The plan will address everything from downtown revitalization to connectivity and urban in-fill — concepts embraced by New Urbanism, the school of city planning that emphasizes mixed-use development, walkability, public transportation and generally less reliance on cars and suburban sprawl. Under duress from Durel, the council has been squirreling away in the last two budgets the $1.2 million the plan is expected to cost.
Last week’s presentations by the planning firms also underscored the lack of engagement by our community in most things municipal and civic. The event was held at the theater in the Acadiana Center for the Arts, which seats but a few hundred people. There were about 70 there and many of them were elected officials and architects — people with a dog in the fight, or at least an interest in dogs. When I wasn’t in the theater hearing the pitch — The Ind’s office is right around the corner — I joined a roiling mob of 39 people viewing the presentations via streaming video. In a city of more than 120,000 souls in a parish of better than 220,000, just over 100 were plugged into the process.
Consider the $1.2 million a down payment for the sins (of omission) of our fathers, because, A) the million-plus only gets us a plan — we still have to pay for the projects envisioned by it — and, B) Lafayette is not a well-planned city. I don’t mean poorly planned a generation or two ago. I mean mainly during the 20th century and especially during the oil boom of the mid 20th century when it was obvious the city in particular was going to grow enormously, yet we kept inching out to the cane fields with two-lane roads, and building bustling subdivisions off those inadequate arteries.
I lived through the pain of widening roads like Kaliste Saloom and Ambassador Caffery — roads that should have been wider when they were built.
Like most cities, one supposes, Lafayette just sort of happened. Local lore says our curvy streets — look at a map of Lafayette; nowhere does it resemble a grid — are based on old cattle trails into town. I can imagine the winding Bayou Vermilion having an influence on this as well. Consider how many streets change name when they cross a major thoroughfare: Johnston Street becomes Louisiana Avenue when it crosses Evangeline Thruway, Mudd turns into Cameron, North College into Bertrand, Agnes into Simcoe, St. John into St. Landry, ad nauseam.
When I interviewed Traffic Director Tony Tramel for last week’s cover story, he explained that most of these dual-identity roads are the result of realignment: separate roads ending near one another at a common thoroughfare were realigned to become one road crossing the thoroughfare. Parochialism — don’t you dare change the name of my street! — led to politicians accepting that a newly aligned road would have two names.
We have to give our forebears credit for building roads radiating out from Lafayette to other towns like Abbeville, Breaux Bridge, Crowley and Opelousas — spokes to our hub, hence the nickname Hub City — as well as establishing our own public utility company. But the kudos end there. Lafayette’s growth has otherwise been a willy-nilly hodgepodge of just enough for now.
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Prepare yourselves for sun
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
Due to the chaos of Mardi Gras and the weather, the entry deadline for this year's INDesign Awards has been extended by one week.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
Queen Evangline and King Gabriel ruled Tuesday night
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
IND Style does Gabriel
Newsy bits for the fam
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.