STARKVILLE – Turner Purnell’s parking and safety concerns for Westside Drive will continue.
Purnell asked the Starkville Board of Aldermen on Oct. 4 to consider turning West Drive, where he owns one of 12 homes, into a one-way street to help curb speeding traffic and provide curbside parking for residents who live on the street.
The board authorized Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill to study the situation for possible solutions and heard her report during Tuesday’s meeting.
Based on several findings and suggestions from Spruill, the board voted unanimously to install speed tables — broader versions of speed bumps – on Westside Drive.
The board didn’t specify how many speed tables would be installed or when construction would begin. City Engineer Edward Kemp will continue to study solutions to the parking situation.
Ward 7 Alderman Henry N. Vaughn, Sr. motioned for the board to consider adding sidewalks to the area when it finalizes its capital improvements master list next month.
The action will help slow down traffic that’s increased since the road was recently re-paved and striped.
Purnell and residents in the area will have to wait for solutions to parking and the lack of a sidewalk, which Spruill estimated would cost $165,000.
Purnell said he should be able to park in front of his home, which isn’t accessible because the current two-way format of the street doesn’t leave room.
Purnell said his wife recently received a ticket because she parked in the no-parking area on Westside drive. He said his wife had no other choice.
“I have family that can’t come and visit because we don’t have room for them to park,” Purnell said. “If you install that (speed tables), it’s not solving the problems me and my neighbors have of not being able to receive visitors.”
The city can’t create parking for the residents of Westside Drive because it would be considered “impermissible benefits.”
Starkville Police Chief David Lindley said Westside Drive isn’t wide enough to accommodate two lanes of traffic and parking. Lindley said it’s become an improved traffic artery that’s one of the main cut-throughs for that section of town. The area is located off Reed Road in Ward 7.
Parking previously allowed on Westside Drive forced drivers to go around parked cars near the crest of a hill at the beginning of Frontier Drive, Lindley added.
Furthermore, Lindley said that, based on what he’s seen of Purnell’s excavated spot in his yard and his driveway, there’s room for five vehicles to park at his home without parking by the curb.
Purnell countered by saying the steep hill on which his driveway sits puts a strain on his vehicle’s transmission.