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City leaders discussing improvements to Burbank Drive after two pedestrians killed in one week

1 year 4 months 2 days ago Monday, January 23 2023 Jan 23, 2023 January 23, 2023 7:28 PM January 23, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The recent deaths of LSU student Madi Brooks, and 71-year-old Ethel Wesley, who were both killed while walking along Burbank Drive, are bringing questions about the safety of pedestrians in the area.

Right at the intersection where Wesley was killed, at Burbank and Bluebonnet, is a CATS bus stop that attracts many pedestrians and bicyclists. The speed limit there is 55 miles per hour, and there are no sidewalks or crosswalks near the bus stop.

I see people around here walking across the street all the time. I’m like, what are you doing?” said Rob Rakoczy, a pedestrian. 

Rakoczy says he frequently walks and bikes along Burbank. While he is okay to do it, he says it is not a pedestrian-friendly area.

There’s a lot of people around here I don’t trust as far as driving," Rakoczy said.

Roosevelt Darcy, a bicyclist who also frequents Burbank Drive near Bluebonnet, says the city should make improvements to prevent more tragedies from occurring.

They should put a bike trail on side of the road or something, you know?” Darcy said.

WBRZ asked the city-parish if they have received complaints about pedestrian safety along Burbank Drive related to lighting or the speed limit. The city-parish responded by saying they don't know of any complaints, but they are looking into a multi-use path along Burbank.

We were looking at trying to build a bike lane or a multi-use path because of the fact that there’s enough shoulder on the edge of the roadway on both sides to allow that flexibility to do so," said Fred Raiford, Director of Transportation for the city-parish.

The only problem with the multi-use path is a ditch that needs to be filled in at West Lee Drive. Raiford says it should be feasible sometime in the future. 

More lighting is also planned for the entrance to the Pelican Lakes subdivision on Burbank where Madi Brooks was killed. A traffic light will be installed there, along with street lights.

"It meets the requirements, it meets the warrants. We’re having that currently right now designed through an engineer."

Funding for the traffic signal has already been secured through the Traffic Impact Fee. Once plans are completed, they will bid out the work. 

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