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.
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
See which events are taking place during INNOV8 Lafayette this Thursday.
It’s on, y’all. Fest fIND, our annual Festival International de Louisiana reader contest, is now accepting photo submissions.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
Fashion and music make great bedfellows
Producers, manufacturers, restaurants and chefs host roundtable and tasting
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
The easy one-piece way to style
Comfy feet for long days
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, April 23, 2014:
Newsy bits for the whole fam
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Don't forget: our annual Festival International contest begins Thursday! Win. Cool. Stuff.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
State bar foundation bestows honor on founder and managing partner of NeunerPate
This Wednesday, April 23, marks the first full day of INNOV8 Lafayette.
National awards recognize outstanding achievement in leadership development and leadership programs
A federal court magistrate has issued a seven-page schedule of hearings, conferences and deadlines leading up to January’s trial aimed at determining how much money BP will owe in Clean Water Act fines as a result of its 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The state’s “greedy trial lawyers” haven’t scared this oil giant away.
Local boutique celebrates all things green
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.