'Don't Block the Box' campaign launched to help ease congestion at intersection

PEARLAND, TX (KTRK) -- Pearland has nearly quadrupled in population over the past 15 years and keeping up with the traffic flow around this town has kept their Public Works Department very busy.

There's one intersection, however, that's on the naughty list for causing complete gridlock, and it's FM-518 and Business Center Drive. It's an intersection just west of the hectic freeway with shopping centers and traffic galore.

"I swear from 2 in the afternoon to 7 o'clock, it would be blocked," says commuter Joshua Davis.

He experiences these tie-ups daily.

"And I would think to myself, either three things are going to happen, someone is going to hit someone, kill someone, or get out and have a fist fight because you are blocking multiple waves of traffic," adds Davis.

It's an issue the Assistant Director of Public Works Department in Pearland Mike Leech knows too well.

"In cases, people do block the intersection completely. It's a matter of not enough lanes and too many cars," he explains.

FM-518 and Business Center Drive is a top priority for Leech and his team.

"During the PM peak and on the weekends, it gets really congested in that area. So, what we've done is come up with creative solutions to help mobility in that area," said Leech.

Today, Pearland launched the catchy, "Don't Block the Box" campaign.

"Don't Block the Box is a campaign we're introducing to the public if you're going through the intersection with a green light, please make sure you can make it through the intersection and that you don't block the box," explains Leech.

The intersection is now clearly marked with "Don't Block the Box" signs. You can see them up on above on traffic signals, painted on the streets, and currently, there's even a blinking black and gold sign, so you won't miss the message.

For those who do ignore the sign and block the intersection of FM-518 and Business Center Drive, a $200 fine could be the penalty.

But, Leech says, that isn't the goal. "Though the ability to implement a $200 fine is available to us, that's not the point of this program. What we want to do is enhance mobility and improve driver behavior out there."

This is just one step to help the traffic congestion in Pearland.

"The improvements will include additional lanes in that area, but that's a little ways off. We're making steps in the interim to make improvements. We're adding an additional left hand turn lane from 518 onto 288 northbound," said Leech.

Improvements that commuters like Davis are happy to see coming.

"I would like to feel a lot safer just going across the street," said Davis.

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