Residents, Businesses Upset Over Alton Road Construction - NBC 6 South Florida

Residents, Businesses Upset Over Alton Road Construction



    Instead of the signature Miami Beach architecture, barricades, piles of concrete, and cranes line the never-ending fixtures along Alton Road. NBC 6's Laura Rodriguez reports. (Published Friday, July 25, 2014)

    Alton Road on Miami Beach has gone from an avenue through the area to a perpetual nuisance, all in the name of progress. Instead of the beach architecture, barricades, piles of concrete, and cranes line the never-ending fixtures along the road.

    "I try to avoid Alton Road as much as I can," said Miami Beach resident Brittany Roverson. "It's just a real inconvenience to everyone around."

    The constant construction is frustrating drivers and business owners along the road. They say the massive reconstruction of the road is leaving a big hit on their bottom line.

    "We're losing about $30,000 a month due to the construction," said Daniel Venegas, owner of Woktown.

    Sam Brejt, owner of Metro PCS Miami Beach echoed Venegas' claim saying, "We've seen a 40 percent hit right off the bat.

    Some companies have developed strategies of promoting delivery instead of dining in to try to stay in business. But others haven't been able to get through the $32 million reconstruction project. Umami Burger, Boston Market, and Gino's Pizza have all closed recently during the construction, according to the Alton Road Business Association.

    It's not just the road that is causing problems for people. The sidewalks are unpaved and parking, which is already a problem on the beach, has become an even bigger headache that stores are facing during the repairs.

    "What they accept or the construction company accepts as acceptable access really is pretty much dirt and rock," said Brejt, who is also vice-president of the ARBA.

    Complicating matters further for the stores is that even though business is down, the rents along the area remain sky high.

    "You're still paying like you're on the best street on South Beach and you're probably in one of the worst streets in the whole Miami," Venegas said.

    The Florida Department of Transportation said they're trying to be a "good neighbor" by providing blue business signs with portable stands for visibility. FDOT also said it sends weekly email updates to property owners in the area.

    "Definitely there's gonna be impacts," said Heather Leslie, Alton Road Project Information Specialist. "We do try to capture as many people as possible through the door-to-door distribution and through the weekly emails."

    For residents and anyone visiting Miami Beach, there's no relief from the Alton Road woes coming soon. FDOT said the bulk of the construction between 8th and 17th Street will be completed by the end of this year. But, the overall project isn't scheduled to be completed until the summer of 2015.