Montebello officials said the project has been years in the making. They said a four-page flier was hand-delivered to all businesses in the affected area weeks before construction commenced. “We paid a firm to send out notices in both English and Spanish, and we’ve held meetings all along,” said Richard Torres, city administrator. “The community has told us for years that they wanted us to fix up Whittier Blvd., but people are always going to be unhappy during the disruption. There is never a good time to do it.” The Whittier Boulevard revitalization project aims to create a downtown shopping and restaurant center between 4th and 10th Streets. The project will include new landscaped sidewalks, trees, street lights, benches and signs. Jose Bazua, the city’s economic development project coordinator, said that work on the four blocks currently under renovation is scheduled to be completed by December, barring extreme weather. He added that the city and the contractor, Los Angeles Engineering Inc., planned to only work on small sections at a time to minimize disruptions. “It’s in the contractor’s interest to get done as fast as possible,” Bazua said. “When the rain prevented us from pouring cement, we were taking advantage of the softer ground to start digging up the trees further down the project area. We’re continuing to work on it, even in the rain. “Regarding safety issues, the city did not place screens on top of the barriers, because people climb them anyway, creating an even more dangerous situation,” said Bazua. “The screens get bent and broken when people climb them. Then we find that big 18-wheelers blow them over. People shouldn’t be climbing them. They can cross at 4th Street or Montebello Boulevard,” Bazua said. — Pam Wight can be reached at (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029, or by e-mail at [email protected]’s talk business.Catch up on the business news closest to you with our daily newsletter. Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Pineda and her business neighbors now are petitioning the city for possible financial help. They want the city to pay their rents if the construction on the boulevard beautification project extends beyond the scheduled six-month time frame. The owners complain that the city did not provide sufficient notice before construction work began Oct. 3. Most of them claim they have lost about 50 percent or more of their business since the work began. “(The city) invited us to a meeting at Salvatore’s (restaurant) a couple of weeks before they dug up the street to tell us they’d be starting,” Pineda said. “But I don’t think it was enough time to prepare. I just want for it to be done fast. I hardly have any customers anymore. I might have to close on Mondays and Wednesdays now.” Ruben Beas, who shops at Montebello Bakery, said he used to come to the bakery every day but now finds parking too troublesome. Not only is handicapped access restricted, but the cement barrier closing off four blocks poses a safety hazard, Beas said, noting that people are forced to climb over the barrier to cross the street. MONTEBELLO — Business owner Vilma Pineda is learning that development comes at a cost. As owner of Diana’s Boutique on Whittier Boulevard in Montebello, Pineda said she has been losing between 50 percent and 70 percent of her business in recent weeks due to the disruptions caused by a major construction project. She is not alone. Street parking on the westbound side of Whittier Boulevard is closed between 4th Street and Montebello Boulevard, blocked off by a white cement barricade that has forced customers of about a dozen businesses to park in back lots and alleys.