Construction Crews and Monrovia Business Community Ready for Myrtle Closure

To prepare the street for the long-term closure Monday, the intersection of Myrtle Ave and Duarte Rd will be closed to thru-traffic nightly on Saturday, January 18 and Sunday, January 19.

Photo Credit: Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority
Photo Credit: Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority
Crews will be gearing up this weekend for the four-month full closure of Myrtle Avenue at the railroad crossing just north of Duarte Road.

The closure, in effect Monday, is part of the ongoing work on the 11.5-mile Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension light rail project.

Prep work will get underway, with the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Duarte Road to be closed overnight Saturday and Sunday from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., according to Foothill Extension Construction Authority officials.

On Monday, Duarte Road will open to traffic while Myrtle Avenue at the railroad crossing will stay closed until May.

Local businesses in the area of construction are expecting to feel the effects of the closure.

Some have come, in recent weeks, to the Monrovia City Council meetings to express concerns about what the long-term closure could mean for their businesses. Metro Gold Line officials vowed to work with area business owners.

Lisa Levy Buch, a Foothill Extension Construction Authority spokeswoman, said that despite the road work, all businesses in the area will be fully accessible.

The agency has a plan to help business owners get the word out to customers that they will remain open and accessible during the construction, Buch said.

"We really encourage residents and other businesses throughout Monrovia and the surrounding areas to utilize these businesses during this closure and help them during this time," she said.

Buch said the plan is threefold and involves advertising, signage, and sponsorship.

The construction authority is paying for coupon book advertising to go out to residents, as well as using contracted space in newspapers, magazines, and online publications to encourage customers to continue to patronize the businesses during the closure, she said. The agency also is paying for flyers to inform customers and vendors of the road closure.

Officials are also working with individual businesses and looking into the possibility of posting signage on light poles in the area. The authority is putting together a map of the affected businesses as well, she said.

The third part of the plan involves sponsorship at local events such as the Friday Night Festival, Bush said. A booth can be set up for businesses affected by the closure at the weekly event. The authority also is working with the Monrovia Chamber of Commerce on a plan to aid businesses in the area of construction, she said.

Brenda Trainor, co-owner of Wonder Dog Ranch, said her business is among those that will affected by the closure.

"I really want to get the businesses together down here south of the 210, us folks on the 'other' side of the tracks, to build up a strong multi-pronged media message that will make this closure as positive experience as possible," she said by email.

That message needs to be that area south of the 210 has lots of good businesses, the detour set up during construction is easy to use, the community works together, and it is "safe and convenient to come to the Station Square District," she said.

Trainor added that she has proposed a monthly Sunday flea market at Wonder Dog Ranch as one way to help drive consumers to the businesses in the construction area. Collaboration is key going forward as the Gold Line and the Station Square project get completed, she said.

"A priority would be to develop a coalition of businesses in the Station Square District that are working together for promotion with collaborative efforts and cross promotional marketing events, all of whom can be invited to participate in the Flea Market," she said. "The Old Town Merchants seem interested in supporting this effort, and I think it is important to start demonstrating that the Old Town and Station Square District businesses can help each other and build a strong, positive image of Monrovia business destinations."

At last week's Monrovia City Council meeting, Chris Burner, chief project officer, said if the weather remains good and there are no major complications with digging, the closure could be shortened some.

Mayor Mary Ann Lutz said at the meeting that even with the closure cut to four months from five, it is going to be tough. She also encouraged residents to patronize the businesses in the area during construction.

"We've got progress with fingers crossed that if everything goes well, it could be less," she said.  "It's going to be painful, but it will be worth it."


Ellen Zunino January 15, 2014 at 09:12 PM
Actually, with Myrtle closed south of Evergreen, getting to the businesses, once you're past Evergreen will be a lot easier. How the city handles the surface street traffic is going to make the difference. Myrtle, Central and Evergreen at the 210 are going to be an unholy mess which is going to extend to California and probably Shamrock on the east and over to Magnolia on the west. I hope plans are in place to monitor that traffic and, if need be, alter signals to keep it moving efficiently.


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