By KELLY DANIELS
City officials are trying to find solutions to what they is a dangerous, bottle-necked traffic situation on South Montgomery Street.
Since new neighborhoods on the street have expanded, drivers are moving a little too close for comfort to and from their homes, creating congestion along with a safety hazard for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Overcrowding occurs particularly in the mornings and afternoons on South Montgomery between Academy Road and Country Club Road.
Ward 3 Alderman Eric Parker, who represents that area, said he has been wanting to address the problem since his campaign for office over a year ago.
“I think it would be great to get some progress made,” Parker said. “I still don’t think construction may begin in my term, but we have to have a plan and know which direction we’re going.”
The Starkville Board of Aldermen asked an engineering firm Tuesday do begin preliminary work on such a plan by first conducting a traffic study.
The firm will make vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian counts, both manually and electronically, and survey the opinions of residents on and near South Montgomery Street.
After drafting a plan, engineers plan on holding a public meeting, welcoming residents to give their thoughts and recommendations on what they think South Montgomery Street should look like, said Parker, who originally envisioned a three-lane street with a path for pedestrians and cyclists.
“They have as much of a right to the road as a car, but it is dangerous,” Parker said. “We need to do something to get bikers and pedestrians away from the South Montgomery traffic.”
But, he added, Parker, city staff and other members of the Board of Aldermen want the engineers to come up with their own ideas and methods for handling the traffic.
After the public meeting, engineers will conduct a right-of-way study, analyzing how much the city owns and how much it needs to purchase.
Parker hopes to gradually build a budget for improving the street with State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) dollars, similar to the funding process for widening Louisville Street which took two years.
In other business Tuesday, the Board of Aldermen approved a number of other items, including the following:
• Appointing Joy Day Greene to the Historic Preservation Commission.
• Advertising for letters of interest for the Starkville School District appointment with a term beginning on March 3, 2011 and ending on March 8, 2016.
• Appointing Mitchell, McNutt and Sams to represent the City of Starkville for services required to issue the Community Development Block Grant awarded for the Cotton Mill Marketplace project. The appointment will require no additional fees.
• A resolution selecting the Golden Triangle Planning Development District as the administering agency of Cotton Mill’s parking garage project grant along with a contract between the GTPDD and the City of Starkville.
• A contract with Pritchard Engineering for the Cotton Mill Marketplace grant project.
• An agency agreement between the Cotton Mill Development Group and the City of Starkville for purchase of the property for Cotton Mill’s parking garage.
• An agreement between the City of Starkville and the Mississippi Development Authority for the Cotton Mill Marketplace project, establishing requirements for engineering work, specifications and scope of work for highway construction improvements.
• A request by Tabor Construction and Development for Belle Grove Condominiums - Phase 2, a final condominium plat, located at 300 River Road.
• A request by Starkville 12 LLC for Residence Place, a final subdivision plat, located at 335-341 MS Highway 12 West.
• A request by Garry Hughes for Reed Place Subdivision, a preliminary plat, located at 800 Reed Road.
• All claims save those for the Starkville Fire Department as of December 16, 2010.
• A report of receipts and expenditures for the period ending on November 30, 2010.
• Authorization to advertise for the vacant positions of information technology manager and systems and network administrator.
• Authorization to hire Bill A. Flowers to the vacant position of firefighter in the Starkville Fire Department.
• A proposal for the Sanitation and Environmental Services Department to handle rubbish pickup throughout the city beginning in May 2011.