Transportation Committee Minutes

Intermodal Transportation Committee – Minutes of April 18, 2006

Biloxi City Hall



Mr. Kevin Coggin called the meeting to order, introduced himself and passed out a sign in sheet.  Mr. Coggin recognized a new committee member from Keesler AFB.  Also recognized was General Clark Griffith.


Mr. Patrick Lyons, Jr.

Mr. Wayne Rowell

Mr. Ted Baer

Mr. Jonathan Kiser

Mr. Kenneth Yarrow

Mr. Kevin Coggin

Mr. Wm. B. Rudolf “Rudy”

Mr. Frank Genzer

Mr. David Hardy

General Clark Griffith

Councilman Bill Stalworth

Mr. Ted McLean

Ms. Lynn McLean




Mr. Coggin then proceeded to go over the minutes from the previous meeting.



Mr. Coggin passed out a schedule of the upcoming committee meetings and project milestones.


Governor’s Commission Issues:

Mr. Coggin brought up the first issue for discussion.  The issue was one that was tabled at a previous meeting because the committee did not fully understand the recommendation.  Mr. David Hardy was at the meeting to help clarify the issue.  The purpose of the issue, to restore the smaller scale grid of streets and blocks to accommodate higher density condominium housing, as Mr. Hardy explains, is to make streets fit the community in which it is apart of.  Mr. Hardy charged the committee to first come up with a vision for East Biloxi.  Then to decided how best to realize this vision.  If the vision for East Biloxi is to have a sense of neighborhood restored then a grid system would help accommodate this vision.  Mr. Hardy pointed out that streets should facilitate vehicle movement but not trump everything else.  He also emphasized that streets are “places” and should be safe for all users.  Depending on the intended use of a roadway and the adjacent land uses, streets should be designed to calm traffic if needed, provide pleasing environments for pedestrians and bicycles.  A project that would help advance East Biloxi’s grid system, as Mr. Hardy explained, is one that was proposed in the Governor’s Commission report.  Water Street extended toward the east would provide grided connectivity to the East Biloxi street system.  No discussion took place on this project.  Committee members mentioned that Biloxi’s Planning Department would have to look at parcel sizes in the area to make the grid work in some areas.  General Griffith mentioned that if it was the committee’s recommendation to re-establish a grid in East Biloxi then recommendations could be made to accomplish certain percentages of this goal if it cannot be accomplished at 100%.  The committee spent much time discussing the future of East Biloxi and what would be feasible considering the pending FEMA restrictions put on building.  One committee member pointed out that East Biloxi is already a majority percentage of grided streets.


Other Ideas

The committee brought the use of alleys and discussed how they might help enhance a neighborhood environment.  The use of the back of houses for parking and the use of front yards for entertaining would connect the house and yard to the street to help make it more of a public space.


Urban Loop Removal Revisited

Discussion took place regarding a previously discussed project:  The removal of the urban loop road and replace it with a traditional patterns of blocks and streets.  Mr. Hardy mentioned that one means of getting people back into downtown Biloxi would be to move on this project because it would make available areas for new multi-use land uses to give people something to come to.  The establishment of new development in this area would also help complete a proposed retail loop from the Beau Rivage and Hard Rock Casinos.  The direction by Mr. Hardy was that better communities could be developed using the method of blocks and streets in a tighter pattern to develop a nicer neighborhood setting.  This was counted by comparing the Seaside Community in Florida with a setting that is not affordable to most people.


Mr. Jonathan Kiser re-iterated a previously discussed project of establishing two-way traffic on Howard as means to accomplish the objective of increasing activity to support future downtown retail establishments.


Mr. Frank Genzer voices his opinion and the group’s previous conclusion that the expense of removing the urban loop is simply not justified.  Another view was presented by the group that consisted of multi story buildings lining the loop with centralized parking that could accomplish a similar result.  The group did not see the benefit in interrupting a working, existing roadway when there are more immediate needs in the City.


East Biloxi Grid System

The group concluded that the East Biloxi area is already primarily in a grid and block system.  New development would be encouraged to continue this style of connectivity supporting the grid system; however, removal of existing streets is seen as unnecessary.  The redevelopment would support “walkable” streets with aesthetic components to help the roadways fit into the community.


East Harrison County Connector

A general discussion then was generated by the drawing that showed the alignment of the East Harrison County Connector from Highway 67 to Highway 90.  Many differing opinions regarding the need and proposed alignments were presented.  There was a lot of concern voiced by the group regarding the impact that this facility would have on Biloxi.



