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Nope, no Tiger Trails, and CATS rarely if ever stops by the bus stops in my area. 

 

I did see the trolly the other day while leaving SJA and it would have been so easy for them to bring it by Richland, Longwood, Broussard, and even Claycut. 

Do you check the CATS schedule?

 

I'm very familiar with that area and it gets "suburban" quick after Acadian and full fledge (apparently fledge isn't a word?!!) burbs once you get to Country Club Rd. I never saw people walking much in that area unless they were jogging or walking a dog. It should make a trip through Capital Heights though.

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SWB's new BTR plan is a dud.   It proposes a raise in property taxes (which has never been popular) during a time when NOBODY trusts city or parish government.    Her plan is vague at best, and doesn'

I keep reading that the new "Water Campus" will make Baton Rouge an "international city" where researchers come and it will be some sort of hub for costal restoration  enthusiasts to play and brainsto

It will be a huge failure that will require a rebuild inside of a decade if they are unable to establish dual rail lines within the Nicholson corridor that are separated from street traffic. Rail

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Brookings Institution senior fellow to discuss Baton Rouge area transportation infrastructure issues                                                                                                                    Robert Puentes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, will discuss sustainable transportation infrastructure solutions in Baton Rouge later this year at a Baton Rouge Area Chamber Signature Speaker event.

BRAC, which announced Puentes’ appearance this morning, says that of the $12 billion backlog of transportation infrastructure projects in Louisiana, more than 40% are located within the nine-parish Capital Region.

Puentes is also director of Brookings’ Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative, which BRAC says is one of the leading infrastructure policy shops in the country. His work focuses on the broad array of policies and issues related to metropolitan growth and development, including infrastructure finance, urban planning, growth management, suburban issues, smart cities and economic development. His address, which will focus on federal, state and local approaches to transportation issues, is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Sept. 1. Cost is $35 for BRAC investors; $45 for guests. Tickets are available online.

“We’re pleased to bring a thought leader of Rob’s caliber into the community at this critical time when our citizenry is contemplating priorities for the next governor,” says BRAC President and CEO Adam Knapp in a prepared statement. “Quite frankly, if gubernatorial candidates’ platforms do not include specific, actionable transportation infrastructure solutions, they are not worthy of consideration for the office. This issue is that significant.”

Earlier this year, BRAC, the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance and Center for Planning Excellence announced the formation of a new regional transportation coalition called Capital Region Industry for Sustainable Infrastructure Solutions, or CRISIS. The coalition is aiming to bring attention to the growing infrastructure challenges facing area businesses and their employees, and to advance a comprehensive approach to coming up with solutions to address both urgent and long-term needs.                              
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jpeg?1441038952365Plan to widen I-10 'still a bad idea,' some homeowners, businesses say; others get chance to speak out at 6 p.m. today              

The state’s latest plan to widen Interstate 10 through the heart of Baton Rouge is sparking opposition, skepticism and a smattering of wait and see.

 

“It’s still a bad idea, absolutely,” said Troy Menier, whose family has operated Troy’s Barber Shop a few yards off Perkins Road by the interstate for nearly half a century.

Irma Jones took a break from her exercise class at the Leo S. Butler Community Center to criticize the state’s proposal.

Under the plan, a new lane in each direction would be added to I-10 between the bridge and the I-10/12 split at a cost of up to $350 million.

Jones said she remembers how homeowners were uprooted when the interstate went up in the 1960s 

“It is always through the neighborhoods with the people that can’t afford the move,” she said. “I think the inner city has been affected as much as it can.”

The issue stems from a proposal by Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Sherri LeBas.

The aim is to improve traffic in a state capital where gridlock, and complaints about it, is daily fare.

LeBas repeatedly has said that if any plan moves forward, it will be sensitive to businesses in the Perkins Road overpass area, the neighborhoods around the Washington Street exit and elsewhere along the 4-mile corridor.

The DOTD chief proposed a similar plan in 2011.

She dropped it one year later, calling the effort “a very expensive endeavor.”

Before that, a $200 million widening push by DOTD gained traction for a while in the early 2000s but eventually died.

LeBas said she is holding three hearings to gather public input on the expansion idea.

The first will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the Baton Rouge River Center.

The second will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Port Allen Community Center.

