Business owner calls for more pedestrian crosswalks
Published 7:00 am Thursday, October 30, 2014
One Picayune business owner is hoping his recent misfortune will inspire city leaders to seriously consider the addition of pedestrian crosswalks to the downtown area.
Mickey and Pam Fluitt are the owners of Mickle’s Pickles and have been forced to shut down production due to Mickey’s recent accident.
On Monday, Oct. 20, Fluitt walked from his shop on Rester Street to the post office on Hwy. 11.
“I walked past PJ’s coffee shop on Main Street to cross the street and it’s difficult because there is no crosswalk,” Fluitt said. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘Picayune is not pedestrian friendly.’”
After leaving the post office, Fluitt walked to the intersection of Goodyear Boulevard and Hwy. 11.
“I looked at the traffic light and it was red,” Fluitt said. “I got halfway across the intersection and the car in the left turning lane moved. I leaned forward and jumped onto the hood and when the driver hit the brakes, I slid off the hood and landed on my feet.”
Fluitt said he felt his ankle give way and “spider walked” on his hands and foot to the curb. Pam, Fluitt’s wife, arrived on scene and took him to the emergency room.
Fluitt suffered a fracture of the calcaneus or heel bone. It is also called “lovers break” and generally occurs when a person falls from a height and lands on their feet, Fluitt said.
Since the accident, he has traveled to a bone specialist in Hattiesburg three times. Monday, Fluitt underwent surgery and a plate was placed in his ankle.
“It will be at least two to three weeks minimum before I can put pressure on my foot again,” Fluitt said. “I make and jar the pickles myself and now that I can’t stand, my business is at a standstill. Everything we had in stock has been sold and delivered.”
Fluitt has already missed three craft shows and shut down his PayPal account and mail and wholesale orders.
“The city of Picayune has done a wonderful job of sprucing up this town with the installation of street lights, landscaping and street signage,” Fluitt said. “But there’s one more thing that really should be addressed and that’s pedestrian crosswalks.”
Fluitt said he mentioned crosswalks to a city council member a couple of months ago and is considering bringing up the topic again at a future council meeting.
The city of Picayune considers itself a retirement community, Fluitt said, but when elderly residents with canes and walkers attempt to cross the streets, it becomes more dangerous.
“My wife and I have been to almost every state in the United States and seen a number of small towns,” Fluitt said. “Picayune is growing, where some small towns are dying. A crosswalk doesn’t cost that much. I know that Hwy. 11 is state run, but this is our town and our citizens that cross these streets.”
Mayor Ed Pinero said the city is going to research what can be done on state aid highways and the city is in contact with Tom King of the Mississippi Transportation Department to figure out how to add crosswalks across highly traveled areas.
“There are no specifically designated crosswalks where the majority of the downtown businesses are,” Pinero said. “We will research creating crosswalks at designated high volume commercial areas near East and West Canal St.”