by Joe Trinacria
For some businesses in Chestnut Hill, street parking is important. This is particularly true for the so-called “lower Hill,” where public lots are not in high supply. A PennDOT project that began Wednesday has some business owners worried that temporary restrictions on street parking will hurt their bottom line.
PennDOT is cleaning and restoring the Belgian blocks that give the Avenue its distinct look. Paul Johnson, PennDOT’s foreman on the project, estimated that the total time of work is expected to be between three to four weeks. The PennDOT crew will be working up the Avenue for the entire length paved with Belgian blocks.
During that time, parking on certain sections of Germantown Avenue. is prohibited between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Posted signs and cones blocking off areas serve as reminders to where residents can and cannot park.
Johnson said he does not think he will need to close the street.
“We’re going to try to keep the flow of traffic consistent while we are working on the shoulder,” he said. “Just for now it’s parking that will be the only issue.”
For some of the local business owners, parking is only the beginning of many issues caused by this street cleaning.
Amy Edelman, owner of the Night Kitchen Bakery on 7725 Germantown Ave, said she’s not happy PennDOT didn’t warn her of the work.
“I have no problem with the roadwork itself,” Edelman said. “We understand that you have to repair the infrastructure. The issue I have is that there was no information expressed to us about the work. I can’t believe they couldn’t pick up the phone and call all the business owners affected by this.”
Like many of the other shops along the Avenue, Night Kitchen Bakery does not have its own parking lot. According to Edelman, the parking situation poses a problem for those customers wishing to pick up larger treats, who will now have to walk a greater distance to their car.
She also speculated that overall business may suffer due to the fact that the many people who prefer to quickly park and run will not do so..
Edelman did admit, however, that it was much too early to tell how much this roadwork has actually affected her business.
In defense of the communication breakdown claims made by Edelman, Johnson said that PennDOT officials alerted the Chestnut Hill Business Association president of their plan and expected the CHBA to relay that information to local business owners.
Whether or not PennDOT began work without an announcement does not change the fact that they are here now, and it would serve the residents best if they could find alternate ways to get to their favorite shops along Germantown Ave.
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