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Traffic concerns near Kokomo COVID-19 testing center

Too many people in residential area
Posted at 6:52 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 18:52:19-05

KOKOMO — As cases increase in Indiana and more people get tested for the virus, people who live near a COVID-19 testing site in Kokomo are getting more frustrated. The lines are getting longer at the site near Monroe and Bell Street.

“It is a madhouse out here,” said Kaelyn Bennett who lives nearby. “After work from 4pm until like 6 or 7pm, the traffic is insane. There’s so many people. At times I’ve seen maybe hundreds of people coming in within an hour for sure."

Adding to the problem is a lack of parking. “For there to be no parking, it’s not even good for the elderly people who are getting tested because they’re having to park three blocks away,” said Bennett.

So people are street parking illegally to get tested. “They’re parking on the yellow lines, they are parking all the way up to the stop signs. It’s dangerous for kids. I can’t let my kids play outside,” said Bennett.

Bennett says she has been late to work a few times because of the traffic mess. "It’s really a frustration for me every single day. I am constantly having to go out to the COVID center and ask people to move their vehicles, they’re parking in our driveway.”

Bennett watches her elderly neighbor walk around the corner just to get onto the bus. “It’s a worry for me because of my disability,” said Kay Faison. “I’m worried that in case of emergency that they cannot get to me.”

“It’s all about location. For it to be public like this, it’s just ridiculous that they would put it in a neighborhood,” said Bennett.

Neighbors have reached out to the city with these issues. “We have so many buildings that they could use in this town and I’ve tried to call the city numerous times and I don’t get any response,” said Bennett. “The times I get a response, they say call the police station. Well I feel like it’s not really an emergency so I’m taking up emergency calls.”

WRTV got ahold of Mayor Tyler Moore who acknowledged the amount of traffic at the Howard County testing site has grown because of the increased testing and amount of time people are waiting to be tested.

He says the city has installed a few signs to advise people not to block driveways and alleyways. "Many times those signs are apparently ignored," said Tyler.

Tyler asked the police department to patrol the area more — and will continue to work with the Howard County Health Department to best serve the needs for testing and the neighbors nearby.