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mr. bernham

Baton Rouge - Hammond Metropolitan Region

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Baton Rouge_Hammond_metro.png

For a while now I've been thinking about the future of the city, by a while I mean four/five years. Originally I thought the cities problems could be fixed by hosting the Olympics, building big new interstates, making things beautiful, for a while I even thought it a good idea to raze all of North Baton Rouge to the ground. Throughout my time in this community I have changed and I have learned far more than I ever expected to. Complex issues that I didn't understand at all I now have a better grasp of, and my opinions in terms of urbanism have become far more refined. My learning experiences here and elsewhere, along with events of recent, have led me to believe that in order to truly build, "America's next great city" we must merge with Hammond. 

I could list the economic reasons, the political reasons, and even the cultural reasons, but we all know them. In the long-run the relationship between the two cities will increasingly become similar to the relationship of Dallas-Ft.Worth, and Baton Rouge leaders must recognize this. Common culture, location, and interests should unite these two cities and push them into a common future that will transform the region as a whole. In this post I'm essentially describing what I think can and should be done and I'm looking for the input of the people here. I want to have a conversation about this. For the previous two years I've been deeply researching the history of Baton Rouge and I am constructing a book about it, as a later half of the book I want to talk about the future and at this point I think the future is not a BRNO Region but a BRH Region. 

ROADS

Baton Rouge Metro builtout.png

The future is never a set thing. While I certainly believe that Baton Rouge and Hammond will grow into one another, it will require action in order to ensure that such a relationship is advantageous for the state and Gulf Coast. Above is a road map, the roads in red are 8 lane interstate (I12-I10 and 110 [which would be expanded to hit Natchez, Vicksburg, then Memphis]) and 6 lane boulevards. For Baton Rouge specifically it makes travel around the city easier and since only three of the roads are interstates, the rest would be designed to encourage Parisian/New Yorkian/Daniel Burnhamian development. Such a transformation would take time and would require the changing of zoning laws along the roads. A new loop would be constructed around the city and a larger regional loop would be developed. The trees lining inner-city boulevards would be of species that excel at absorbing pollution and contribute to Baton Rouge's reputation of being a green city (with regards to landscaping). The new roads and road expansions will also encourage more activity between currently distant parts of the region increasing connections and a larger sense of community.

RAIL

In nearly all current rail transit plans for Baton Rouge they consist of light-rail on Nicholson and a passenger line to New Orleans. Both of these projects are fantastic, but I fear this will be the only thing that will be built if the projects go forward. I would argue that Baton Rouge and the state of Louisiana should advocate for something greater and better. Baton Rouge must have a passenger rail line to Lake Charles and a line to Slidell. These rail lines could eventually be expanded to Houston, San Antonio, Phoenix, LA, Tampa, Jacksonville, etc. Baton Rouge must also advocate for passenger rail line from Lafayette to Shreveport and a northern line that connects Baton Rouge to Memphis or Jackson. Baton Rouge geographically has the opportunity to become a real center of passenger rail in the American south. Just investing in connections to New Orleans would be a wasted opportunity and potentially millions in growth (both people and dollars).

The greatest opportunity would be in direct connections to both Hammond and New Orleans. Such connection would encourage growth in all three cities, but for Hammond and Baton Rouge their relationship would be redefined. With stations in both cities downtown areas, the economic growth there could be huge. It's a truly unique opportunity that should not be passed up.

AIR

Taiwan.Taoyuan.International.Airport.ori

Louis Armstrong International Airport is the largest and busiest in the state. With a new expansion on the way it will be one of the best designed. Baton Rouge's metro airport is much smaller by comparison, but I believe that in order for Baton Rouge to compete (maybe even force Armstrong to compete) would be to build a 15-20 gate International Airport between Baton Rouge and Hammond in Satsuma; the mid-point of the two cities. Such an investment I think would be successful especially if the project was phased in along with proper development linking the towns of Livingston and Walker together into a cohesive area. 

These are basically my thoughts and just meant to start a conversation. Could this happen? Could Hammond and Baton Rouge really combine and what would it require? Is it worth it? Are there other things that should be done, and the big question, can Baton Rouge become the states largest city and should it?

