Ocean Springs traffic study to look at congested downtown driving and parking

Ocean Springs traffic study to look at congested downtown driving and parking

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Ocean Springs is growing and attracting more visitors every day. Those new visitors are making the already crowded roads more difficult to navigate, and then there’s parking.

Two items on the upcoming Board of Aldermen’s meeting will help the city look for solutions.

“Based on our growth, the fact that we’ve had so much growth and success in the downtown area, we got the funding to do a study to look at the travel patterns, the traffic patterns, the parking problems and identify solutions both long and short term,” said Carolyn Martin, Ocean Springs Planning and Grants Administrator.

The city wants to know, among other things, how to best encourage motorists to take different routes into the busy downtown area and do a better job of letting people know where existing parking is.

“We know that we have very little real estate to work with,” Martin said on Thursday. “This is the oldest part of the city; the streets are narrow. There’s a lot of cars trying to get different places.”

The city has worked at the problem in the past but now wants to take a more comprehensive look at solutions. They are thinking about long-term investment into parking and solutions that may become obvious during the study.

“We know we are limited," Martin said. "So we’re going to try to be creative and we want to do it right so that it supports the growth and doesn’t hinder it.”

Ocean Springs has also received a grant to study South Ocean Springs Drive between Highway 90 and Government Street. Traffic patterns there have changed since the intersection near the hospital was redesigned. There is a popular shopping center with Rouses and Starbucks and more land available to develop.

The recent rebuilding of Woody’s Roadside has led the city to want to expand Steelman Lane, which leads to the old cement plant near there.

Martin said the city will use that study to be prepared for the development coming to that area.

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