City of Vicksburg: Traffic report says Mission 66 crosswalk not feasible

Published 10:10 am Tuesday, August 15, 2023

A traffic study of Mission 66 between Mission Drive and MacArthur Place has determined that it’s not feasible to install a pedestrian crosswalk.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen received the study at its Aug. 10 meeting.

According to the study commissioned by the board, constructing an ADA-compliant sidewalk along Mission 66 from the Townhouse Salon parking lot north to Mission Park Drive would cost the city approximately $2.8 million. It also recommended the city consider reducing the speed limit on Mission 66 from 40 mph to 35 or 30 mph.

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The board accepted the study. Mayor George Flaggs Jr. indicated the crossing could be discussed during budget meetings.

City traffic superintendent W.L. Sanders said he and Interim Public Works Director Dane Lovell want to see the speed limit on Mission 66 set to 30 mph for the entire street, which goes from Military Avenue to Sky Farm Avenue.

We think it should be 30 for the reason if you’re on Mission 66 and going toward (Cedar Hill) cemetery, it’s 30 mph,” Sanders said. “If you go the other way (from Clay Street)… (the speed limit) goes up to 40.”

The board commissioned the traffic study performed by Neel-Schaffer Engineers at the request of Karen Frederick, a resident in the area who is interested in providing a safe crossing area for residents who want to walk to local businesses.

Several businesses are located along Mission 66, including medical and dental clinics and the Vicksburg School District’s Academy of Innovation, which is at the intersection of Mission 66 and Rosa A. Temple Drive.

The study, which was released July 28, showed that between midnight and 12:20 p.m. on May 5, 29,629 cars traveled southbound on Mission 66, while 29,666 vehicles traveled north from midnight April 25 to 2:56 a.m. on May 2. The average speed for southbound traffic was 47 mph, while the average for northbound traffic was 45 mph.

The study indicated a series of issues that would have to be addressed to install the crossing.

The on-site review indicated multiple impediments that would need to be addressed in order to facilitate the construction of a sidewalk,” according to the study. “Severe gradient variations, impacts to both public and private utilities, drainage adjustments, removing and relocating business signs, and loss of parking along several businesses are among the primary obstacles that would need to be addressed.”

Also, according to the study, the terrain on the east and west sides of the road is generally on an uphill gradient.

Utilizing the green buffer area between the edge of the pavement and the top of the bank (edge of parking lot) to build a sidewalk is not feasible. To do so would require every utility to be relocated,” the study indicated. “As such, in order to relocate utilities, right of way would need to be purchased in order to provide a new corridor to place the relocated utilities.”

Also, according to the report, the grade variations would require every driveway along the route to be removed and replaced in order to meet current Americans with Disabilities Act criteria, resulting in “a considerable loss of parking spaces along the sidewalk route.

The loss of parking spaces is estimated to be in the 25-30 range. The loss of parking will damage the owners’ assets and affect future revenue streams which can increase the cost to purchase the necessary right of way.”

The study listed some other options for traffic signals and costs:

* Retrofit the existing signal to include pedestrian functions: A review of the existing traffic signal cabinet and hardware was performed, and it was determined that a new traffic signal controller and cabinet would be required in order to accommodate the addition of a pedestrian crossing. The new cabinet and controller should be mounted on a stand-alone concrete base. The pedestrian push button mechanism and LED countdown should be installed on new pedestrian poles. The estimated cost is about $315,000.

* Replace the existing span wire traffic signal with a mast arm traffic signal. Replacing the existing signal includes removing signal heads from poles owned by others, updating the existing traffic signal hardware and software, updating vehicular and pedestrian detection, and including a pedestrian signal mounted on the new traffic signal poles, eliminating the need for separate pedestrian signal foundations and pole placements. The estimated cost is about $656,000.

Sanders disagreed with the report, saying he could put a pedestrian crosswalk there under the existing conditions for less money.

We can add a pedestrian crossing with the existing cabinet; the only thing I would need is a countdown pedestrian signal crossing head that says walk and then counts down; it’s $1,000,” he said. “However, before I do that, there has to be a short sidewalk built on the other side of the road.”

Sanders estimated the total cost at $10,000.

The study also considered a request for a left-hand turn signal at the intersection of Mission 66 and MacArthur Place.

According to the study, “the existing traffic signal configuration, which is a left-turn permissive configuration, adequately addresses the existing volume of left-turning vehicles.”

The study, however, indicated the city might consider a left-turn lane if traffic patterns change on Mission 66.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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