 

 

Edited by mr. bernham
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Neat ideas. I do wonder though if the planned passenger line to NO will be used. Also I think the loops are a bit excessive.

For BR to join with Hammond we'd need to experience exponential growth which means we'd need more jobs and a different government.

 

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I had started a "Hammond Becomes It's Own Metro Area"  thread in Louisiana section a few years ago.. You said it could "benefit BR long term".....They seem to be trying to make a name for themselves ...it kinda fell btwn the cracks in "No Man's Land"...Some in the NOLA Metro were trying to claim it

While western Livingston has seen explosive sprawling growth...There is too Large a "Rural/Wilderness Gap" that will never be developed(btwn Livingston& Holden) along Tickfaw River floodplain that separate the areas to make it "One Metro" IMO...makes it more difficult...but who knows what the future holds?

Looks  like Hammond is trying to upgrade their little airport on the east side....BR Metro Airport has it's work cut out being so close to NOLA International

Appreciate your enthusiasm & forward thinking....those are some solid ideas....Like Rail proposals & tree-lined boulevards....BR does have the "Green" going for it :thumbsup:

Edited by richyb83

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I think Hammond will continue to be its own metro area, although a lot of people there commute to either the Baton Rouge metro or the north shore

I do think an airport out towards Satsuma is a great idea.   BTR is in a terrible location now.  Satsuma is a bit far out, but it would have the north shore, southern Mississippi, Baton Rouge, and northern Ascension within its service area.  It will need to be more like 20-30 gates IMO.   New Orleans political interest would fight such an airport tooth and nail, but that doesn't mean it isn't in the best interest for the state.  

Also, it definitely is in the state's best interest to continue improving I-12 out to the north shore and to widen 190 between Hammond and Livingston.   There are a lot of people that commute between the two cities, and more links between the two are needed.   The highway infrastructure in this area is terrible.    US 190 runs alongside a rail road track for much of the route, so it would have the benefit of minimal curb cuts so traffic would flow pretty well.

More links over the Amite would have to be completed to keep I-12 flowing and to provide redundancy during emergencies and traffic tie ups.    A bridge at Hooper would need to be part of a road improvement strategy in northern Livingston.   Same with South Harrell's Ferry and southern Livingston.   Another link between Highway 42 in Ascension would have to be made to I-12 somehow.   

As far as the link north to Natchez, I can't believe it took us that long to widen 61 to the state line.  It's a fine highway, but it should be limited access. Baton Rouge-Natchez-Monroe-Little Rock-Rogers-Joplin-Kansas City is a needed route.  It would help link New Orleans port to the mid west and help the Mississippi Delta with economic development.

Edited by cajun
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I like the idea of a new airport in rural Livingston Parish. As cajun mentioned, it's market would be much larger than just metro Baton Rouge. 

I would like to see Hwy 190 widened from Denham Springs all the way out to Hammond. It is the only legitimate bypass of I-12 when there is an accident. And when there is an accident, traffic on Hwy 190 gets pretty congested. 

I don't see a Hammond/BR metro area. If anything Baton Rouge would absorb Hammond or as I see it, Hammond with still be considered as a northshore city as it and Covington grow closer together. And I still believe it's in our best interest to work with New Orleans as much as possible. 

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It's amazing how much the road network influences development patterns.   Downtown Baton Rouge could be the center of development in the metro had there been decent roads.   

 

 

First post of 2017!

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Posted (edited)

On 12/30/2016 at 0:01 AM, mr. bernham said:

 

 

Baton Rouge's metro airport is much smaller by comparison, but I believe that in order for Baton Rouge to compete (maybe even force Armstrong to compete) would be to build a 15-20 gate International Airport between Baton Rouge and Hammond in Satsuma; the mid-point of the two cities.

 

 

The more I think about it, the more sold I am on an airport somewhere between Walker and Satsuma exits.   It should have its own exit obviously, and the whole property should be flanked by roads for distribution businesses, hospitality, and light industrial development.  

