Memorial Drive construction project meets with opposition

It's supposed to help alleviate traffic, but some worry it will make things worse
November 4, 2013 3:32:45 PM PST
A $16.5 million project to make improvements along Memorial Drive may be in jeopardy -- or at least parts of it could be. The city has been getting input on the paving and drainage project for a while now, but recently, some business owners have been speaking out against it.

Neighbors in the area say the stretch of Memorial Drive between Kirkwood and Eldridge can get pretty congested with traffic. But business owners say the city's plans to alleviate the issue could end up causing them more problems.

Rene' Karpas and her family say they've been busy running Daisy Hallmark at Memorial Drive and Kirkwood for 28 years. But it's the city's ongoing plans for road improvements in this area -- specifically proposed medians -- that have the Karpas and some of their neighbors very worried right now.

"It doesn't matter how long you've been in business, when your customers can't easily have access to your store, they go elsewhere," Karpas said.

According to neighbors, the city wants to add medians along a two-mile stretch of Memorial Drive between Kirkwood and Eldridge. It's all part of the city's Memorial Drive paving and drainage project.

Bill McClintock owns Ann's Fine Gifts and Clocks. He's also concerned the construction would hurt local businesses.

"Take out the median," he suggested. "Just make it a five-lane through there, you go either direction you can take a left wherever you want."

A representative from the department of public works tells Eyewitness News the project's design is about 60 percent complete right now. The city is still taking suggestions from residents on the Memorial Drive project. Still some neighbors say, so far, they haven't been convinced their concerns have been taken seriously.

McClintock said, "When you ask about the median, they say, 'Well, that's what you wanted.' And when we asked who is 'you,' there never was anything."

The department of public works says it will continue taking comments from neighbors and concerned residents through November 22.

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