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Flaggs scraps plan to increase pedestrian traffic along Washington Street

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. pulled the plug on plans to alter weekend evening traffic on Washington Street to encourage more pedestrian traffic.

Flaggs announced he was dropping the plan after a Wednesday evening question and answer session at the Robert M. Walker Building, where a plan to make Washington Street between Clay and South streets one-way was opposed by a small group of residents.

He said Thursday the idea to block off the street was to encourage people to go downtown and eat.

An alternative plan, he said, to make Washington Street one-way between Clay and South “hit the wall” Wednesday night.

“The gain was not worth the pain to me, so I said, ‘Let’s just leave it alone,’” he said.

Flaggs said in the future, “before I engage in anything downtown I’m going to ask for a signed resolution from the residents because the last thing I want to do is be an umpire, a referee.

“I want to make certain that when we do anything downtown it is in the best interest and the progressive interest and will help people in the community,” he said. “I think we should not push against that in the future going forward. If the residents want something, we’ll give it to them.”

Flaggs initially proposed blocking off Washington Street at Clay and South streets on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights to encourage outside dining as a way to help the restaurants in that part of downtown. The plan, which was to have begun Labor Day weekend, was pushed back a week.

Flaggs later proposed making Washington Street one-way south on Friday and Saturday nights only, from 7 p.m. to midnight, as a way to allow restaurants to have outside dining on sidewalks and parking spaces in front of the businesses. When the plan was opposed, he dropped it.

He believes blocking the street can help business, “But I don’t think Vicksburg’s there yet and I’m not going to force it.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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