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.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
Three bedroom Acadian or a two bedroom town home
Ready to geaux in purple and gold
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
The recently established Downtown Lafayette Restaurant & Bar Association will host a special viewing of the upcoming New Orleans Saints taking on the Carolina Panthers in the open air of Parc Sans Souci on Thursday, Oct. 30.
Belief in a national outbreak of the Ebola zombie virus is becoming more of a threat every day, and The Hayride — Louisiana’s one true bastion for unrelentingly conservative political commentaries — thought it wise to share a certain special someone's “important message” with readers Tuesday on what to do when, not if, it comes.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.
JPMorgan Chase is giving $1 million to Louisiana's community and technical colleges, to help with workforce training efforts to match students to available jobs.
President Barack Obama is turning to black radio listeners to plead for midterm votes, a targeted approach to drum up Democratic support at a time when many candidates don't want him around in person.
WaPo Watergate editor Ben Bradlee dies; Clintons stump for Dems; Liberians stranded and more national and international news for Wednesday, October 22, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Law firm unveils newly renovated 200-year-old building.
UL grad named web developer at BBR Creative
Lafayette-based emergency department staffing and management company raises $120 million in senior credit facilities through GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services.
High-rise apartment building, parking garage, hotel and retail part of new development.
A common thread runs through many of those we oppose: Enshrining in the Constitution protections on programs and their funding sources has had a disastrous effect on Louisiana’s most important economic development engine.
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
The number of Louisianans with jobs continued to set records in September, but the state's unemployment rate kept rising.
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Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana is drowning, quickly.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.