Downtown Hattiesburg plans for two way traffic plan

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - From downtown living to downtown traffic. With the new lofts coming many folk's are wondering will they fit? Where will they park, and what will rush hour be like?

"What we want to do is create a more pedestrian friendly environment downtown,"said Hattiesburg Director of Engineering Bert Kuyrkendall.

Kuyrkendall says the city has a traffic plan which will improve the flow, and slow cars down.

"To convert the one way traffic on Pine Street and Front street to two way traffic," said Kuyrkendall.

But Kuyrkendall says a two way traffic conversion will mean pushing traffic speeds down as low as 25 miles per hour, meant to create safer surroundings for residents and workers.

"Two way streets are easier to find your way around than one way. People that aren't familiar with downtown have a hard time when they get down here," said Kuyrkendall.

Other changes motorists will have to get used to is more stop signs.

"Taking out traffic lights, adding four way stops. All the traffic lights except for the ones on Main Street will be taken out," said Kuyrkendall.

If you're going slower, and stopping more, you may make up any lost time parking.

"We can add about 100 on street parking spaces which is crucial for down town retail, " said Kuyrkendall.

More parking along downtown streets could mean more revenue for hub city businesses.

"Definitely, the parking, we can always use more parking," said Southern Fried Comics Owner, Barry Herring.

Herring says he's a fan of the one way streets, but can see the turn off.

"I think some people are turned off by one way streets, and making them both ways, yea, it's only going to help things," said Herring.

There has been talk about a parking garage, but according to Kuyrkendall it's not set in stone.

"We are in the planning stages for it, and along with that we are looking at potential funding sources. I believe downtown will get a new parking garage at some point," said Kuyrkendall.