Posted: Jul 7, 2011 7:07 PM
Updated: Jul 7, 2011 7:11 PM
BATON ROUGE - It's a common sight on Gardere Lane in South Baton Rouge. Dozens if not hundreds of people a day walking along the street since there are no sidewalks.
But it's not just sidewalks in question. Gardere runs into Pinnacle's new casino, and residents say without an expanded road, Gardere will become a traffic nightmare.
Along Gardere, dirt paths run along one side of the road then crisscross where the ditches are too overgrown to form a path.
At night, residents say walking down Gardere is suicide and the ditch isn't much better since there are hardly any street lights.
A few miles north near LSU, A Greenlight Project was completed earlier this week. Brightside Drive was completed with a turning lane, a bike path and sidewalks as part of the project, many within the Gardere community wondered why they weren't receiving the same benefits.
So News2 asked the Department of Public Works and the Department of Transportation and Development "who's responsible for looking into improving the infrastructure along Gardere Lane?"
Since Gardere Lane is a state highway, DPW deferred to the state.
According to representatives from DPW and DOTD, a Gardere expansion wasn't part of the Greenlight Project taxpayers voted on years ago.
According to DOTD, there hasn't been a formal request for an expansion similar to Brightside and plain and simple, there's no money for the project.
For years District 3 Metro Council Member Chandler Loupe has tried to get sidewalks and bike paths built along Gardere Lane, but has been unsuccessful, so far.
Loupe said he's talked to DOTD at least two times about such a project in his district, yet DOTD says otherwise. He's also concerned with DPW and why they won't take on the project.
"The city's not prevented from making improvements to DOTD roads. In fact, most of the greenlight roads that you see like Seigen, those are state owned roads," Loupe said.
According to DPW Director Bryan Harmon, roughly 3,000 to 4,000 cars pass through the one mile stretch of Gardere Lane between Burbank and Nicholson every day.
That's minimal compared to over 15,000 cars that travel down Brightside Lane daily, which constitutes a turning lane. So the lack of three lanes on Gardere is understandable.
But Loupe also raised concerns about Pinnacle's casino being built less than a mile away.
"That's very short sided of DPW to say that it's not needed because of traffic because if you look at the area with the casino, that will be the feeder road to the casino. That will be the front enterance to a $360 million project," Loupe said.
To alleviate the Gardere traffic concerns Loupe expressed, DPW plans to extend Starring Lane between Burbank and Nicholson, but there's no money right now for the project.