THANKSGIVING WEEKEND: Traffic | Travel Guide | Weather | Holiday Guide | Mall Hours

Center City Retailers Eager To Get Their Street Back After Water Main Break

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Foot traffic is flowing fairly smoothly near the intersection of 16th and Walnut Streets in center city Philadelphia, but dump trucks and front-end loaders have yet to wrap up in the middle of the street, following last weekend’s water main break.

The 12-inch water main break last Saturday afternoon happened in the heart of the “Rittenhouse Row” shopping district (see related story), a busy stretch of retailers and restaurants, and many businesses are eager for that work to be finished.

The sidewalks are open, but vehicles have to detour at 16th and Walnut.  Some retailers say shoppers are distracted looking at the repair work rather than their storefront windows.

“It’s one small bit of the block, so it won’t ruin my experience entirely,” says Jim, visiting from near New York City, “but shopowners can’t be happy about it.  Not very nice in the middle of the holiday shopping season.”

“Our (shopping) traffic has slowed down a bit,” admits Nicholas, who works at City Sports, 1608 Walnut Street.   “Our numbers should be better than they have been the last couple of days.”

Some restaurants say lunch and dinner business is down, too.  Other retailers have been hoping their regulars find them.

“Luckily, we rely on a lot of foot traffic, so it hasn’t affected most of our customers too much,” says JR Johnson, an assistant manager at Holt’s Cigar store at 1522 Walnut, just beyond the closed area.

The Philadelphia Water Department now says it hopes to have the road opened by the end of next week.

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