Saturday, July 26, 2008

LADOTD Bicycle/Pedestrian Plan to be Revised

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is seeking suggestions for updating the state's Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan. The plan guides LADOTD planners and engineers in accommodating bicycle and pedestrian traffic in the state's transportation system. The master plan does not fund any projects. The plan was last finalized in 1998.

The first of three statewide public meetings was held in New Orleans July 22, in the Casino building in City Park. About 70 attended the meeting run by Ellen Wilmer Soll, a planner for Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc, and Nick Jackson, senior planner for Toole Design Group, two consulting firms hired by the LADOTD to update the plan. State Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, Brian Parsons did not attend.

The effort to update the plan has been undertaken by the LADOTD in part because of the increasing "interest in and demand for walkable and bikeable transportation options", a LADOTD handout said. A revised plan will also recommend changes to reduce pedestrian and bicycle crashes in Louisiana and identify solutions to better accommodate all the users of the transportation system.

Meeting participants were divided into small groups, each group charged with making suggestions to encourage people to walk or bicycle more. These suggestions--such as smoother roads, changing the timing of stop lights to give cyclists a head start and education programs to teach drivers about the rights of bicyclists and pedestrians-- were then read to everyone. Soll and Jackson said these would be considered when revisions in the bike/ped plan are made.

Meetings were also held in Shreveport and Baton Rouge.