Howard Avenue at MLK: A roundabout or four-way stop?

To some drivers, they move traffic safely and efficiently, without the need for traffic signals or Stop signs. To others, they are the scourge of the motoring public today, increasing the chance for confusion and accidents.

And now, a roundabout is one of the vehicles being considered for the area where Howard Avenue meets MLK Boulevard, east of Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home and the city’s Community Development Department.  Currently, westbound traffic is diverted from Howard Avenue onto the MLK Boulevard, bypassing downtown Biloxi.

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, as part of his vision to restore a two-way Howard Avenue through downtown Biloxi, wants to see westbound traffic moving through downtown instead of continuing to be diverted off of Howard Avenue and onto MLK Boulevard.

Enter at least two ideas for where Howard now meets MLK: a roundabout or perhaps a four-way stop.

Although roundabouts may be relatively new traffic devices to drivers in the Deep South, the fact is, the Mississippi Department of Transportation says the circular roadways that connect intersecting roads are actually safer than typical intersections, with a 90 percent reduction in traffic fatalities and 35 percent fewer crashes. 

The device, which have become vogue in some parts of the country, is a circular intersection where drivers travel counterclockwise around a center island. There are no traffic signals or stop signs in a modern roundabout. Drivers yield at entry to traffic in the roundabout, then enter the intersection and exit at their desired street.

Traffic engineers floated a couple of ideas to the City Council on Tuesday, but no formal recommendation is expected for several weeks.

What do you think? To check out the initial two ideas and give your feedback on the city’s Facebook page, click here. To see an MDOT video that explains the benefits a roundabout, click here.

The downtown vision: To hear Mayor Gilich’s views on the downtown restoration efforts and to see an update that was presented to the City Council on Tuesday morning, courtesy of the city’s YouTube channel, click here


News and notes

Splash pad closure:  The splash pad located behind the Margaret Sherry Library off Popp’s Ferry Road will close temporarily on Monday, June 26 so that the Parks & Recreation Department can repaint the pad surface to make the water play area less slippery.  The work may take up to three weeks or longer to complete based on the weather.  For more information, call the Parks & Recreation Department at 228-388-7170.

Traffic update:  To see the latest road closures and traffic advisories, click here