Daly City business owners say construction on Mission Street is driving away customers and hurting their revenue. They blame the city for failing to arrange alternative parking and think they deserve compensation.
“All the City Council can say is, ‘We’re really sorry.’ But they don’t understand this is our livelihood, our 401(k),” said Mission Flowers owner Carla Chu. “If we don’t survive, then what am I going to feed my family?”
The $3.5 million project near the intersection of John Daly Boulevard and Mission Street is a small piece of the Grand Boulevard Initiative, a Peninsula-wide vision to make Mission Street and El Camino Real more like a boulevard. But as work expands, businesses could suffer.
“The City Council is painfully aware that in the long term, the project for Mission Street may seriously hurt merchants, but there is a limit to what they can to do mitigate that,” said Department of Public Works Director John Fuller, who thinks compensating merchants would be illegal.
The work, which began in April, involves widening the sidewalk, removing palm trees and putting a landscaped island in the middle of the street.
Of six businesses surveyed, only Goodyear Tires said its revenue has not been impacted. Goodyear is the only business with off-street parking.
Meanwhile, promised alternative parking has yet to appear. Fuller said parking at a nearby garage could be finalized “any day,” and he attributed delays to a change in garage ownership.
Fuller said the city put up signs indicating that businesses are open during construction and held off work for three weeks until Easter and Mother’s Day shopping had passed, said city engineer Ravi Gehani.
Merchants, however, questioned certain tactics, such as night work.
But nighttime work was limited to avoid disturbances to residents who live above Mission Street, according to Ghilotti Bros. contractor Bob Yenon. He said although there have been delays, the project is set to be completed on time by Thanksgiving.
Yenon said Ghilotti has done “everything possible” to help merchants, including spending $1,150 on flowers and taking merchants out to lunch last week.
But the lunch was “not even a Band-Aid,” said Elias Tsiknis, owner of Greek Imports, whose profits are down 50 percent.
Sound and Alarm owner Hossein Bolourchi said the city should pay his rent until the work is done.
City’s efforts to help