Discover more from Downtown East Newsletter
Infrastructure wins, bike light campaign, and DESR T-shirts
There are so many great things happening right now and I’m excited to share all of them with you. First up, let’s talk about a couple wins for bike/pedestrian infrastructure in the city.
Louisiana Avenue Connection Path
The long awaited ribbon cutting for the Louisiana Avenue connection path is happening Tuesday, November 14, at 4 p.m. This path is part of the Downtown Greenway and it connects T.J. Jemison Boulevard to Government Street.
Okay, a little backstory here. When the Government Street road diet was proposed, they had to make some concessions. One of those was to stop the lane reduction before reaching the interstate. The bike lane, which is just a repurposing of the space left over when they reduced from four lanes to three, abruptly ended at Eddie Robinson Sr. Drive.
The reason they gave is that it would be too dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists to navigate under the interstate. So instead, they divert the bike lane to Louisiana Avenue, which runs parallel to Government Street.
The problem with the plan was under the interstate. There was a massive curb that prevented crossing under the interstate. The curb has finally been removed, and a bollard has been places in the center of the lane to prevent cars from using it.
Come celebrate the completion of this long awaited project! I’ll be there!
Perkins Road Overpass
The area under the Perkins Road Overpass has long been a passthrough for bicyclists and pedestrians. However, those who have used it know that it poses significant risks. The drop off is often littered with plastic beads from St. Patrick’s day and when it rains it’s like a super mud slide. Some people fear crime, but I’ve never had an issue down there.
Although we’ve all known it had potential to be an incredible space, the reality of making that happen has been far from easy. However, the Metro Council approved a contract with a landscape architecture company for the design of the area.
The biggest obstacle for this project has been the railroad company. In fact, although most articles credit this effort to a recent movement, it’s been discussed by many for decades. The railroad was always the major obstacle. That’s changed and now the railroad is expected to sign off on the permit that will finally allow this to happen.
The overall project is estimated to cost about $2.2 million. When it’s done, however, it will be so much more than just a path. It will be a pocket park, complete with local art.
Passenger Rail to New Orleans
Speaking of the railroad, the passenger rail service from Baton Rouge to New Orleans is tentatively scheduled to begin mid-2025. This has been a fight for over a decade, but didn’t really have a chance until recent years due to a new owner of the railroad, an alignment of political will, and available federal funds.
This could be perfect timing with the potential traffic nightmare that will be caused by the I-10/110 widening project.
All of the work on the Electric Depot goes along with this project. There will be a station located on Government at 15th Street, which is where the last train station used to be back in the 50s. There will be a second location in the health district.
Lights donation campaign
Bike Baton Rouge is on a bit of a hiatus right now, so DESR is taking over the Light Up The Night campaign. This is a program I pushed when I was a board member of Bike Baton Rouge and am passionate about keeping alive.
The goal is to purchase disposable flashing front and rear bike lights to give out to the people in the community free of charge. In the past, I’ve kept a bag of them with me at all times and would simply give them to people when I saw them riding at night without lights.
Louisiana law requires bicyclists to have a front and rear light at night, as well as a reflector. Most bikes come equipped with reflectors, but not lights. When an accident occurs and a person does not have working lights, they are considered to be at fault. And, people can actually be fined $25 for not having these lights.
Most importantly, lights keep people safe. But not everyone realizes that or has the money to purchase lights. So rather than fussing, we’re buying!
All of the money raised during this fundraiser will go towards bike lights. I set the goal at $400 for this first round. I’d like to reach that as quickly as possible so we can get the lights during these darker months.
We are creating the first-ever DESR T-shirts! I will be ordering shirts from Giraphic Prints, but there will only be 24 shirts in the first round.
Currently, a poll on the DESR Facebook group page is determining the color of this first round of shirts. I’ll keep the poll open until Friday, November 17. The colors are based on what’s available from the company, which is why I’m not taking suggestions on colors.
After the color is settled, I’m going to send out the online ordering portal. It will be its own newsletter item, so keep an eye on your inbox. It will also be on all the social media pages. The first 24 who purchase will get to be part of the first round. I’ll then open up a waiting list. If we get enough people to sign up for the waiting list, then I’ll either do another round, or create a “print on demand” store page.
The reason I’m doing it this way is because I’ve been deathly afraid of ending up with boxes of shirts no one wants to buy. I cannot afford to just buy a bunch of shirts, nor do I have room in my house for them.
Thanks so much for all of your support for this group and for supporting infrastructure projects that result in new pathways or improved commuter options.