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Riverside Avenue construction continues, frustration among businesses grows

Many downtown businesses, including Left Bank Wine Bar and Lord Stanley's, say they are affected by the ongoing construction on Riverside.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Downtown Spokane businesses are feeling the impacts of construction on Riverside Avenue. 

Crews started reconstructing Riverside Avenue in June 2022. They're working a few blocks at a time. From Division to Wall, the project reduces traffic lanes from four to three. This will accommodate a new bike lane. Then, from Wall to Monroe, lane re-striping will continue the new traffic reconfiguration.

In the meantime, some businesses are feeling the impacts of the construction right outside their door.

Austin Stolp owns Left Bank Wine Bar. Work on Riverside Avenue has closed-off access to it from Washington Street.

"Our weekends are down 60%," Stolp said.

He said the limited access to his business is also making it difficult for customers to reach Left Bank, let alone find nearby parking.

"We're told a lot that 'we want to get down there, but we can't figure out how to get there,' or I've had people say 'we want to bring our mom in for dinner, but we can't park and walk that far'," Stolp said. "We're rooting for the city. We want us to grow. We just want to survive to see it."

There's even some confusion about what sidewalks are closed. Lord Stanley's tried to clear up any confusion with their own sign directing people to their door.

"We did know it was coming, so we definitely planned for it," Jessie Koester, Owner of Lord Stanley's said. "But, it's certainly frustrating."

The city of Spokane said construction for the project is on schedule. Crews are currently in phase two of three. Phase two is expected to wrap up at the end of September, which is a light at the end of the tunnel that businesses are looking forward to. 

"Hopefully, when it's finished, it will attract more people downtown, so it'll actually help the businesses out more," Koester said.

According to the city's website, the Riverside Avenue Project is expected to be completed in fall 2022. 

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