The final gathering is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Senate President Pro Tem Sharon Broome, a Democrat who is running for Baton Rouge mayor-president, said the issue deserves to be aired as part of a hunt for consensus.

“It is the topic of discussion almost anytime you go somewhere,” Broome said of traffic headaches. “If Sherri and her team have found that perhaps widening the expressway would be one way to offer some relief, I believe we need to give it consideration.”

Menier is just as opposed now as he was four years ago.

“All the restaurants and businesses would be devastated,” he said.

“The second reason is Baton Rouge already has enough traffic,” Menier said. “Put in more lanes, and it will have more traffic.”

Evelyn Haney, who was in the same exercise class as Jones, said she was raised near the site of the Leo S. Butler Community Center and the interstate “came through our front porch.

“I would hate to see that happen again,” Haney said. “It did affect a lot of people.”

State Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge, whose legislative district includes the Washington Street area, said fear of home loss is a recurring theme when officials talk about expanding the interstate. “The whole problem is going to boil down to displacement of people,” she said.

“A lot of the folks in the area have been there for years, decades, I should say,” Smith said. “It is a matter of how do you feasibly do this.”

Danell Cortez, who runs the Jimmy John’s on Perkins Road, has the same concern about her 7-year-old sandwich shop.

“For lack of a better word, it sucks,” Cortez said of interstate expansion talks.

Alison Edginton, general manager of Schlittz & Giggles, which is nearly under I-10 off Perkins, said she is not concerned yet that any big expansion is in the works.

Wait and see, she said.

How the state would come up with $350 million to add the new lanes is unclear.

LeBas said it could be financed in stages of $30 million to $50 million from a variety of funding sources.

U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, has questioned that approach and said cheaper short-term fixes need to move ahead while new lanes are discussed.

Others questioned how much relief expanding I-10 would provide.

“A permanent solution in my mind is we need another bridge in this city to the south, downriver,” said state Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge.

Haney made a similar point.

“I don’t think it will help the traffic in this area,” she said. “The only thing that will help is a loop.”    http://theadvocate.com/news/13279544-123/on-eve-of-hearings-i-10

Edited by greg225
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I don't think widening I-10 will fix traffic problems. They can add a bridge between  St Gabriel and Plaquemine. They could also turn Airline hwy into a interstate from Ascension and EBR parish line to the old bridge. They should find ways to divert traffic instead adding lanes for more traffic on I-10. 

  
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That section needed to be widened decades ago....and if they shut down the Perkins Road on/off ramp at I-10, they can widen that section without disrupting businesses in the overpass district.   

 

This isn't going to solve everything, but it will help feed workers and travelers into downtown and the airport....not to mention that an added lane and a shoulder (where possible) would be a huge help when there is an accident.   This would be a good time to install sound walls where there aren't any.  Maybe the Perkins Road area businesses can get the state to pave the parking area beneath the freeway for their trouble.   

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That section needed to be widened decades ago....and if they shut down the Perkins Road on/off ramp at I-10, they can widen that section without disrupting businesses in the overpass district.   

 

This isn't going to solve everything, but it will help feed workers and travelers into downtown and the airport....not to mention that an added lane and a shoulder (where possible) would be a huge help when there is an accident.   This would be a good time to install sound walls where there aren't any.  Maybe the Perkins Road area businesses can get the state to pave the parking area beneath the freeway for their trouble.   

This post is everything. Completely on point Cajun.

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Residents at I-10 widening hearing say daily grind has led some to retire, or drive miles out of their way to avoid gridlock             

Baton Rouge area residents got their first chance Monday night to sound off on a state proposal to widen Interstate 10, and some are eager for major changes.

 

The plan, which was offered by the top official of the state Department of Transportation and Development, would add a lane in each direction between the I-10 Mississippi River bridge and the I-10/12 split at a cost of up to $350 million.

“So far, I really like the concept,” said Amiee deWit, who lives near the Perkins Road overpass area that has been a longtime hotbed of criticism of any such overhaul.

She said she was especially encouraged to hear that, if new lanes are added along the 4-mile corridor, much of the work could be done within the existing right of way.

Atta Hassan, a chemical engineer who attended the meeting, said daily commutes between Baton Rouge and her job at Dow Chemical in Plaquemine are a regular headache.

“We are losing a lot of our lives sitting on the interstate,” Hassan said. “It is taking me an hour-and-a-half to two hours to get home.”

