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Officials also post new signs in response to criticism

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FARMINGTON — In response to complaints from some downtown merchants about the impact the Complete Streets construction is having on their businesses, Farmington officials have released updated maps detailing where free public parking is located and how pedestrians can navigate the district to patronize those businesses.

Phase one of the downtown revitalization project got underway Jan. 6 and is expected to last until June. A four-block section of Main Street through the district has been fenced in, and workers for AUI Inc., the Albuquerque contractor hired to perform the work, have been removing pavement and portions of the sidewalks as they prepare to construct new streets, roundabouts, extended sidewalks and other improvements.

More: Complaints from business owners surface as Complete Streets work progresses

A map to improve limited pedestrian access

John Silva, owner of several Three Rivers Brewery enterprises located in the 100 block of East Main Street in the heart of the construction activity, has been critical of how the work has limited pedestrian access to his building. He also has faulted the city for what he described as inadequate signage.

The updated maps appear to be a direct response to that criticism. They display which streets are open and closed, where free public parking is located, where the boundaries of the work zone are located and how pedestrians can frequent the downtown businesses that continue to operate in the middle of that construction zone.

One of the maps also includes a rendering of what the district will look like when the work is done. The project is intended to revitalize downtown with various traffic-calming measures and make it a more pedestrian-friendly location that features sidewalk cafes, enhanced public gathering sites and more.

Working with community business owners

City officials met with Silva last week and immediately began putting in place new signage that emphasizes to motorists and pedestrians that downtown businesses remain open despite the work. A sign has been positioned on Broadway Avenue south of the work zone and another has been stationed prominently at the intersection of East Main Street and East 20th Street.

Previous coverage: As the Complete Streets construction nears, concerns emerge about historic designation

City officials also have promised to take under consideration some proposals the brewery owner has developed that would re-establish limited pedestrian access through the work zone. Silva has complained that the lack of access for pedestrians across Main Street at Orchard Avenue has caused a sharp decline in his business.

Phase one of the project extends from Hill Street to Allen Avenue. The second phase, scheduled to begin when the first phase is finished, will extend from Allen Avenue west to just past Auburn Avenue and is expected to be finished in November. The cost of the project is $9.2 million, with a secondary $2.5 million project to upgrade the district's infrastructure occurring simultaneously.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610, or via email at measterling@daily-times.com.

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