The main entrance to Scottsdale Fashion Square mall used to be intimidating for pedestrians. Now, it’s worse — at least temporarily.
Green mesh fences surround businesses such as Crate & Barrel, Starbucks Coffee Company and Kona Grill, and come within 10 feet of the front doors.
On their way out, customers stop to lean on the fence and look at a heap of rubble that used to be a stairway and sidewalk.
Construction crews have been ripping up the entrance since Friday.
The crews are working to improve the main entrance, which is slated to be finished in October, said mall spokesman Chris Stallman. It will be vastly different from the old, and will cater to pedestrians.
Before, the entrance catered to vehicles and was inconvenient for walk-ups, said Bob Gutierrez, an architect with Scottsdale-based Sixty First Place Architects.
Cars clogged roadways while buses and trolleys turned slowly through a roundabout. Customers found themselves looking right and left, and then right and left again before braving the road to the mall stores.
"It was intimidating and chaotic, and it wasn’t safe," said Gutierrez, designer of the new entrance. "We’re trying to give it more order," he said.
Changes will include raised and widened walkways, better lighting, narrower roads to discourage traffic, automatic doors and a grand staircase leading to the doors.
Additionally, trolley and bus stops will be relocated to the parking lot east of the entrance and valet parking will be moved to a less public area of the entrance.
Because of the heavy construction, some customers are confused about which way to walk.
"Oh no," said Scottsdale resident Dorian Martinez, 44, as she walked out of the mall and saw the construction ahead.
She and her son, 15-year-old Xavier, parked where they usually do in the structure to the west of the entrance, but had to walk 10 minutes around the mall to enter.
"We thought we’d be able to walk through here," Martinez said, looking at the parking structure that was blocked by fences.
Mall employees have been helping direct customers.
"They come in all day," said Starbucks employee Dominic Garcia. They’re confused, they don’t know where to go, and they don’t know how to get in.
"I was confused, too," he said.