Two of Hassan’s chemical engineer colleagues — Kenneth Noojin and Marcella Dupuis — echoed her complaints.

Dupuis said road improvements are badly needed so she can avoid having to use a ferry, the U.S. 190 Mississippi River Bridge or the Sunshine Bridge to get to work.

The gathering was the first of three this week to get public input on ways to ease daily traffic backups on a corridor that handles about 150,000 cars and trucks per day.

DOTD Secretary Sherri LeBas, who made the proposal, said the hearings are designed to get public input and that it could be five years before any work begins.

The proposal has triggered criticism from longtime business owners around the Perkins Road overpass area and residents near the Washington Street exit.

But some of those on hand Monday night said there has to be a better way to get through the center of Baton Rouge.

Andrea Galinski said he regularly deals with traffic problems traveling between downtown, Essen Lane and Jefferson Highway for day care for her children, ages 4 months and 2 1/2 years.

George Haun, another employee at Dow Chemical, said some of his former colleagues took early retirement because they were tired of the drive to and from work.

“It’s real,” Haun said of the grinding commute.

Supporters of more lanes, including residents on the west side of the river, said they are tired of possible solutions being killed by a modest number of people along a coast-to-coast interstate.

On the other side, business owners near the Perkins Road overpass area say expanding I-10 would jeopardize their livelihoods, including barber shops, restaurants, retail stores and drug stores that have operated for decades.

Some residents near the Washington Street exit are fearful that any interstate expansion will cost them their homes.

Both groups have helped kill previous widening proposals.

Matt Bartol, who lives in the Garden District, noted that previous efforts to trim traffic congestion have run aground amid a variety of problems.

“I think they are doing it the right way this time,” Bartol said of DOTD officials.

Just before the meeting, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne became the second contender for governor to offer ideas on improving traffic between the bridge and the split.

Dardenne said he favors adding a new Washington Street exit — it would go on the left side of I-10 — and implementing staggered shifts for downtown workers, including state employees.

“We don’t have to wait until we can afford an additional bridge to get some relief to this unacceptable situation,” the Baton Rouge Republican said in a prepared statement.

Last week, U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-Metairie, began airing radio ads where he suggests moving the Washington Street exit, which is a key chokepoint for eastbound traffic leaving the I-10 bridge.

Two previous efforts to widen I-10 since 2000 have failed because of financing and other problems.

Earlier in the day, a coalition of Baton Rouge businesses said candidates for governor and legislative offices should spell out their plans to improve transportation in the State Capital, including congestion on I-10.

The comments were issued by the Capitol Region Industry for Sustainable Infrastructure Solutions, or CRISIS.

The group was organized by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance and the Center for Planning Excellence.

Members include ExxonMobil Baton Rouge, Dow Chemical Co., Lamar Advertising, Turner Industries and Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.

CRISIS said its message is simple: “Make the Baton Rouge region’s traffic crisis a top priority of your campaign, work cooperatively in support of a comprehensive regional mobility plan and offer serious and specific funding solutions to implement it.”  http://theadvocate.com/news/13291717-123/meeting-on-i-10-widening-plan

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Transportation solutions not only about infrastructure, Brookings Institution expert tells BRAC crowd      

An increased focus on transportation and infrastructure is not the answer to solving Baton Rouge’s notorious traffic problems, a Brookings Institution fellow told over 100 business and community leaders today at the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s Signature Speaker Series.

Robert Puentes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy and the director of the program’s Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative, explained that the issue must be addressed on a much broader scale, taking into account disruptive economic conditions and demographic shifts due to globalization, as well as the political and financial climate at both a state and local level, among many other complex factors.

U.S. Rep. Garret Graves also offered remarks about Baton Rouge’s infrastructure and his ongoing work on a federal highway bill seeking to reconcile the significant decrease in national funding for transpiration infrastructure.

“We have to make sure we are synchronized at a federal state and local level,” Graves said. “The traffic in this region by some studies has been determined to be the worst traffic in the nation for a region of its size. That is completely unacceptable.”

Graves warned that without increased funding at a federal level and infrastructure solutions at a state level, the Capital Region risks strangling its economy. Puentes pointed out in his presentation that Louisiana is disproportionately reliant on the federal government compared to most other states for infrastructure dollars.