Mr. Coggin then presented the group with the direction to consider the needs of other modes of transportation for discussion at the next meeting, including:  rail, shipping, highways, roads, and public transit.


City of Biloxi

Reviving the Renaissance

Intermodal Transportation Committee

Meeting Schedule

All meetings will be held at 6:00 p.m. at the City of Biloxi

City Hall, City Council Chamber



April 4   – Committee Meeting

(first group meeting)


April 11 – Committee Meeting


April 18 – Committee Meeting


April 25 – Committee Meeting


May 2    –  Committee Meeting


May 9   –   Committee Meeting

Draft Committee Report


May 16 –  Committee Meeting

Final Committee Report

(last group meeting)


May 20 – Submit Final Committee Report



Intermodal Transportation Committee

Minutes from April 11, 2006 meeting

Those in attendance for the meeting included:


Mr. Ted w Smith

Mr. Pat Peresich

Mr. Rudy Rudolf

Mr. Ted Baer

Mr. Ted McLean

Mr. Jonathan Kiser

Mr. Kevin Coggin

Mr. Kenneth Yarrow



Mr. Kevin Coggin welcomed everyone to the meeting.


Mr. Coggin passed out a schedule of the upcoming meetings.



Mr. Coggin went over the minutes of the last meeting by recapping the topics of discussion.



Mr. Coggin stressed the importance of staying on task of identifying the issues at hand.  He wanted the committee to address each issue to either favor it or not.  Mr. Coggin passed out a copy of the transportation related recommendations from the Governor’s Commission.  He began discussion as follows:


  1. Remove the Urban Renewal loop road and replace it with a traditional pattern of blocks and streets.  The committee didn’t see the need for this project.  The committee wondered what the benefits of a grid system would be.  They felt the project would cost too much for little benefits.  The committee does not support this project.
  2. Restore Howard Avenue to its traditional Main Street form.  The committee thinks that the success of the Vieux Marche is very important to the revival of Biloxi’s downtown.  Though the type of business in this area is the most important factor to its success, the committee feels that the restoration of two-way traffic would be very beneficial to the downtown.  The committee supports this project.
  3. Create a retail loop from the Beau Rivage and the Hard Rock Casinos to Howard Avenue to activate retail.  There was some confusion as to what the scope of this project is.  The committee did not take any action on this project.
  4. Establish a new boulevard system throughout the peninsula of Biloxi.  & Complete the Back Bay Boulevard all the way to the Point.  This project seemed to really excite the committee.  It made perfect sense to everyone.  It seemed to support many of the future plans for East Biloxi that Mr. Kiser showed on a map. One committee member recommended that there be another north-south boulevard within the loop. Mr. Coggin mentioned that this proposed loop would be very beneficial to transit operations.  The Committee was in very much favor of this project.
  5. Demolish the I-110 extension after the first peninsula exit.  The committee thinks that this would probably be nice, however not really feasible.  The Committee is not in favor of this project.
  6. Enahance Beach Boulevard as a world-class scenic thoroughfare from Gulfport to the end of the eastern point of Biloxi.  The Committee likes this idea.  Mr. Kiser went over some of the proposed improvements to US 90.  He mentioned that there are plans for 5ft sidewalks on the roadway and at-grade pedestrian crossings at some intersections.  The committee began to discuss the feasibility of above-grade crosswalks.  Mr. Coggin explained that there have been plans for a potential crossing of this kind near the Beau Rivage.  One Committee member mentioned that Las Vegas seemed to have success with the elevated crosswalks they had.

The Committee was in favor of this idea.

  1. Establish a tram along the beach connecting all the commercial centers along Beach Boulevard, the downtown, and the casinos.  The committee liked this idea.  Mr. Coggins expressed favor for this idea as well and mentioned that CTA would be operators of such a facility.  The Committee is in favor of this project.
  2. Establish a water taxi connecting the casinos.  The committed is supportive of this idea, but only if it were conducted by private enterprise.
  3. Establish a park-once system and reduce parking requirements.  The committee is supportive of shared parking and transit connections to large parking areas.



