McGregor Avenue construction causes headaches for Mobile businesses, residents

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 6:13 PM CST
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Construction work along McGregor Avenue has been going for just a week, and already it is caused headaches for businesses and residents, alike.

Susie McLaughlin, who has helped run Black Door Studio off of North McGregor Avenue for about five years, said the road work between her store and Stein Avenue has made it harder for customers to find.

“It’s completely blocked one direction of traffic,” said McLaughlin, whose store sells women’s clothing, women’s jewelry and vintage items. “So that’s gone, and I know that it’s affected the neighborhoods nearby as traffic’s increased. … It’s harder to pass this shop now.”

The city is widening McGregor Avenue and part of a project that eventually will cover the area from Airport Boulevard to Dauphin Street and include a roundabout at the intersection of Dauphin and McGregor, as well as the reconstruction of a bridge.

Construction along the current stretch will take about 12 weeks, according to officials.

McLaughlin said her store has advertised online to let customers know that the shop is still open and to push its online retail business. That also is a strategy that Elizabeth’s Garden has used. The florist shop is right in the middle of the construction on McGregor.

Co-owner Carol Zimlich Reeves said the store has been in business for 40 years, 27 at its current location. She said most of her customers are loyal and seek out the store, which also makes deliveries.

“Our call-in traffic’s been great, which is what we basically depend on the most,” she said. “People call, and then we take out their orders and deliver them for them. … So you know, it’s impacted us, but not that terribly.”

Reeves said she is bracing for the impact during Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras, traditionally the busiest time of the year.

It is not just businesses. Folks who live on that stretch of McGregor have had to adjust their lives, as well. James and Vickie Bowden have been married for almost 52 years and have lived for 42 years in the house where Vickie Bowden grew up.

“We park out front,” James Bowden said. “Our driveway backs out into McGregor, so we can’t back out. … But that’s OK. We cut through the neighborhood. And you know, it’s kind of just a little bit more aggravating, but it’s no big deal.”

Vickie Bowden said the road work does have one benefit, though.

“Quieter without the traffic going through,” she said.

At least during the daytime. James Bowden said it is a different story after the construction workers have gone home for the evening.

“What’s the biggest problem is at night, people will take down the barricades or move ‘em, and cut through her anyway at night,” he said.

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