“The transportation discussion is too transportation focused,” Puentes explained. “The problem we have is that transportation is not a national conversation.”

And Puentes doesn’t think it needs to be. He said innovation needs to happen on a local level and national solutions will be driven from the bottom up, “not by folks in Washington.”

While Puentes specified he is not a transportation consultant, he offered some recommendations for Baton Rouge business leaders and the Capital Region Industry for Sustainable Infrastructure Solutions, or CRISIS to pursue.

“Instead of looking at traffic congestion as the thing we are trying to solve, let’s try to solve job access,” he said. “When you start to do that as a metric, you start to look at investments very differently. Where can you get the most bang for your buck?”

He also stressed the importance of Louisiana becoming a “can-do” state when it comes to funding and financing.

“No matter what happens [in Washington], the state has to recognize it is going to have to do things by itself,” he said.

To do that, Puentes recommended investing smart through innovative tools like infrastructure banks or congestion pricing, bringing infrastructure measures to voters and taking a market-oriented approach.   https://www.businessreport.com/article/transportation-solutions-not-infrastructure-brookings-institution-expert-tells-brac-crowd

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I'm against it. Don't see how this would help traffic, on top of the damage that would be done to the Overpass. It would just move traffic further into WBR than it already is. Connect our street-grid, invest in inner-city neighborhoods (not gentrification), and build a decent metropolitan wide transit system.

For the record, I think it should be wider, but I don't think it should be widened. Too late for that.

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I'm against it. Don't see how this would help traffic, on top of the damage that would be done to the Overpass. It would just move traffic further into WBR than it already is. Connect our street-grid, invest in inner-city neighborhoods (not gentrification), and build a decent metropolitan wide transit system.

For the record, I think it should be wider, but I don't think it should be widened. Too late for that.

It can be widened with minimal interruption to Perkins Road overpass if they are willing to let go of their on/off ramps (which are under-utilized).   

If you can't see how additional capacity on a freeway section that's 6 lanes wide and clogged with 10 lanes worth of traffic to the east and 8 to the west, you've probably never had to design or study a queuing system.   As I've said, it won't solve all of Baton Rouge's traffic problems, but it will be a tremendous help.   Higher capacity road leading into downtown from the rest of the city will only help make the downtown office market more attractive.

The couple of years that construction is going on will suck, but it will be worth it.

They also need to consider widening I-10 westbound between LA1 and LA415, and start laying the groundwork for a passenger rail (and possibly a passenger ferry) network.

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Tired of being stuck in traffic, west bank residents want fewer studies, more action on I-10 gridlock     

PORT ALLEN — Residents living on the west side of the Mississippi River are optimistic a plan to widen portions of Interstate 10 could help alleviate the Baton Rouge area’s growing traffic woes.

 

But a Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development meeting Tuesday about proposed fixes gave these residents little confidence state leaders would actually address the issue anytime soon.

“It’s time to stop doing studies. It’s time for action,” Susan Jackson said. “They know what the problem is. Something has to give. Something has to be done.”

Jackson, who lives in Plaquemine, was one of nearly 200 people who attended DOTD’s second public meeting on the state’s feasibility study for the I-10 project.

The public was given its first opportunity to sound off on the plan Monday at a meeting held at the Baton Rouge River Center.

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The third and final meeting will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Baton Rouge.

The I-10 widening plan would add a lane in each direction between the I-10 Mississippi River bridge and the I-10/12 split at a cost of up to $350 million.

The proposal has already triggered criticism from longtime business owners around the Perkins Road overpass area and Baton Rouge residents living near the Washington Street exit.

Business owners near the Perkins Road overpass area say expanding I-10 would jeopardize their livelihoods, including barber shops, restaurants, retail stores and drugstores that have operated for decades.

“Those business owners are obviously not stuck in traffic every day,” Jackson said.

Part of the plan involves closing the existing Washington Street exit to make room for the additional lanes.

Meanwhile, parish leaders on the west side of the river are angling for a new bridge — a lofty ambition DOTD officials have priced at nearly $1 billion.

“All the money they’ve wasted on studies they could have used to build a new bridge, which is something we need,” Prudence Spooner said Tuesday.

Spooner, who lives in Port Allen but works in Baton Rouge, says she has to leave at least an hour early if she wants to cross the I-10 Mississippi River bridge to get to work on time.

