closed from southbound I-25 to the Target entrance. The northbound I-25 frontage road has another lane closed from Just north of Ashley Furniture to Paseo, and the southbound frontage road has one lane closed from Coronado Village to Paseo.

Starting at 7 p.m. Monday, I-25 will be squeezed down to two lanes through the Paseo interchange for installation of concrete barriers. The job is expected to last two or three nights.