Will better flow stop more traffic?

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Florala looks at choices: faster beach traffic or no changes to parking

Traffic engineers from the Alabama Department of Transportation agreed to take another look at how changing traffic flow in downtown Florala would affect parking.

ALDOT Region engineer George Connor, Troy District maintenance engineer Bill Wofford and district manager Brent Maddox were on hand for a public meeting Monday night. Earlier this month, Maddox suggested that traffic flow problems in the downtown area be addressed by restriping the roads for four-lane traffic. The change would require current slant parking to be changed to parallel parking, and a reduction in the number of parking places.

He also said that studies show more travelers stop when traffic flows smoothly than when it backs up.

But most of the approximately the 30 people who attended the meeting Monday night weren’t buying the logic.

Cindy Phillips, who manages the Christian Service Center, said she believes changing the parking would make her lose customers.


“The majority of people who live in Florala are older people,” Mamie Yawn Clary said. “They cannot walk from a block away. And it’s gong to hurt the businesses in Florala.”

Another business owner said, “As far as I’m concerned, people going to the beach can be inconvenienced for a few minutes,” which he said would be a better choice than potentially hurting businesses.

But Evan Robbins expressed a different sentiment.

“Y’all may not know this, but Florala’s not the only way to get to the beach,” Robbins said. “The four-lane, guys, will bring more traffic through Florala.”

Robbins also asked if angled parking could be preserved if the angle were changed to provide needed space for the four lanes.

“Bill (Wofford) has never steered me wrong,” Connor said. “But we will look at it again.”

ALDOT officials said they won’t change the flow without the blessings of local residents. The city council made no recommendation, pending ALDOT’s next report.

Connor said ALDOT began studying the problem at the request of Sen. Jimmy Holley, after Holley received complaints about the traffic.