Public input sought for bike-pedestrian plan

First rural parish to receive grant funding

March 10 at 7:00 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Public input sought for bike-pedestrian plan
St. Charles Parish residents will have the opportunity to help identify areas for safe pedestrian and bicycle access to highways in the parish.

“We are looking to get input from, not only from the Parish Council, but also the general public and industries throughout the parish,” said Gavin Gillen with All South Consulting Engineers said at Monday’s council meeting.

The New Orleans Regional Planning Commission (RPC) hired the Metairie engineering firm in November to make the parish’s first Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan, which Gillen said they intend to have done by January of next year. RPC also said the grant funding makes St. Charles Parish the first rural parish to receive this money for the project.

“The grant is all about safety,” Gillen said.

Public meetings will be scheduled by April with one each on east and west banks, possibly at the high schools, he said. Anyone with cycling or walking clubs should attend to advise on what they need in better or safer access.

“This is also to consider connecting neighborhoods with bike paths and walking paths so residents are encouraged to attend and comment,” Gillen said of the plan.

Meetings also will be held with parish officials and industries, who also will be asked to identify locations for upgrades for pedestrians and bicyclists.

A steering committee composed of parish officials, including two council members, was recently named. They recently met and discussed Schexnayder Lane in Destrehan and adding crosswalks for pedestrians on Airline Highway and U.S. Highway 90.

Once the plan is complete, it will be integrated into future road projects by the parish and the Louisiana Department of Transportation to increase and provide safe road access to bicyclists and pedestrians.

Gillen said the parish has few paths for pedestrians, naming three bicycle paths or lanes at Ormond Boulevard, on the levee and on Fashion Plantation Boulevard South.

“Very few streets have sidewalks in St. Charles Parish, along with crosswalks, which is important to pedestrians,” he added.

Gillen said one in five traffic fatalities were pedestrians or bicyclists in the parish according to LSU’s Louisiana Data Reports for 2005–2015. These crashes resulted in four bicyclists deaths and 16 pedestrian deaths.

Since 2005, the parish has had 80 vehicle-bicyclist crashes, also according to LSU data, he said.

View other articles written Anna Thibodeaux

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