Businesses Look Forward to a Safer J Street as Construction Begins

DOWNTOWN SACRAMENTO -- It's one of the busiest streets in Sacramento and it's about to get even more hectic.

"As it is now, it's like a freeway here," said David Murai, the treasurer for House of Fashion. "So with things slowing down, they'll have to slow down, it'll be crazy I think."

Construction on 10 blocks of J Street started Monday morning.

Drivers will see lane closures on the major thoroughfare between 19th and 30th streets over the next six weeks as crews resurface the pavement and redesign the roadway to include parking-protected bikeways and safer crosswalks.

"It's making it a more walkable corridor," said Robert Slusser, the manager of Lofings Lighting, Inc. "It's shortening crossing links so people can actually get across J Street easier and safer. It'll also serve to reduce speeds on J Street."

Workers will reduce parts of J Street down from three lanes to two. The goal — to make the congested street safer.

"When there's high speeds in a confined, urban area like that, there are safety concerns," said Public Works Department Senior Engineer Adam Randolph.

Murai has seen it firsthand. He says he's witnessed his fair share of accidents in front of the popular bridal store on the street. He hopes the new project will make it easier for pedestrians and bicyclists to get to his business.

"I think it will drive more people down here. They'll be able to walk around," he said.

"Hopefully once construction is complete, we'll see an increase in foot traffic," Slusser said.

In the meantime, other employees at shops along J Street tell FOX40 they are expecting a slump in business during construction.

"We're informing our customers that they may have to park further away, but there's usually parking close to the store," Slusser said.

But they think all the commotion will make for a boost in business in the long run.

"I think it's a great idea, especially if you're a bicyclist," Murai said.

Lane closures will be in effect on that stretch of J Street every weekday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. During the next two weekends three-block stretches of J Street will be completely closed to traffic.

Construction is expected to be finished around August 10.