When the dust cleared in front of their little shops and restaurants, the business owners on St. Clair Avenue west of Caledonia Road heaved a sigh of relief.

Merchants figured their businesses would finally enjoy a revival this year, after more than five years of watching customers bypass their construction-locked neighbourhood as the TTC built its controversial St. Clair streetcar right-of-way.

But that’s not happening, and the St. Clair Gardens Business Improvement Area (BIA) now is accusing the TTC of killing what’s left of its enterprises by treating the neighbourhood as a work yard.

The right-of-way, still not in use as a streetcar path, is cluttered with trailers, heavy equipment, trucks and lines of private vehicles owned by construction workers who are installing a turnaround loop to the west at Gunns Road.

“People cannot see us. It looks like we’re still under construction, and we’re paying taxes,” said Rose Signorile, who runs Quality Paint & Wallpaper Supplies with her son.

Business is down about 70 per cent from what it used to be, she said.

TTC spokesman Brad Ross said the trailers parked near Signorile’s shop will be gone by the end of the week and the streetcars will finally be running west of Lansdowne Avenue, where buses currently take over transit service, on that section of St. Clair by July 5.