“Everyone says they want a new bridge, but no one wants it in their backyards,” Brusly resident Paula Rhodes said. “But someone is going to have to give up some property and move because another bridge could fix the problem.”

Tuesday night’s meeting proved that local attitudes regarding construction of a new bridge in West Baton Rouge Parish have changed among residents since seven years ago.

When DOTD announced plans in 2008 for a proposed Baton Rouge loop bridge over the Mississippi River, West Baton Rouge Parish residents balked at the idea and even petitioned the Parish Council not to support the endeavor.

At the time, the west side was largely unaffected by the daily traffic problems Baton Rouge commuters have been dealing with since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

But within the past three years, the area has seen its daily traffic more than double with the expansion of industry in West Baton Rouge and Iberville parishes.

In 2010, about 88,000 cars crossed the I-10 bridge daily. That number jumped to approximately 102,000, according to a 2013 DOTD report.

“The public has changed its mind because they’re spending more time in existing traffic on both sides of the bridge now,” Councilman Chris “Fish” Kershaw said at the meeting Tuesday. “And people are getting angry because they don’t see anything being done about it.

“They’re tired of studies. They want solutions,” he said.

West Baton Rouge Parish Councilman Barry Hugghins has spent the past month rallying support from nearly every municipality and governing board in West Baton Rouge and Iberville parishes, many of which have adopted resolutions beseeching Congress to step in with a solution.

“In the past, we haven’t really had the public buy-in, and it’s hard to get elected officials to support a project when you don’t have public backing,” DOTD spokesman Rodney Mallett said before Tuesday night’s meeting.

DOTD officials told the packed room that the meetings are designed to get public input, but added it could be five years before any work begins.

“It takes time,” DOTD Deputy Secretary Eric Kalivoda said in an interview before the meeting. “We’re going to go as quickly as we can. I think we can get benefits with incremental, phased projects along I-10.”  http://theadvocate.com/news/13330869-123/tired-of-traffic-west-bank

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They already decided this 3 YEARS AGO!  Now they are sorry....The NEW Miss. River Bridge was going into Brusly/Addis and they DID NOT WANT IT!   Now they do?? Now that all of the new industry down the river has caused massive gridlock/.....this all could tie-into the new Westbank Expressway / the Hwy 415 dead-end(making a  NEW Bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway...connecxting to Hwy 30/Nicholson Hwy....

Do not think building new bridge further down into Iberville/Plaquemine would work as well..

Everyday that goes by...the more perplexing the decision was to build the Audubon Bridge btwn smaller towns with only 2,000 & 5,000 people (St.Francisville/New Roads) ....who did that study?? HOW MUCH $$$ was wasted Connecting I-59 with I-49? Zachary Taylor Parkway? pfft....  Should have had 2nd priority behind a new SBR bridge! ....the  ridership numbers are LOWER than  they had anticipated...meanwhile traffic chaos reigns 40 miles to the south

NO MORE STUDIES PLEASE!!!   

Wish i could have been around in the 60's at some of those meetings; to find out what asinine individuals designed I-10 going East into BR with ONLY ONE LANE on a 90-degree angle??? ONLY BR can lay claim to that "Title"(for I-10)  from the Pacific(L.A.) to the Atlantic (Jacksonville)!!

Edited by richyb83
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I55 just outside of Memphis goes to one lane in a sharp curve. The only difference is its not downtown but it still is a bit of a cluster.

TDOT is building a massive interchange to correct it.....and yes, it was a huge problem even though Memphis has an I-240 look as an alternate route.  They are also building an outer loop to influence where and how development occurs in the metro and to provide structural redundancy to their over the road transportation network.   They've shifted from being reactive to proactive.   

 

Baton Rouge, on the other hand, doesn't build new roads ahead of development.  They wait for development to occur, then react to it usually 20 years behind, if ever.   

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New bridge, tax hikes, HOV lanes among residents' suggestions to improve traffic jams on I-10     

Widening Interstate 10 just part of process, officials say

 
 
 

In the third of three public meetings, Baton Rouge area residents said Thursday night that far more than widening Interstate 10 is needed to relieve daily traffic jams.

 

Building a new bridge across the Mississippi River, boosting the state sales or gasoline taxes and offering motorists faster travel lanes, if they haul multiple passengers, were among the suggestions.

