By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Successful restaurants and popular hotels have made North Gloster Street a busy place between McCullough Boulevard and Lakeshire Drive.
The high volume of traffic makes it difficult to get in and out for drivers, pedestrians and nearby neighborhood residents.
Last week, restaurant owner Voz “Vanelli” Kapenekas again asked the Tupelo City Council to consider a light at Spicer Drive to make things safer for drivers to turn left and allow pedestrians to cross safely between hotels and restaurants.
“These are the kind of things that can get forgotten,” Kapenekas said.
Drivers may see some relief. On Friday, Tupelo Water & Light crews adjusted the timing on the lights at Lakeshire and McCullough to see if they could provide a gap for drivers, said TW&L director Johnny Timmons.
“Maybe that will help,” he said.
Despite the congestion, the area isn’t as bad as it could be.
“We really haven’t had that many accidents compared to the volume of traffic,” said Cpl. Philip Sanderson of the Tupelo Police traffic division.
Since Sept. 1, Tupelo Police Department records show five accidents at the Lakeshire and Spicer intersections. No accidents were reported at Pinecrest Drive. Those statistics don’t include accidents that occur outside the intersections.
At some point, the city likely will seek a traffic study to consider how to address the congestion on the busy North Gloster stretch.
“The traffic light issues – that’s not off the table,” Timmons said.
Because North Gloster is a state highway, the city must conduct a traffic study and then ask the Mississippi Department of Transportation for permission based on the study’s results. Earlier this year, the city traffic committee recommended waiting to complete the northern loop, which will connect west Tupelo with the Barnes Crossing retail district.
It’s important to move with consideration, Timmons said.
“You can fix one problem and create another,” he said.