Laguna shopping center road improvements start

Long-sought improvements are under way at the Laguna Village Shopping Center in San Luis Obispo to ease traffic congestion surrounding the center and make it easier for shoppers to come and go.

The first phase of upgrades to the center, off the intersection of Madonna and Los Osos Valley Roads, includes:

Widening the Madonna Road driveway to four lanes from two. It will also be realigned to Pereira Drive to make it easier for a future stoplight at that intersection.

Reinstating the left turn into Laguna Village from Madonna Road, which has been cut off since 2007.

Widening of the two driveways next to Burger King on Los Osos Valley Road.

The San Luis Obispo City Council approved the work in March 2010 after the center’s business owners lobbied for a stoplight to create an intersection between the Laguna Village driveway on Madonna Road and Pereira Drive.

The decision followed nearly six months of discussion between city staff and representatives for the shopping center, who said a stoplight would alleviate traffic congestion and improve access.

The council also said that traffic conditions should be monitored for one year after completion of those improvements to determine if the stoplight is needed at Pereira Drive.

Additional work being done within the center includes new landscaping along the two main roadways, repaving of the parking areas and new lighting in the parking lots.

The Upper Crust Restaurant will also expand into the former site of the Merry-Go-Round, gaining about 1,500 square feet. The new space will be used for larger restrooms, storage space and a banquet room.

All of the improvements, which are expected to take about a year, are estimated at more than $1 million. Those costs are being paid for by Kristie and Rudy Molina, owners of the shopping center.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.