Tupelo’s City Council made the right decision Tuesday night when it broadened limitations on truck traffic on Blair Street, mandating as traffic policy rules that should make the mostly residential street safer.
The council’s decision came on a motion by Ward 4 Councilman Steve Mayhorn, who pushed broader limits as far as a majority would support. Blair Street residents had flatly rejected any compromise of their demands for a ban on heavy commercial truck traffic going to and from the Frisco-Reed Industrial Park west of the Blair Street-Industrial Road intersection. Industries in the industrial park had offered significant concessions last week, and most of those were incorporated in Mayhorn’s motion. The trucks for many years have used Blair Street as the most direct route to Gloster Street, Tupelo’s main north-south traffic artery.
Council action Tuesday night followed several weeks of campaigning by Blair Street residents and some residents of adjoining streets to win a ban on all heavy commercial truck traffic. Tupelo’s citywide Traffic Committee rejected that demand last week, sending the dispute to the council for disposition.
The compromise continues a 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. curfew and expands the ban to all trucks carrying sand, gravel and aggregate materials (like fill dirt or crushed stone), and all westbound tractor-trailer trucks. Mayhorn requested beefed-up Police Department enforcement when the new limitations take effect June 1.
Blair Street residents can revisit the issue anytime they choose, and they should if the new limits are ignored or if enforcement is lax.
The compromise represents movement by both sides. It may be possible to negotiate additional concessions if the character of the Blair Street neighborhood becomes even more residential. The new rules, for now, as Mayhorn noted Tuesday night, are politically possible and better than no changes.