Traffic sign on Jacobs

Published 4:47 pm Friday, August 3, 2007

Some parents of Poplarville High School students are concerned that the solution the city arrived at for controlling traffic on Jacob Street at its intersection with Mississippi 53 during peak school traffic hours will hinder their children’s ability to arrive at school on time.

School officials are hoping a new entrance to the students’ parking lot being constructed on the Miss. 53 side of the lot will resolve that issue.

With the start of school next week, the city of Poplarville is trying to improve traffic moving from Jacob Street onto Miss. 53 by asking motorists to refrain from turning south on Miss. 53 during peak school traffic hours.

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The Poplarville Board of Aldermen earlier this summer discussed helping to find a solution to the problem of backed-up traffic adjacent to the high school.

Dr. John Grant had brought the situation to the board’s attention because of complaints he had received from an individual being caught in the traffic for long periods of time. He was told that motorists who simply wanted to turn right onto Miss. 53 often times would wait up to 15 minutes because of vehicles waiting for a chance to make a left turn.

Grant and other aldermen agreed it was a problem and decided to place a sign designating no left turns on school days from 7-9 a.m. and 2-4 p.m.

The aldermen realize it is an inconvenience for drivers to be asked to go north before turning around to head south on Miss. 53. At present, however, they feel this is the only solution to keep traffic moving on Jacob Street.

Grant said that if traffic were to slow down to the point a where driver could easily make a left turn during the designated hours without hindering traffic, then it would be left to the driver’s discretion to make the turn. He said the sign has been placed there as a “request” for citizens to follow to improve on the difficult situation.

Some parents of students who park in the students’ parking lot in the front of the school are equally concerned about not being able to turn left or south off of Jacobs Street on to Miss. 53. One parent voiced the same concerns about safety, but also is concerned about students who live south of town not being able to turn in that direction to enter the school parking lot.

Superintendent Carl Merritt, following the last school board meeting, said the school hoped to have someone at the Jacobs Street intersection with the highway to help facilitate traffic flow.

Buster Herndon, school transportation director, said Tuesday that a new gate under construction for the student parking lot will tie directly onto Miss. 53 South and should help traffic flow.

He said the new gate should be ready for the start of school on Tuesday. For now, both access gates to the student parking area will be used, Herndon said, but at a later date the Jacobs Street access would be discontinued.

In preparation for the opening of the new football stadium later in the month, Herndon said initial plans are for the parking areas in front of the school and behind the gymnasium to be designated as home-side parking while visitor-side parking would be south of the high school, near the Middle School.

While plans are incomplete, Herndon said there should be road access to the immediate stadium area for handicap accessibility.