"There's a dramatic influx of traffic along State Road 59 and in Brazil during the festival," Brazil City Police Chief Dave Archer told The Brazil Times. "I've been out there and I think there is even more traffic this year. Although it's good to see, with the economy the way it is, that people still want to get out, it does create some problems."
Archer said that is why he discussed the police department taking a more proactive stance about traffic congestion with Mayor Ann Bradshaw. He said she agreed it would be a good idea to move traffic swiftly through Brazil by placing police officers at key intersections during peak travel times.
"We want people who come to our city to have a good impression, but we also want to make it easier for our local citizens dealing with the traffic," he said. "So far, the response has been very appreciative. When people see the officers trying to help, I think they are more patient. There have been no accidents reported and we've had a very positive response by locals and visitors alike."
Officers are located daily at the intersections of SR 59 and United States 40, SR 59 and Hendrix St., SR 59 and Jackson St. and SR 59 and Pinckley St.
"We have officers directing traffic at those intersections between 7 a.m.-noon. They break for meals and then return around 4 o'clock and stay there until around 8 p.m.," Archer said. "Our reserves help out on the weekends and as much as they can. Most of them have full time jobs during the week."
Archer said most of the department officers have given up their days off to be out during the festival.
"They do traffic control and then continue with their normal shift work and the daily activities of the department," Archer said. "They're working 14-hour days, still out there patrolling and such, and they are very dedicated to the safety of our community, and our yearly visitors."
The department has also utilized "No Parking" signs in high-traffic areas where motorists stop to shop.
"People pull over onto the sidewalks to park so they can shop. When they park on both sides of the streets it creates narrow lanes that are not safe for motorists of pedestrians," Archer said. "The signs have helped. But, if people disregard the signs and block roadways, we will tow the vehicles away. We want to make this a safe time for everyone."
Archer said the department is happy with the recent results, however, with more shops and stands popping up in Clay County law enforcement have to keep an eye on the future.
"Local residents know alternate routes to get around the high-traffic areas, but the traffic is increasing," Archer said. "We will have to look at everything we did and keep what works best and see what else we can do to help make things better for everyone."