Don Ortega, who lives in Baton Rouge, said quick traffic relief is needed before there is a massive wreck with multiple deaths.

“I was working at a job on the west side,” Ortega said. “I quit and took a job that paid $7 per hour less because I was spending two or three hours per day on the road,” he said.

Ortega said the state should consider raising the sales tax by a penny or the gasoline tax by 25 cents per gallon to finance specific improvements, with the tax hikes expiring on a certain date. “Something has to happen,” he said.

Residents crowded into a Baton Rouge meeting room to hear officials from the state Department of Transportation and Development discuss congestion, and possible solutions, between the I-10 bridge and the I-10/12 split.

DOTD Secretary Sherri LeBas says one of the key options under review is to add a new lane in each direction along the 4-mile corridor at a cost of up to $350 million.

How the improvements would be financed — always a huge hurdle — was among the array of questions.

State officials have stressed that widening I-10 is no traffic panacea but one of several steps that can ease the life of the motorist.

Larry LeJeune, who lives in Baton Rouge, said aside from improving I-10, the area needs a loop around town.

“Something needs to be done ASAP,” LeJeune said. “Should have been done 20 years ago.”

Ted Donaldson, a lifelong resident of the capital city, said multiple steps are needed. “First thing we ought to do is use the interstate as an interstate, not for local traffic,” Donaldson said.

However, he said he is not optimistic that much will come out of the state’s study of traffic needs. “The state won’t spend the money,” Donaldson said.

Leaders of the project team said doing nothing means driving around Baton Rouge will get lots more complicated.

Traffic along the corridor between the bridge and the split is expected to rise 30 percent by 2032, said Alison Catarella-Michel, a traffic engineer with URBAN Systems Inc.

About 150,000 cars and trucks per day use the corridor now.

During the same time, congestion — rides of 25 mph or less — will double, and travel times will shoot up by 80 percent for some motorists, she said.

“In sum, doing nothing is not an option,” Catarella-Michel said.

Jonathan Appling, who lives in Walker, echoed the view that a wider I-10 is not the only answer.

“There needs to be something else, not just widening lanes,” Appling said. “There needs to be an additional bridge or a loop or a bypass.”

DOTD officials are studying the impact of erecting a new bridge south of the I-10 Mississippi River bridge. It would cost an estimated $800 million, and a bid to fund just such a plan died in the Legislature earlier this year.

Others said any state improvement plan should try to change driving habits.

Jeanne George, who lives in Baton Rouge, questioned whether the state plans to designate high occupancy vehicle — HOV — lanes for cars and trucks carrying several passengers.

Those lanes typically move traffic faster than those occupied by vehicles with one or two people.

“We have to do something to change how people use the interstate,” George said, emphasizing that she is not opposed to widening I-10.

The meeting was the third hosted by DOTD officials this week on widening I-10 and other possible modifications, including making changes around the Washington Street exit, moving the exit north of the current one to ease traffic congestion and erecting noise walls.

About 180 people appeared at the meeting Monday night at the Baton Rouge River Center, according to DOTD officials

Around 200 were on hand for the gathering Tuesday night at the Port Allen Community Center.

The gathering on Thursday night included former DOTD Secretary William Ankner.

LeBas’ proposal is the third of its kind offered by state officials since 2000.

The initial one — the price tag was about $200 million — died amid criticism from business operators in the Perkins Road Overpass area and political opposition.

LeBas reopened the topic in 2011 but dropped it one year later amid cost and other concerns. http://theadvocate.com/news/13342774-123/improving-traffic-means-more-than

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It can be widened with minimal interruption to Perkins Road overpass if they are willing to let go of their on/off ramps (which are under-utilized).   

If you can't see how additional capacity on a freeway section that's 6 lanes wide and clogged with 10 lanes worth of traffic to the east and 8 to the west, you've probably never had to design or study a queuing system.   As I've said, it won't solve all of Baton Rouge's traffic problems, but it will be a tremendous help.   Higher capacity road leading into downtown from the rest of the city will only help make the downtown office market more attractive.

The couple of years that construction is going on will suck, but it will be worth it.

They also need to consider widening I-10 westbound between LA1 and LA415, and start laying the groundwork for a passenger rail (and possibly a passenger ferry) network.

