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By Collin Breaux | Email: | Twitter: @collin_breaux

Small business owners in the Los Rios Historic District are calling for signage to direct people to the area while construction continues on Verdugo Street.

The construction has blocked off parts of downtown San Juan Capistrano, though some walking paths remain open. Damian Orozco, owner of The Tea House, said while he is fully supportive of the Verdugo Street project and called it a long time coming, signage could improve traffic flow and help downtown visitors get to Los Rios Street.

Orozco urged customers to not get discouraged with parking issues.

“We are working on it as business owners, neighbors, the city,” Orozco said.

People walk around the Los Rios Historic District. Business owners in the district are calling for signage to direct people to the area while construction happens on Verdugo Street. Photo: Collin Breaux

Luis Santiago, owner of Las Catrinas, said business has been affected and sales have been down during construction. Santiago said business is important with the holidays coming up. More visible signage directing people to the Los Rios area and local businesses could convince people to stop by, Santiago said.

“We want them to come here,” Santiago said.

While The Tea House is lucky since they tend to be fully booked for reservations, businesses that rely on walk-ins and foot traffic might not be so fortunate during the construction.

Los Rios business owners recently met with city officials to discuss signage and other topics related to the construction.

“I felt very respected by the city when we met with them,” Orozco said.

In an email to The Capistrano Dispatch on Dec. 3, City Manager Ben Siegel wrote they appreciate the concerns of the downtown business owners and are committed to doing everything they can to mitigate the impacts of construction. 

“Based on feedback from business owners, staff is working install new wayfinding signs this week, which should help navigate pedestrians from Camino Capistrano and Verdugo Street to the Los Rios Historic District businesses,” Siegel wrote. “Additionally, we are working to secure additional public parking during the busy holiday season through an agreement with a nearby landowner.”

Construction for the beautification project began in October and the project is anticipated to be complete in spring 2020. For more information on the project, visit the city website at

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