rumbling you'll hear on campus in February is nothing to worry about
- unless you miss your ride. Your trolley ride, that is, on the
Downtown Lunch Express.
for trolleys to head to the university's campus on a test run in
the month of February to whisk away hungry staff and faculty members
downtown for a relaxing, stress-free lunch.
no driving, no traffic, no worries - even about how you'll get back
to campus. That's been taken care of, too: The trolleys will run
every 20 minutes, giving you plenty of time to slip back behind
the Southern Miss Department of Economic Development, the city of
Hattiesburg and Historic Hattiesburg Downtown, the Downtown Lunch
Express is an initiative to bring students, faculty and staff members
to downtown restaurants to promote downtown businesses with quick,
efficient and economical transportation.
Lunch Express will cost $1 round-trip and will target those who
work at the university who can't access their parked vehicles easily.
will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to reduce traffic congestion, offer
a variety of restaurants for lunch and provide accessibility to
The route will
follow Hardy Street west to the university and back again, then
will circle downtown, stopping at major intersections within one-block
access to major eateries.
route will be two linear routes, with 20-minute intervals, and plans
call for signs on campus to inform of trolley stops.
trolley will enter at Southern Drive at the Service Road entrance,
circle the interior campus, turn into the main campus entrance at
East Memorial Drive, travel north to the Service Drive to Southern
Drive, and exit to Hardy Street, where it will travel east to downtown.
will follow Hardy Street to West Front Street, travel north to East
Front Street, turn left onto Market Street to Batson Avenue to North
Main Street, travel east to Walnut Street to Southern Avenue, turn
right back to Hardy Street, and continue its route to the university.
are to increase ridership to and from downtown," said Christine
L. Brown, of the city's urban planning and mass transit department.
an automobile traffic alternative much like bicycles and the like
- it's another tool."
that the dollar round-trip fee will be used for maintenance and
fuel for the trolley. She said that though the trolleys are not
yet ADA accessible, disabled patrons can still call the Demand Response
number at 545-4670 to get rides to downtown. "We are in the
process of purchasing additional vans and buses that are ADA accessible,
but patrons can always call the Demand Response for a ride,"
just need 24-hours' advance notice."
director of the Hattiesburg Lake Terrace Convention Center, said
the Downtown Lunch Express came about after a conversation he had
with the Southern Miss chair of the Department of Economic Development,
Ken Malone, and later, members of the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown
and the city.
was the parking perception (on campus) that staff and faculty members
have a tendency to not relinquish choice parking spaces to go off-campus
for lunch," Taylor said. "Ken suggested we set up a trolley
run from the university to downtown area during lunch on weekdays."
the effort to grow downtown because of its vital role in growing
our entire community."
that downtown eateries can benefit from an increase in volume during
weekday lunch periods. "People have a reluctance to leave (campus)
during the day," he said.
dining options are difficult to walk to. The city and university
are committed to economic development, and this is a good way to
downtown is a marketing test that, if successful, could turn into
a real neat experience for the people of Southern Miss," said
Bud Kirkpatrick, head of the Promotions Committee of Historic Hattiesburg
executive director for Historic Hattiesburg Downtown, agreed.
project can do two things: support the restaurants downtown and
introduce students and faculty members to downtown. Both have me