City councilwoman wants Broad Street businesses to get reimbursed

City councilwoman wants Broad Street businesses to get reimbursed
The Pulse project continues along Broad Street.

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond City Council member Kim Gray introduced a resolution to request that Mayor Levar Stoney petition VDOT to reimburse some of the businesses along Broad Street, impacted by the ongoing GRTC Pulse Rapid Bus Transit construction.

The main stretch has been under construction since last year, as GRTC continues to build its fast-line bus route, which extends from Willow Lawn to Rockett's Landing.

The construction is set to be completed by June 30, 2018. Gray says she supports businesses seeing a decline in customers, who don't want to deal with the headache of congestion and finding parking.

Contractors will not finish the project early (by the end of the year), missing a deadline for extra incentive money. Gray is pushing for that unused money to go to the impacted businesses.

Dr. Randy Adams opened his pediatric dental practice 28 years ago on the 300 block of Broad Street. Dr. Adams says traffic in the area is congested.

"It's been a nightmare," said Dr. Adams. "We've had a lot of problems and a lot of parents are complaining... Appointments are getting backed up."

Dr. Brandon Allen, who is also a dentist at the practice, says parking is also more difficult, with some spaces and left turns off Broad Street now eliminated because of the project. Dr. Allen says some of their patients have gotten tickets.

"[Patients] have to park somewhere further away," said Dr. Allen. "The appointments last the same amount of time, and it takes you longer to get to your car."

Dr. Allen also says that some spaces in front of their office are going to be eliminated, as well as the left turn from Broad Street onto Madison Street, which runs perpendicular to the office. The only entrance to the office's back parking lot are from Madison Street.

"That's going to affect us long term, after the construction is gone," continued Dr. Allen.

GRTC public relations manager Carrie Rose Pace says the construction is both on time and on budget. All of the projects - 26 stations - are currently under construction, with most of the canopies up and road paving almost complete. However, transit officials haven't yet given a set launch date.

A spokesperson for the Richmond mayor's office says they're still in the process of reviewing Gray's resolution.

A representative from VDOT tells NBC12 the agency is not aware of any basis for paying out Richmond businesses owners, at this time. Further, until the project is completed, officials will not know the final cost or if the former incentive money will need to be allocated elsewhere for the work.

VDOT says the state did give the city of Richmond $100,000 devoted to assisting business owners through construction, which the city matched, making the total $200,000.

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