This plan would sit better with me if more were to go along with it. They might get this passed, but by the time construction is finished, the volume will have increased and a bridge or loop will be 10+ years from completion. This is Louisiana, I can't imagine an expensive infrastructure bill or public transportation funding passing anytime soon that would properly support this widening. I imagine that the residents on both sides of the river will assume that this widening will give them the relief they need and no longer demand improvements to the bridge/Hwy 1/Hwy 415/loop. Just like they did with I-10 and I-12..

Just Houstonize the city at this point.

Houston traffic is terrible!

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The longer you wait, the worse it gets, and the more expensive it becomes to fix. BR is going to have to make tough decisions.

 

Cajun, you are right. It's not the same setup and TDOT at least is improving their road networks throughout Tennessee.

 

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Louisiana gubernatorial candidates jump into debate on I-10 traffic problems in Baton Rouge                                                                                          Traffic gridlock in Baton Rouge has suddenly morphed into a statewide issue, with every contender for governor rolling out a plan and some even bickering over how to repair a problem exit on Interstate 10. 

Democrat John Bel Edwards said a new bridge across the Mississippi River is part of the answer.

Republican Scott Angelle wants to look at the bridge option, toll roads and other steps.

Republican Jay Dardenne, disputing fellow Republican David Vitter, wants to build a new Washington Street exit, not relocate the current one.

And Vitter, a U.S. senator from Metairie, is running radio advertisements that call for moving that exit.  

Most of the proposals coincided with three public meetings last week by the state Department of Transportation and Development.

The gatherings were aimed at coming up with solutions for the daily backups that plague the 4-mile corridor between the I-10 bridge and the I-10/12 split.

The issue involves an interstate that started going up in 1963, when Baton Rouge had about 150,000 residents, compared with roughly 800,000 in the metropolitan area today.

DOTD Secretary Sherri LeBas said one of the key options under review is adding a new lane in each direction along the route for up to $350 million. LeBas works for Gov. Bobby Jindal, who leaves office in January.

The state’s timeline means construction on any improvement plan would not start before the end of the first term for the next governor — around 2020.

The fact that all four contenders have waded into the debate shows the closeness of the race, said Joshua Stockley, an associate professor of political science at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

“It forces them to address even the minutiae of metropolitan areas,” Stockley said. “In a regular year, in a regular election cycle, I doubt that the expansion of I-10, beyond the Mayor’s Office, would draw anybody’s attention.”

Eric Kalivoda, deputy secretary for DOTD, said officials hope to zero in on several options for improvements by next spring or summer.

“We should have several alternatives, and then we are going to take that into the environmental phase and do very detailed evaluations of the environmental impact of each of those,” Kalivoda said.

That stage alone will take up to three years to finish.

Those and other facts suggest that, aside from any heated arguments over I-10 widening, motorists need to know what Jindal’s potential successors have in mind.

Edwards, who, like other West Point graduates, received a degree in engineering, said in a prepared statement that Louisiana’s $12 billion backlog of road and bridge needs means the state needs a governor “with more than a minimal commitment to solving traffic issues solely in the Baton Rouge area.

“Nothing short of a new bridge over the river will truly address the traffic issues in Baton Rouge that are hurting businesses and frustrating drivers,” he said.

Edwards, a state representative from Amite, said he also favors using another $75 million per year from the state’s capital outlay fund for transportation needs.

In his own written plan, Dardenne disputed Vitter’s proposal to move the Washington Street exit — a key chokepoint for traffic leaving the bridge and headed to I-10 eastbound.

“We don’t need to move the Washington Street exit,” Dardenne said. “We need to add an additional exit on the left side of I-10.

“Doing so will prevent the use of the approach to Washington Street as a lane by drivers during rush hour, which is a major cause of existing afternoon bottlenecks as those drivers try to merge from the exit lane into the main lanes of I-10.”

Dardenne, a Baton Rouge resident who is lieutenant governor, also wants to expand flex time for state employees so more are traveling during less-congested hours.

He also wants to enlist the help of downtown businesses to launch similar flex times and coordinate with employers on the west side of the river with their own staggered shifts.

“Those are short-term partial solutions, but we all know that in the long term, the real issue is funding, both for a new bridge across the river and for road maintenance,” he said.

