Construction changes Callithumpian Parade exit strategy for police

Staff Writer

    Construction on E. Monroe Street has resulted in a change in plans Decatur police will use in moving high amounts of traffic in a short period of time for the upcoming Callithumpian Parade Oct. 30 it was recently announced by Decatur Police Chief Greg Cook.
    Cook said that in order to detour traffic from the parade route and downtown area, police will be using Jackson Street from the Bellmont High School intersection to the 5th Street intersection meaning that Jackson Street for that period of time will become a two-way street instead of its usual one-way street. He added that large truck traffic along with all personal vehicles will be using this route.
    The chief emphasized that any vehicles trying to get to the high school or some other staging area after 6:30 p.m. (parade starts at 7 p.m.) must use Jackson Street as Second Street downtown will be blocked off and cleared of all traffic at 5 p.m. from Monroe Street to Five Points.
    Cook also noted there will be a traffic pattern change at the high school campus the night of the parade. Parents dropping children and other participants off for the parade at Bellmont should use the North Adams Drive main entrance into the high school off U.S. 224 by Jackson Street. This will become one-way traffic to enter the high school area only. The exit route to be observed will be to use the back exit from the school onto E. Monroe Street. At that point, vehicles will be directed east (left) to Piqua Road or they may also use C.R. 200E to go back to U.S. 224 to get into town.
    E. Monroe Street extended will be closed by the Expert Transmission business and at the back entrance to the high school at 6 p.m. to allow the lining up of floats and other displays by the Callithumpian Committee. No through traffic will be allowed eastbound or westbound after 6 p.m. on that night from the back entrance of the high school to approximately Ogg Street on E. Monroe Street until the parade ends.
    Plans for popular parking lots at the Chamber of Commerce, Riverside Center, and former Gerber's Supermarket store, will remain the same. At the end of the parade, there will be police officers at all three sites directing traffic to assist in getting vehicles out as quickly as possible.
    For the Gerber's lot, all traffic will be emptied and directed to the right (east). Any person wishing to head west must proceed to the intersection of North Adams Drive (high school) and Jackson Street at which point they will be allowed to turn left and head in that direction.
    For the Riverside Center lot, all traffic will be let out of the back entrance on Jackson Street and turned right (east). They will then proceed to the traffic light at U.S. 224 and North Adams Drive and then they will be allowed to turn east or west onto the state highway. The front entrances onto U.S. 224 (Monroe Street) will be blocked off so that no traffic can enter on U.S. 224 from that entrances.
    For the Chamber of Commerce lot, all traffic will be let out the back entrance onto Jackson Street and turned right (east). Vehicles needing to head west are recommended to follow the traffic detour on Jackson Street to the light at U.S. 224 and North Adams Drive where they can then turn in either direction. The front entrance from the the Chamber lot to E. Monroe Street will be blocked so no traffic can enter. Cook asked for patience from drivers as the same exit route for the Riverside Center lot is being used as the one for the Chamber lot.
    Cook said officers directing traffic will give priority to E. Monroe Street traffic.
    "Our plan will allow us to get the vehicles out of the parking areas and onto Monroe Street most efficiently. Vehicles entering onto Monroe Street, other than at the parking lot locations, can expect some delays. Traffic will be broken periodically by the officers to all vehicles into the traffic pattern. I would like to ask drivers to realize they may be inconvenienced from normal travel but we will be moving a great amount of traffic in a short time. We will attempt to make this as stress-free as possible and appreciate drivers giving extra attention, understanding, and patience as they approach the manned intersections for any directions being given.
    Cook also emphasized that for everyone's enjoyment of the parade, no dogs or bicycles will be allowed along the parade route.