Aug 15, 2014 7:46 PM by Kari Beal
Cycling through the streets of Lafayette and beyond can sometimes be a scary ride.
"We're traveling down the bike lane on St. Mary and we will take a left onto Johnston where there is no bike lane," Lafayette cyclist John Langlinais said.
Langlinais is part of the nonprofit bicycle advocacy organization called "Bike Lafayette." The group aims to give a single voice to all types of cyclists in the area.
It comes after crashes and fatalities involving vehicles and bikers. Two cyclists have died in the parish over the last two months. In the last decade there have been 600 crashes and at least 12 fatalities according to Lafayette Consolidated Government.
"There are so many who would say, ‘I would love to ride a bike if I could do it safely,'" Bike Lafayette member Scott Coco said.
Bike Lafayette is finally breaking some ground with the help of the parish government initiative "Complete Streets." This initiative strives to make the roads friendly to all those who want to use them, not just motorists.
"Those auto-prone roadways are now struggling with the growing number of cyclists and pedestrians," Planning Manager for Lafayette Metropolitan Planning Organization Mike Hollier said.
The UL Bike Extension has been in the works for a few years now and the final touches will allow cyclists to travel from the Cajun Dome to Johnston Street, over to St. Michael Street and take a right onto St. Julien, which will lead to UL's campus.
This is just one project that is underway. Hollier said the Parish also plans to complete a bike lane from Joey's restaurant on Bertrand to Johnston Street. He said both of these should take less than two years.
"We are working right now on Year 2040 plans for bikeways and other transportation routes," Hollier said.
The Atakapa Ishak Trail is a part of the 2040 project. Hollier said first the trail should be extended from Vermilionville to Breaux Bridge and then eventually to St. MartinVille.
"Our projects cover Lafayette Parish and the surrounding area," Hollier said.
Once some projects are complete in the city limits, Hollier said the Parish can start working on other areas.
"The reality in this town is if you are going to be a cyclist you will have to ride in the lane of travel," Langlinais said.
It's a reality Langlinais hopes he will have to face less and less.
Complete Streets will have its next meeting on Wednesday 12 p.m. at the Rosa Parks transit center. The meeting is open to the public.
For more information on Bike Lafayette or to become a member visit their website: bikelafayette.org
"The Lafayette MPO Bicycle Subcommittee is open to the public and is for long-term planning, laying the groundwork for bicycling infrastructure for the future greater Lafayette area. There are members from cycling advocacy organizations, safety, engineers, and other MPO committees, and anyone is welcome to go to the meetings. Short-term bicycling improvements include bicycle/pedestrian/ motorist safety campaigns. The billboards are already up," Bike Lafayette member Monique Koll said.
You can find them at changethewaywetravel.com and lafayette.gov/streetsense/changethewaywetravel.html
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