The hairstylists at Cielo salon in Chandler depend on walk-in traffic to make a living. Too bad for them the city’s massive renovation of a nearby intersection has reduced traffic to near nothing.
And that’s just one of many hassles for Cielo owner Renee Walters created by the chaos that once was Dobson and Warner roads.
“We’ve had our water turned off at times; one time, we were washing a client’s hair and all of a sudden the faucet started spouting brown stuff,” Walters said. “Electricity’s been out a couple of times.
“Not to mention, when you do have a full (schedule) and you are working, people are running 20 minutes behind, so then I’m running 20 minutes behind — so my next client, who is on time, is (angry).”
It was last May when construction started there. When finished sometime next month, the intersection will be wider than before and feature double-left turn lanes. Also, there will be improvements to the gutters, sidewalks, traffic signals and landscaping.
Upon completion, the city said, there should be a reduction in congestion and traffic collisions with better access to the merchants.
Chandler officials also note that at five previously widened intersections (Alma School Road/Elliot Road, Dobson Road/Elliot Road, Arizona Avenue/Chandler Boulevard, Arizona Avenue/Elliot Road and Arizona Avenue/Ray Road), crashes have declined an average of 27 percent. And injury collisions declined even further — down 39 percent.
City spokesman Jim Phipps said the goal is to renovate one intersection a year. However, the slumping economy means Chandler may have to decrease the frequency of those projects.
Still, improvements to Dobson Road and Chandler Boulevard go to bid next month.
In a salon at that intersection, the news was greeted with dismay.
“Great — my rent just went up,” said Patricia Kinton, owner of Lasting Impressions. “It’s going to kill me.”
Walters’ business at 2050 N. Dobson Road, Suite 1, is one of more than a score located at that intersection. Just on her corner, there is a gym, a coffee shop, a lingerie merchant, two fast-food restaurants and a vitamin store.
However, Walters said drivers aren’t looking at the merchants because they’re too focused on navigating the maze of barricades and dodging heavy equipment. There were attempts to increase Cielo’s visibility, she added, but her A-frame sign disappeared from the sidewalk and someone ran over the spotlights aimed at her sign.
During a recent weekend, the intersection was completely closed.
“The weekends are our busiest time,” Walters said. “For a Saturday, and to have nothing … ”
But Cielo received a break this weekend, as a planned closure was cancelled.
Ray Buglion, the city’s principal engineer, said there is no foreseeable reason to close the intersection between now and the project’s completion.
And when the streets are paved and the barricades removed, Walters knows what she’ll do to celebrate: A “re-grand opening” is scheduled for sometime in late April.