Orange lines would be a road, yellow would be the outline of a terminal.   Red are runways (4 in total) all over 8,000 feet.

airport.jpg

This is not a competitive force for MSY.  It's another bit of infrastructure to move south Louisiana into the 21st century.   One step closer to an economic powerhouse that the state needs the BR-NO-Northshore area to be.

This would be huge for Baton Rouge, Livingston, Hammond, and even parts of southern Mississippi.  

A combined Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Hammond metro area would be approximately 2.5 million people.   That's roughly the size of St Louis, Pittsburgh, or San Antonio.  It's larger than Cincy, Austin, or Kansas City.   In order for the three metros to really gain the advantages of a single large population center, we'd have to make them "closer" with better highways and easier transportation.  

Edited by cajun
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I love that idea. I wonder why this was never a option when officials were looking to build a new airport? 

 

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11 hours ago, cajun said:

The more I think about it, the more sold I am on an airport somewhere between Walker and Satsuma exits.   It should have its own exit obviously, and the whole property should be flanked by roads for distribution businesses, hospitality, and light industrial development.  

Orange lines would be a road, yellow would be the outline of a terminal.   Red are runways (4 in total) all over 8,000 feet.

airport.jpg

This is not a competitive force for MSY.  It's another bit of infrastructure to move south Louisiana into the 21st century.   One step closer to an economic powerhouse that the state needs the BR-NO-Northshore area to be.

This would be huge for Baton Rouge, Livingston, Hammond, and even parts of southern Mississippi.  

A combined Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Hammond metro area would be approximately 2.5 million people.   That's roughly the size of St Louis, Pittsburgh, or San Antonio.  It's larger than Cincy, Austin, or Kansas City.   In order for the three metros to really gain the advantages of a single large population center, we'd have to make them "closer" with better highways and easier transportation.  

It's funny. This is exactly what I had in mind and what I was working on making a map of to upload here.  Brilliant work. 

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Posted (edited)

Yes Indeed Cajun...i have drawn many imaginary city street maps  & this looks like the Airport entrances/fly-over that have been drawn up!  :shades:  Good stuff! Might be tempting to extend that road North up to Hwy 190 near Walker East industrial park...giving a major north/south route btwn Walker & Satsuma

Months/(a year ago?)That exact Location as mentioned ; as well as  btwn Satsuma/Livingston..with single 5,000 ft' runway.....

 

 

Edited by richyb83

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The real challenge will be to get a new Amtrak line to go through this corridor...I understand that the line being reopened has to go through NOLA to make money, I still feel that it makes more logistical sense to follow I12.

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On 1/2/2017 at 2:57 AM, mr. bernham said:

The real challenge will be to get a new Amtrak line to go through this corridor...I understand that the line being reopened has to go through NOLA to make money, I still feel that it makes more logistical sense to follow I12.

Baby steps.  IMO, a park and ride system would have to be established first.    I'm not sure there are enough commuters going to central locations in Baton Rouge to justify that.   They already need to overlay I-10 between O'Neal and Jefferson.  Maybe they can re-stripe it and install some restricted bus lanes when they do it.   Imagine parking your car at Juban Crossing and taking a bus direct to either LSU or downtown - and skipping past most of the traffic.     

In any case, we do need to try to continue widening and improving I-12 out towards Hammond and widening US 190 to at least Walker....maybe even Satsuma or Livingston (and again between Albany and Hammond).    Metro areas are drawn by commuter traffic.   The area needs to share some kind of economic backbone, and that isn't going to happen without easy transportation between the two cities.   More companies need to locate to Livingston that would draw employees from both Baton Rouge and Hammond (Epic Pipe, OLOL, and North Oaks are a good start).  

Even then, I suspect that New Orleans will remain the Amtrak hub.   Nashville doesn't even have Amtrak service, which is astounding to me.   Ascension Parish is far more likely to see passenger rail service than Livingston, since that's the route a BR-NO route would take.  

Eventually, I think we will see a Baton Rouge-Hammond-New Orleans metro region with over 2.5 million people.   It will take 30 years, but it will eventually happen.   Before then, the 'anchors' of this metro will need to improve their infrastructure and increase their populations.   That would be Baton Rouge and New Orleans.  

Edited by cajun
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