MOVEBR holds open house to discuss Lee Drive updates
BATON ROUGE - The MOVEBR project is promising big changes to the busiest roads in the capital area, including Lee Drive.
“We’re just growing at such a fast pace that the roads can’t keep up but it’ll be nice to get there," said Madelyn Schmidt, who owns a business along Lee Drive.
Schmidt just opened up her bakery, Eloise, in November. In that short time span, she says traffic has been a nightmare that deters customers from turning into the parking lot.
“It’s really difficult to take a left into the parking lot or take a left out of the parking lot most of the times of the day. It really gets backed up to the point where sometimes you can’t turn left at all," said Schmidt.
Fred Raiford with EBR Transportation and Drainage says the top complaint they receive about Lee Drive is the lack of turning lanes, which they plan to address with the MOVEBR improvements.
“When somebody wants to turn and traffic’s going both directions, it backs up traffic for many blocks," said Raiford.
The current plan for Lee Drive is to build a center turning lane, making the entire stretch of the road from Perkins to Highland three lanes total.
“It’s gonna be looked at as a 3-lane roadway. The three lanes is... you have one lane going each direction and then a center turning lane where you’ll be able to turn into a driveway or an intersection itself," said Raiford.
Bicycle lanes and sidewalks are also on the list of changes to expect. To improve safety for pedestrians, the city-parish will also look into options for better lighting along the corridor.
“We’re also going to look at improving a lot of the lighting because if we’re going to do sidewalks and bike lanes we want to be sure people feel comfortable walking out there when they want to do that," said Raiford.
From Schmidt's standpoint, she's looking forward to the day when the road in front of her bakery won't stand in the way of sales.
“I think we would definitely benefit from at least having a turning lane so that the rest of the traffic could continue to flow and these businesses could get new patrons," said Schmidt.
The Lee Drive portion of the project is still in the design phase and the city-parish took public input at an open house meeting Thursday night. Raiford added construction will probably not take place until late 2023.
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