Avoiding Downtown Congestion

Published 4:33 pm Thursday, May 23, 2013

FARMVILLE – The Town of Farmville is poised to remind motorists on West Third or South Main Streets that they have the option of avoiding downtown if they plan to continue their travels on U.S. 15.

Highway signs will be located to alert those eastbound on West Third that they can avoid downtown Farmville by taking a right on Oak Street and then continuing on Griffin Boulevard.

Similarly, highway signs will be located on South Main to inform motorists coming from the opposite direction that they can continue their travels, avoiding downtown Farmville, by taking a left on Griffin Boulevard and then a left on Oak Street on their way toward U.S. 15 North.

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The suggestion by Town Manager Gerald Spates was approved by Town Council during its March meeting.

The goal is to avoid creating traffic congestion downtown.

“These signs are what we are proposing to put up at the corner of West Third and Oak Street and also South Main and Griffin,” Spates told council members. “Plus, we'll put up some additional signs.”

Spates reminded council members that Griffin Boulevard had been designated in the past as an “alternative Route 15 to keep all the traffic from coming downtown and getting bottlenecked downtown.

“And I'd like to see what ya'll think of going back with the signage. I think it would help down there at that intersection (Main and Third Streets), which gives another option for people to go up Oak Street and up Griffin Boulevard,” the town manager continued, “and miss all the downtown traffic.”

The proposal was favorably received.

“I think it's a good idea,” said council member Dr. Edward I. Gordon.

Vice-mayor Armstead D. Reid did ask if doing so would put too much traffic on Griffin Boulevard but Spates does not believe there is reason for concern.

“I don't really foresee it putting a lot of traffic on (Griffin), just giving people an option,” Spates replied. “A lot of people go that way anyway. But somebody that's new to town that does want to continue on 15 it gives them a quicker route instead of going all through the downtown.”

Perhaps noting a touch of irony, with members of the Farmville Downtown organization present at the meeting-a group hoping to increase the number of consumers downtown-council member Jamie Davis, with something of a chuckle and looking out into the audience, said, “we'd like for them to go through downtown.”

That prompted Spates to add, “Yeah, you'd like for them to go downtown but not to get hung up on the traffic lights.”

Referring to such traffic snarls, Vice-mayor Reid noted, “you're getting hung up everywhere.”

“I know,” Spates agreed.

“Traffic's gotten backed up,” the vice-mayor continued.

“That's gotten to be an issue all the way around,” added council member Tommy Pairet, a Main Street merchant.

The primary 60-inch by 144-inch signs will be located in front of Centra Southside Community Hospital and in front of a residence at the traffic light at South Main and Griffin Boulevard.

Noting that many GPS systems employed in vehicles simply use highway route numbers, Dr. Gordon said he believes the additional information for motorists who simply want to continue their journey as quickly as possible is “not a bad idea…if someone doesn't know this area…Want a motion?”

He made the motion and the motion passed.

The signs, Spates confirmed this month, are on their way.