A nearly year-long closure of Market Street for repaving is scheduled to start this summer, but a group of Ballard businesses are requesting that the City hit pause on the project while they recover from pandemic closures.
The Ballard Alliance says that more than 100 business owners in Ballard have signed a letter urging Mayor Jenny Durkan to push back the paving plans while business financially rebuild after being closed for COVID-19.
The group of businesses are asking the City to wait 18 months to start work on the NW Market Street Paving Project that would close off NW Market St from 24th Ave NW to 15th Ave NW. The work would entail 12-hour work days, seven days a week for nearly a year, and would include curb-to-curb repaving work from SDOT, plus utility trenching from Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle City Light.
“Ballard small businesses have already endured a long closure and repaving of NW Market Street from 24th Ave NW to 32nd Ave NW, which is now 10 months overdue and still not complete,” the Ballard Alliance said in a statement. “Businesses large and small experienced devastating reductions in sales (pre-COVID) due to this repaving work, including an estimated loss of more than $700,000 in sales during curb-to-curb
construction in front of their businesses. And this loss occurred before the coronavirus pandemic.”
The City has reportedly been steadfast in their timeline for the project, and according to the project website, Market Street in its current condition, “continues to be a major generator of pothole repair requests and complaints from the public asking that we repair the road as a matter of public safety.”
SDOT says that once complete, the road will be made from a durable concrete pavement that they expect will not require any major work for 50 years.
However, small business owners say that if the street closure and repaving goes ahead as planned, “it could be a preventable tipping point that forces permanent closures for Ballard businesses already facing monumental financial challenges due to COVID-19.”
Many Ballard businesses have placed signs in their windows that say, “Recovery Now! Repave Later!”
“Adding COVID-19 to this challenging scenario and then extending the street closure for nearly a year to an even busier stretch of Market Street is simply asking more than businesses can bear,” the Alliance says.
You can learn more about the Alliance’s effort to delay the project here.
Photo: Ballard Alliance