Intermodal Transportation Committee
Minutes from April 4, 2006 meeting at Biloxi City Hall


Mr. Kevin Coggin called the meeting to order, introduced himself and passed out a sign in sheet.  Everyone in attendance introduced themselves which included:


Mr. Jonathan Kiser
Mr. Kenneth Yarrow
Mr. Kevin Coggin
Mr. Ted McLean
Ms. Lynn McLean
Mr. Ted Baer
Ms. Suzanne Baer
Mr. Patrick J. Lyons
Mr. Pat Peresich
Ms. Marybeth Dougherty
Mr. Wm. B. Rudolf “Rudy”
Mr. Frank Genzer
Mr. Ted W. Smith
Ms. Karen Smith


Mr. Coggin then proceeded to go over the purpose of the committee.  He spoke of the Governor’s Commission documents and recommendations that would be addressed through this committee.  Mr. Coggin mentioned that the full document could be found on the Commission’s website.PREVIOUS PLANNING EFFORTS:
Mr. Coggin passed out a summary of the transportation recommendations and discussion made by the Governor’s Commission.  The committee began to review each of them. IDENTIFYTRASPORTATION ISSUES:
Mr. Coggin brought up “rail” as the first topic for discussion.  Immediately the discussion led to the potential of the CSX railroad relocation.  After some conversation regarding the number of trains that go through the area and if they service any local industry, the group decided that it should be the purpose of the committee to either embrace the idea or not.  The exchange then led to potential benefits and considerations that would be associated with rail relocation.  The committee members thought that it would be very beneficial to have a new east west corridor to help handle the future capacity needs of Biloxi.  Concerns expressed were the characteristics of the rail bed serving as a natural levy for the coast.  It was also mentioned that if the rail relocation didn’t happen, some rail crossings should be closed.  The committee agreed that the CSX rail should be moved now or it would never happen.

Mr. Coggin then offered “shipping” as discussion for the next topic.  Discussion began about the Biloxi Bay Bridge.  There were many questions about the status of the bridge.  At the end of the discussion, everyone on the committee was understood the bridge to be six travel lanes with four breakdown lanes and a separated pedestrian/bike facility.

The next topic for discussion was the Governor’s Commission recommendation to “Demolish the I-110 extension and reconnect the city’s street grid by replacing it with a grand boulevard”.  Many on the committee though it was a bad idea to tear down the I-110.  It was noted that the Governor’s Commissions reasoning for this idea is to promote walk-ability in the area by removing this barrier.  Some committee members did not see the problem with the I-110 which prompted some discussion about the socio-economic repercussions of an elevated roadway such as this.

The discussion of the I-110 led to the topic of the proposed East Harrison County Connector.  The committee thinks that another north-south connector is necessary.  It was assumed that MDOT wants to build another high rise similar to the I-110.  It is perceived that Biloxi citizens don’t want an elevated roadway for many of the reasons stated for demolishing the I-110.

Popps Ferry as a north-south connector.  Popps Ferry road should be considered as the north-south connector and alternative to the proposed East Harrison County Connector.  It was understood that projects including the Popps Ferry Road Bridge Replacement, Popps Ferry Extension from Pass Road to US 90 and possibly a connector from Woolmarket exit would have to be done for this to be viable alternative.  A major obstacle to this happening would be the environmental document that is already in place for the East Harrison County Connector.

Exchange began on other ideas to improve traffic flow in Biloxi. Several on the committee thought that the I-110 westbound interchange ramp at US 90 needs to be improved.  Also it was understood that Division Street would be a new main entrance to Keesler.  The committee though this was a good idea.  If it didn’t happen, then the existing gate at Forrest Street would need to move its gate house back to allow for more vehicle storage as traffic backs up upon entry.

The Back Bay Boulevard loop was discussed.  It was understood that only one house would be affected by the alignment that is being considered.

Future Boulevards.  The committee seemed to embrace the idea of new roadways being built as Boulevards with a priority on aesthetics.

Washington Loop Replacement.  The committee did not embrace the idea of tearing up this existing roadway for the enhancement of the street grid system was a good idea.  The committee did however like the idea of the restoration of Howard Avenue to its Main Street form.  This could be initiated by allowing two-way traffic through the corridor.

Some on the committee would like to look at parking in East Biloxi to enhance transit and other concerns.

Rail Trolleys.  Many on the committee liked the idea of providing trolleys for movements between the casinos and to the coliseum and convention center.

The meeting was adjourned.  The next meeting is scheduled for April 11 at 6:00 p.m. at Biloxi City Hall.


The first Transportation Committee meeting is Tuesday, April 4 at Biloxi City Hall at 6 p.m.