Traffic study, WCMTD donation highlight South Jacksonville meeting

By Gary Scott on December 2, 2016 at 8:42am

Highlighting last night’s South Jacksonville board meeting was the presentation of a traffic study conducted by the village police department.

Starting in May of 2016, officers of the South Jacksonville Police Department kept 24-hour tabs on basic traffic activity on Hardin Avenue. Officers recorded items such as miles per hour, vehicle types, pedestrian activity among other data.

Police Chief Josh Hallock explains how the study worked and some the department’s findings.

“We saw a need to provide some factual information to some concerned citizens of the area as well as Village board members who were concerned about traffic flow on that avenue. It was a six-month study just to see if there were any unusual anomalies of traffic patterns. The results of that study essentially show that traffic patterns on Hardin Avenue do not differentiate, to my knowledge, from any other street of similar size,” says Hallock.

Hallock says he instructed officers to focus on factual information and that the study itself had no political motive.

“I really strive to keep the political agendas out of the police department work, so what I instructed my officers to do was to go out there and make black-and-white factual observations as far as speed, vehicle types and amount of traffic in each of those categories for the period of time that they were observing. It was a very neutral study, there was no agenda associated with it. Our job, as we proposed it, was to provide the results of the study, then the public can take those results, the board can take those results, and interpret them however they want to,” Hallock explains.

Other items on last night’s agenda included a $6,500 donation to West Central Mass Transit District. While the Village makes annual donations to the service organization, pro-tem Mayor Steve Waltrip believes this year’s contribution was especially important.

“Typically we turn around and give five-thousand over the years but this year we put sixty-five hundred in. (West Central Mass Transit District) being in the straits they are, we thought it’d be a good time to go ahead and do that. The services out here are very necessary, especially for the folks at Labor Drive, so that’s one of the reasons we contribute annually to this, and we hope future boards will do the same,” says Waltrip.

There was a brief moment of contention over the cancellation of the  Village’s annual Christmas Party. Trustees decided to further discuss the matter during a meeting scheduled for December 5th.