Jackson’s transportation needs aren’t about potholes anymore. Jackson’s road infrastructure must not only be maintained better, but must serve a complex metro area.
Indeed, bumpy, pitted streets remain a problem, requiring more funding. Roads are now part of a computerized system of assigning paving priority.
The larger problem is seeing Jackson as it was and confronting what it is: a city with pockets of residential neighborhoods and planned commercial/entertainment growth so that it meshes with burgeoning suburbs beyond city limits signs.
Only in sporadic ways has the city addressed the larger reality. Some positive steps include: the High Street project to widen access to I-55; supporting redevelopment of the Jackson State University area to act as a spruced up western gate to the city; construction of the JSU parkway with a new roadway link to the airport; refurbishing Union Station; and the Fortification Street Improvement Project.
While it’s important to recognize that neighborhoods need sprucing up, and allowing better access to commercial areas for greater development, Jackson cannot continue to operate as if it’s an island in a vast metro area void.
A prime example is the long feud the city had with Ridgeland over four-laning County Line Road. It shouldn’t matter that the road is shared by the municipalities. No one is served by clogged roadways into or out of the city. Jackson was too much of an impediment to this important project.
Jackson must better cooperate with Hinds County for building and maintenance and with metro-area cities on planning and shared projects.
Fix the potholes, yes, but the “whole” needs attention, too, when it comes to transportation planning.