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HOUSTON A traffic solution for a new Walmart Super Center in northwest Houston is upsetting several business owners who say the construction is costing them customers.

A new median was installed within the past two weeks to curb traffic on Silber Road and prevent it from spilling into the nearby Afton Village neighborhood. The measure comes after months of talks between neighbors, city officials and Walmart.

This is the least restrictive (solution), councilmember Brenda Stardig said at a recent meeting. And it's still not to the (neighborhood s) satisfaction but this is what we've got.

Many of the neighborhood s 250 residents were concerned that traffic coming off I-10 would use their side streets as a driveway for the new Walmart, which opened within the past few weeks.

Rather than install gates in the neighborhood, which the city s legal department said would be a liability of emergency vehicles couldn t get though, city officials decided to build a median that would make it impossible for northbound drivers to turn left into Afton Village.

But landlord and business owner Dan Riley said his 70 tenants are having a very tough time getting to their apartments.

(Walmart) is bringing economic development to the east side of Silber, (but) they've basically said we don't want the west side of Silber developed, Riley said.

At least a half dozen other business on the west side of Silber have also complained of slumping sales since the median was installed. Drivers heading north are now forced to drive a half-mile before they can make a U-turn to head south.

I've been late to church the past two Sundays, said Beverly Humphrey, who fears her favorite convenience store will close due to the median. There's only one way in and out.

A Walmart spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment on Sunday. In the past, the company said that it strives to work with surrounding communities. In this case, it's already given several grants to local service organizations.

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