Old Town Bay St. Louis Traffic Problems Could Soon Be Eased

Anyone who has tried to find a parking space in the downtown shopping district know just how tough it can be. But if you get lucky during peak business hours you can count on a tight squeeze on the narrow Beach Road.

"Old Town is such a unique place," downtown business owner Elise McCollister says. "The people find away to get here, but I think our businesses it would help our business if parking is better than it is now."

Mayor Eddie Favre says the city has been concerned about parking in the area for quite some time.

"We've had different proposals that have been laid out on the table for possibilities, and I think we've finally come up with something that hopefully helps the situation," Favre says.

He says the parking improvement project will create 70 new parking spots from the Jimmy Rutherford Pier to Union Street.

"It also includes some areas some designated areas where delivery trucks can get off the road with out having to block the traffic on both ends of the project by State Street and by the rail road," Favre says. "That should help ease some of the congestion as well."

Favre says the project should be completed without any major expense to the city.

"We've already applied through the transportation improvement program for a permanent fix that would actually widen the Beach Road to eliminate the congestion as well as create additional parking places, but that's several years down the road if it happens," Favre says.

For now, the hope is that 70 new spaces will ease the parking crunch. The project is expected to cost the city around $30,000. Construction could start next month, and will take about three weeks to a month to complete.