Angelle, a member of the Public Service Commission who lives in Breaux Bridge, said in an email response to question that Baton Rouge traffic congestion is a major problem that needs to be addressed now.

One way to do so, he said, is to decentralize DOTD so local governments can take a regional approach to solving road troubles.

“I also support building toll roads, where economically feasible, and expanding the potential for a new bridge across the Mississippi south of Baton Rouge,” Angelle wrote.

DOTD’s latest push is the third time since 2000 that widening I-10 has been broached.

Political opposition, including criticism from long-standing business owners around the Perkins Road overpass, killed that effort.

Kalivoda, a veteran DOTD official who watched the plan unfold, said the discussion is different this time.

“I think the traffic volumes are much, much worse, the congestion is much, much worse and people’s frustration is much higher than it was at that time,” he said.  http://theadvocate.com/features/13329982-172/i-10-traffic-woes-getting-statewide

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Lanny Keller: Sound planning can't overcome politics when it comes to solving traffic problems in Baton Rouge                                                      

That Baton Rouge has a traffic problem isn’t in dispute, but what has to be recognized is that the term “Baton Rouge” isn’t limited to East Baton Rouge Parish, or the 4 miles of interstate highway west of the I-10/12 split.

 

The nine-parish region includes areas with significant differences in terms of congestion, but roads and bridges spark disputes across the region. Little wonder that longtime politicos (Mayor-President Kip Holden, a black Democrat) and newcomers to elected office (U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, a white Republican) have made traffic and congestion central to their concerns. Road funding has lately roiled meetings of the Livingston Parish Council, and the widening of the interstate in the inner city is about to divide the Metro Council in the city of Baton Rouge, especially if there’s eventual closure of the Washington Street exit, which is potentially a racially tinged fight.

Graves and Holden, like many others, want a long-term solution such as a new bridge — something that has to be worked out with the surrounding parishes. When Holden proposed a bridge and loop, some of the parishes balked.

While it’s easy enough for elected officials to flail at the state Department of Transportation and Development, the problems are intertwined: a lack of money, a lack of traffic alternatives and poor planning over decades.

Think of the funding challenges: It’s not just a problem of finding more than $1 billion in state or local money for a new bridge and highway loop, not even the $350 million for widening I-10 to the split just proposed (again) by DOTD. Even if the money were readily available — it’s not, and many politicians don’t want to associate themselves with raising taxes, even for these causes — traffic problems here go beyond the interstate system. 

“A long-term plan must also include strategies that increase transportation options, including improved street connectivity and multimodal alternatives to automobile travel,” says an important new statement from CRISIS, a business-led group focusing on transportation policy.

The group’s main theme is shared by Graves — the need for a “comprehensive regional mobility plan.”

Unfortunately, a bundle of projects that would magically loosen the stranglehold of anti-tax politicians and voters on state and local levels requires sorcery, not just some new levels of insight about which projects are “regionally significant.” There is a huge commonality of interest among East Baton Rouge, Ascension and Livingston in particular on these issues — but one cannot expect sound planning to overcome politics around here.

All major projects will take time; for a Mississippi River bridge, that means at least a decade, not just four years of a political term.

Holden’s projects in his Green Light Plan were approved in 2005, but some are still under construction; they represent a real advance, with voters agreeing to pay the freight. Despite those projects focused on improving connectivity on Baton Rouge streets, we’re a long way from reversing 40 years of bad street plans and neglect of public transit that the visiting experts say is obvious here.

CRISIS’ manifesto for the fall elections does not flinch from the money issue: “Just as a regional mobility plan requires a comprehensive approach, funding its components will require multiple strategies — including, if necessary, increased gas, sales or severance taxes dedicated to specific projects — to achieve a level of investment sufficient to meet the region’s backlog and capacity needs, improve safety and quality of life, and sustain economic growth.”

Leaving aside the demand for dedications — isn’t the Baton Rouge Area Chamber against that policy in the state budget? — the main obstacle to highway progress is politicians’ refusal this year, as in years before, to raise the state gasoline tax for DOTD’s budget. Nor does it help that Congress, as Graves recognizes, hasn’t raised the federal gasoline tax since 1993.

Until lawmakers make that ante, there is mostly a blame game around the transportation poker table in the capital region.   http://theadvocate.com/news/opinion/13359384-129/lanny-keller-without-new-taxes

        

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