What’s next for Main Street?

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Downtown Tupelo Main Street leaders on Monday asked the City Council to vote next week on the three-lane configuration of Main Street.
After a Monday work session, the majority of the City Council members said they were in favor of the project. Jim Newell said he was opposed. Willie Jennings was not at Monday’s meeting.
The call for action came during a work session where a consultant gave his findings about traffic flow downtown during the test.
The test was required by the council before it would vote on permanent changes. For the test, the road configuration on Main Street from Green Street to Elizabeth Street was changed from four lanes to two lanes, plus a center turn lane, partial bike lanes and on-street parking.
Bob Murphy of RPM Transportation Consultants, which was hired by the Main Street Association, said his company’s results show that the new road pattern is working.
The company did traffic analysis in August 2010 on the four-lane configuration. It did the same analysis in April 2011 on the three-lane configuration.
RPM found that the overall travel time is reduced for motorists traveling eastbound and westbound. It took motorists between 2 minutes and 3.5 minutes to get from Green Street to Elizabeth Street.
Plus, motorists had to stop less at red lights after the 3-lane conversion. Murphy cited the synchronized lights for the enhancement.
He also noted that traffic volume was about the same on Main Street before and during the test. On average, between 13,000 and 14,000 vehicles travel the stretch daily.
Plus, he said travel speeds have increased.
The downside from the new configuration is the traffic buildup at the intersection of Front and Main Street. He recommended that the turn signals be removed to help alleviate the congestion.

Read more in Tuesday’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.