Poplarville resident proposes bike plan: Part 2

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 7, 2018

At a recent Poplarville Board of Aldermen meeting the Board unanimously voted to have the city’s Planning Commission review the draft of a bicycle and pedestrian master plan for use in the community.  The Commission is to report back in 90 days with recommendations.  This is great news but the obstacles are huge:

1. Poplarville currently has no dedicated share roads with bicycle infrastructure.

2. No existing bike lane or multi-use lanes.

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3. No special signage exists on any of the city streets. There is one walking path within city’s main park and one located on PRCC’s main campus.   

4. The city has pending street and drainage projects.  But a transportation alternative is not currently planned.  We should push the Board to put a plan in place to address ways to safely move people around the city before any repaving is addressed.  The city should encourage the developer of the new grocery shopping development currently under construction to include multiuser lanes, bike racks, pedestrian signage and bike paths.

5. While Pearl River Community College has added campus walking and bike path lanes through the use of grants from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi, once students cross over Highway 11, their safety is at risk.  According to an ongoing survey, most college students would walk/bike across Highway 11 if it were safer.  Local retailers in that area would benefit if students from campus found an easier path to the city’s downtown and the Farmers Market.   

PRCC continues to sponsor a bike loan program where students can check out bikes from the Wellness Center. However, students using this service are advised to stay off city streets due to safety concerns. 

6. Currently, most of the public schools do not have adequate or designated bike routes, sidewalks or sufficient bike racks.  Bike route signage also does not exist. 

Within the goals of the draft master plan, the city and the local school district should include a “Safe Routes to Schools program” as part of the city’s early bicycle and pedestrian improvement efforts.

The City of Poplarville should budget a 7 percent tax fund for alternative transportation and tourism projects. These monies would be used to fund the creation of street bicycle lanes, pedestrian paths, and transit enhancement projects.

As part of the public engagement, the Poplarville Chamber of Commerce and students in the area are conducting a bike survey. 

Routes would be based on the survey.  Finally the city should explore all grant opportunities from MDOT and look into the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Alternatives Fast ACT.

Lets keep Moving Poplarville!

Donald van de Werken

Pearl River Tea Company

J&D Blueberry Farm