TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Construction work is about to begin on one of the busiest streets in Downtown Tempe.
As part of the plan, the northbound lanes of Mill Avenue will be torn up to make way for Tempe’s new street car system.
Work will happen on Mill Avenue between University Drive and Rio Salado Drive, causing a mile less of on-street parking and potentially a lot more traffic backups.
Construction will occur when things are already slow because Arizona State University is operating on its summer schedule with less students about.
As construction revs up, business workers tell Arizona’s Family they will closely monitor how the work may affect their customer base.
Varsity Tavern’s management is positive about the streetcar construction and plans to use creative marketing to get customers to visit while Mill Ave is under construction.
“We’ll be focusing on an older demographic that is in town during the summer. The people who plan on staying in Tempe this summer,” said Whitney Conner, a manager at Varsity Tavern.
Jack In The Box general manager Angel Vargas worked with the City of Tempe to make sure drivers have access to his parking lot and drive-thru.
His restaurant is on Mill Ave just south of University and he’s worried and concerned about loss of business. It’s only day one of construction and he’s already feeling an impact with an almost empty dining area.
He’s afraid all the barricades will make inconvenient for customers and they’ll choose somewhere else to eat. “I'm going to be losing a lot of money,” he said. “Mill avenue is still good to visit, please come and visit us.”
Some of his customers, like Durrell Washington didn’t know about the construction today.
“It was very frustrating just trying to find somewhere to park,” he said. However, the construction isn’t scaring Washington away. He plans to just give himself a little more time next time he visits.
The City of Tempe Amanda Nelson said there are 37 parking spaces along the northbound side of Mill Ave. that drivers won’t be able to use. She encourages people to use the local garages.
Nelson added an estimated 9,000 cars travel on Mill Avenue per day. However, the expected volume over the summer is likely less than that.
Work on the project begins Monday and lasts through Aug. 15.