Lost Sales, Frayed Nerves for East Washington Businesses

Improvements can't be completed fast enough for many stores along the city's busiest artery


Reduced foot traffic.

Loss of revenue.

And one big headache.

That’s how many businesses along East Washington see the ongoing improvements that have transformed one of the city’s busiest arteries into an obstacle course and delayed the crosstown commute.

At Big O’ Tires, general manager Randy Scott estimated that he had lost about 20 percent a month in sales as a result of the water main replacement project that began this summer.

“I was given no clue when the work started and they still haven’t given me any idea when it’s going to finish,” said Scott, who has been at the location for 20 years.

“If they would have given me several months notice, I would have sent around special promotions to customers to get them in and ease the pain,” he said.

Over at Jamba Juice, general manager Justin Delaney, echoed the frustration, saying that the store had lost money during the month that work was happening in front of the business.

“We were notified by a construction worker just a few days before they started,” he said. “We would have appreciated a more formal notice so we wouldn’t have scheduled all the workers who ended up standing around. It was really slow.”

The estimated completion date for the water main replacement project is mid-December, according to city engineer Larry Zimmer. 

Work is also continuing on the Target Regency shopping center next to the 101 onramp, with another two weeks of intermittent lane closures planned. However, the final paving can’t be completed until the water main is fully put in and that has been slightly delayed because of additional materials that needed to be ordered.

There's also the railroad crossing at D Street that the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) will be repairing, but has yet to be scheduled.

Meanwhile, patience is running out for many businesses.

“There are less people coming in, less gas being pumped and less in overall sales,” said a manager at East Washington Smog at the Valero station, who would only give his name as Ross. “But when I ask when it will be over, no one seems to know.”

Are you a business that has been impacted by the roadwork on East Washington? Share your experience with other readers.

Longest Family in Electrical in Petaluma November 19, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Hey anyone out there that has lost business due to construction should contact the City of Petaluma Managers office & City Attorney's Office. I am not up on all of the requirements, but they are in place. It is well worth asking and doing what ever paperwork is required. Some of the businesses on Petaluma Blvd. were able to collect when Northbay Construction was working on the Boulevard effecting business sales.(remember when they changed the Boulevard a few year ago). So while you are waiting for business, use your time to do the research and complete the paperwork. Karina, maybe you could do some research and report your findings?
The General November 19, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Exactly why we need additional cross town connectors. People may not like traffic tieup during construction, but it will be just as bad in the future with the bottleneck the new shopping center will cause, but when we get back to trains stopping traffic every half hour or so. I don't object to either project (Target or SMART) BUT GIVE US SOME CHOICES HOW TO MOVE AROUND THIS TOWN !
Sheri Cardo November 19, 2012 at 07:09 PM
It's Java Hut that I feel for. With all the construction for the Regency Center and the road into the Fairgrounds closed, you can't even see them. That's a very small business with small margins and I can't imagine how they're coping. It does seem like the City could have thought ahead more about how to help these businesses (not to mention the rest of us).
Will Bomar November 19, 2012 at 08:16 PM
It is sad the city does not communicate better, here are a couple of links that may help. http://www.cityofpetaluma.net/siteinfo/street-closures.html http://www.petalumadowntown.com/road-construction.html WILL
Max November 19, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Businesses are effected? Prior notification and/or just now realizing this is a problem is ridiculous. Big-O tire was at the council hearing when they reviewed the (Target) project's impacts. Big-O supported the project. Are people really that ignorant about the construction? The water main up grade along E. Washington is just that... an "upgrade". It's scope and primary mission is to upgrade the water main (from 8"-16") to feed two very, very large commercial development projects (also future expansion on the East side). I read in the EIR, that the Target project water usage will be 13 million gallons per year. I suspect the Deer Creek Village project will use at least as much, if not more with a health club. You don't need to be a genius to connect the dots. The City has now implemented a full cost recovery - but these projects do not fall under that policy, leaving the cost of upgrade to the taxpayers. I was a regular customer at Big-O tires (my local tire garage) but since they showed up to support the Target project and showed little compassion for the neighborhood they serve, I don't spend my money there any more. Hey who knows... maybe we'll get a Costco next to Target (like Novato and Santa Rosa) and we can all buy our tires cheaply!?!
Max November 19, 2012 at 10:24 PM
What about the folks who live in the neighborhoods? I live on Wilson Street, all day long large trucks and bulldozers are cutting up our streets rattling the dishes in our cupboards and shifting the pictures on the walls. This has no doubt effected our quality of life. By the time the heavy equipment gets done, we'll need to have our streets repaved. I hope David Rabbitt, Mike Healy and Harris are working on finding funding for that.
Max November 19, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Hey General, The crosstown connector will cost $120 million. The city has less than $1.5 million in it's traffic fund. So tell me genius, how we gonna pay for it?
mary winslow November 19, 2012 at 10:30 PM
I see here on the right side of this page that Petaluma Boulevard "improvements" will get under way this month. Anything having to do with streets and traffic in Petaluma is mystifying. Frustrating and mystifying.
Andrew Haynes November 20, 2012 at 06:31 AM
The Athenian restaurant has posted a sign saying they are closed temporarily due the the road construction. Who knows if they will be able to open again. The only folks besides the construction companies who may come out ahead are the people doing wheel realignments. That surface is beating the cars to pieces. A very poorly managed project.
Eric November 20, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Max, you need to pack up and move away with Tiff!
Chicken & Egg Industry November 21, 2012 at 04:35 AM
hahaaa ~ sorry for the Petaluma folks.. A small friendly town is now being ruined, and the residents are acting like "sheep" being led to the slaughter... This would NEVER be allowed in Sonoma, or in Sebastopol. ~ The Mayor and/or City Council should be held responsible... but $money$ speaks louder than voters.. Good luck to you folks; it's not a small-town ~~~ it's become San Anselmo/Ross/Kentfield, yuk!
mikeg55 November 26, 2012 at 08:58 PM
It would probably be closed anyway. Nothing lasts there.
mikeg55 November 26, 2012 at 08:58 PM
so move


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