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BRAC touts economic success tied Government Street road diet

9 months 2 weeks 6 days ago Wednesday, October 04 2023 Oct 4, 2023 October 04, 2023 4:13 PM October 04, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - A group of Baton Rouge business leaders says the Government Street corridor has seen positive economic change since it underwent a facelift via a joint effort between DOTD and the city-parish. 

According to the Baton Rouge Area Chamber's findings, tax revenues are up and traffic incidents are down since completion of the Government Street road diet in 2021.

"If the goal was to create a vibrant corridor within the community that young people want to patronize, then it worked," Andrew Fitzgerald with BRAC said.

The project reduced Government Street to one lane in each direction and overhauled the sidewalks, slowing down traffic and making the road more pedestrian-friendly.

Businesses in the area say they're seeing the benefits. Restaurant Bistro Byronz has had a presence on Government Street for nearly two decades.

"Definitely have seen lots of growth in businesses, both retail and non-retail businesses up and down Government Street, which is great for all businesses that are here because it encourages more folks to come to the street," said owner Emelie Alton.

Just down the street, Baton Rouge Community College seems to be thriving.

"I think it's no accident that we are at record enrollment right now with 11,000 students on campus here and I think that is in part due to the revitalization of this area," athletic director Brock Kantrow said.

There has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding the road diet, including not being able to make U-turns and the apparent lack of maintenance of the medians—something both BRAC and business owners are well aware of.

"The more that we're doing to make it appealing with the businesses that are here, the way traffic flows, the look and feel of the environment, all those are things I think we can continue to focus on to grow this area of town," Alton said.

Since 2016, BRAC says sales tax revenue on the street has also increased by 34 percent and traffic accidents have decreased 43 percent from 2011.

You can view the entire report here.

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