Section of Forbes Avenue Downtown closed for construction

16-month street closure may affect business Downtown

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After a section of Forbes Avenue closed Thursday evening, some local business owners had to find alternate routes for deliveries.

The street closure, which affects Forbes Avenue between Wood Street and Market Square, accommodates construction of The Gardens at Market Square, an 18-story office, hotel and retail complex. Driving and parking lanes are closed, but sidewalks remain open.

Liz Moore, owner of Bluebird Kitchen, located at 221 Forbes Ave., said her primary concern is parking access for deliveries. Ms. Moore said she buys all of the restaurant's ingredients herself and uses Forbes to unload. She said it also will be more difficult to load food and supplies for catering jobs.

"I normally park right in front of the restaurant. I have heavy things to unload from my car," she said. "I don't know how we're going to do it, but we'll manage."

Talib Hussain owns Cherries Diner across the street at 212 Forbes, the same side of the street as the Gardens at Market Square project. Mr. Hussain, who said he was unaware that Forbes was closing Thursday, said he was worried.

"Our customers walk through here, they drive through here," he said, gesturing to Forbes Avenue. Mr. Hussain said he uses Forbes to unload supplies and is unsure how he will adjust.

"I'm going to have to think about it," he said.

Ms. Moore said despite the inconvenience, the project is good for the area and might even boost business. As most of Bluebird Kitchen's customers come from foot traffic, she isn't worried about people not being able to get to the restaurant.

"I'm an optimistic person," she said. "Maybe now that people will be forced to walk on our side of the street, it will get people to come in more often because they will be walking right in front of it." Other than additional signs to remind customers that the restaurant will remain open despite construction, Ms. Moore said she doesn't plan to make many changes during the estimated 16-month closure.

"It's not ideal, but the end result will be a great asset for the neighborhood and we're really excited about it," she said. "When it's done, it will be worth all the aggravation."

As an alternate route to the square, traffic on Forbes Avenue is now two-way between Market Square and Stanwix Street.


Lauren Lindstrom: llindstrom@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1964.

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