POSTED: Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 9:00pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 9:04pm
Baton Rouge, La — The two-block section of Government Street between Bedford Drive and Beverly Drive will be narrowed from four to three lanes this weekend and revamped with landscaping, sidewalks and bike lanes to show that a major traffic artery can be friendly to pedestrians and cyclists as well as cars and trucks.
Better Block BR will give visitors a chance to experience what a “road diet” along Government Street would do to traffic counts by using temporary streetscapes to slow traffic and incorporate parking, sidewalks, landscaping, business facades and bike lanes.
“The Better Block BR experiment will allow us to show off the possibilities of transforming the Government Street corridor into a vibrant and safe destination for pedestrians and cyclists while maintaining a quality road design that optimizes traffic flow and access to businesses,” said Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden.
The Better Block BR demonstration will also be the destination of this year’s Mayor’s Family Bike Ride, which will be hosted by Mayor Holden and his wife Lois on Saturday morning.
Located just west of the Government Street intersection with Acadian Thruway, the Better Block BR area includes the Westmoreland Shopping Center that is now owned by Catholic High, which is just a short distance away.
During the Better Block demonstration, pop-up businesses will relocate closer to the street along the Better Block area, which will be accessible by both pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths. The project is intended to show how Government Street, if only temporarily and in small segments, can be transformed into a vibrant place not only for motorists, but also for people who walk, bike and ride wheelchairs to businesses and amenities.
The $56,000 project is sponsored by the Mayor’s Office, the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance, the Center for Planning Excellence and the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority. Supporters include AARP, Catholic High, BREC, Mid City Merchants Association, the Baton Rouge Walls Project, and Stantec (formerly ABMB engineering).