Zachary cuts speed limit in effort to revitalize downtown
ZACHARY – A stretch of Main Street has been reduced to 25 miles per hour as part of the city's downtown revitalization project.
Mayor David Amrhein said the project goal is to bring more restaurants and retail shops to the area, as well as make downtown more walker friendly.
“It’s half of a mile. It’s not like we’re asking you to go 25 mph for three miles, and the police are not going to write tickets in the very beginning. We’re going to put signs up that will have a mobile unit,” Amrhein explained.
The slowdown isn’t getting the green light from all drivers, however.
“It’s sure going to make congestion even worse through that area in my opinion,” said Raymond Taylor, who was passing through Wednesday.
Councilman Lael L. Montgomery says he’s already received phone calls about the speed limit and expects to get a lot more.
“They’re trying to mimic what Government Street is doing in Baton Rouge, but Government isn't the only street that is a corridor. This is the main corridor in Zachary,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery voted for the revitalization project but says he doesn’t agree with the speed reduction.
One person looking forward to the redevelopment is Todd Stevens. Stevens is turning the historic Train Depot into his restaurant Maverick’s Q and Brew. He says more foot traffic in the area will help with his opening in about four to six weeks.
"We're looking forward to the expanded growth and actually a lot of benefits within employment and increasing tax revenue here locally instead of folks having to go to Baton Rouge," Stevens said.
The speed limit changed Tuesday, but the Mayor says speeding tickets won’t be handed out until drivers get used to the adjustment.
“We can write tickets in a lot of other areas in Zachary other than a half of a mile stretch. I can tell you that. That's one of the main concerns we get at the council is slowing traffic down,” Amrhein said.
The first phase of the revitalization project will be a new three-story building on Main Street. The city will lease the top two floors, and the first floor will be available for retail.
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