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.
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
C & C Technologies, HIT Fitness, R3 Sciences, the Acadiana Symphony Association and the United Way of Acadiana recognized for innovation.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra has decided to end its traditional Independence Day spectacular known as Red White & Boom.
Under the deal, Teche shareholders would get 1.162 shares of IberiaBank for each share of Teche stock.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The must have pieces this season
Dave Perkins, LCG Comp Plan honored along with local architects and designers at the 2014 INDesign Awards
Greg Manuel’s Lafayette-based residential development company is taking advantage of exponential industrial growth in Lake Charles.
Longtime Lafayette retailer ventures online.
It’s not how aggressive or conservative you are — it’s planning for risk that matters most.
Thanks to cutting-edge digital technology, more and more consumers are banking on ATMs and mobile phones.
Regional bank bids farewell to Downtown May 30
ABiz takes a look back at the most noteworthy moments for the local banking industry over the last year.
Most experts say short-term interest rates will be unchanged through 2014, but long-term rates are inching up.
Largest recruitment event in Acadiana returns May 21 to the Cajundome Convention Center
A lawyer’s ad should only be a starting point, as there is much more to consider when seeking quality representation.
Thanks to the inaugural 2012 INNOV8, a design for lifting heavy objects was brought to market.
The annual juried competition recognizes excellence in architecture, interior design and historic preservation in Lafayette and the five surrounding parishes.
Cypress Bayou GM hosts open house.
New hires, promotions, transfers in Acadiana business
The scion of a landmark Four Corners restaurant climbs back into Lafayette’s culinary scene as franchisee for a popular burger chain.