Crosswalk improvements bring long-awaited change to downtown
BATON ROUGE - With the addition of new crosswalks, ramps, signs, and audible push button signals, some intersections Downtown Baton Rouge have become more ADA accessible.
The Florida Street ADA Compliance Project is MOVEBR's 14th completed project. It improves access in the downtown area and makes bus stop locations more accessible. It's the first of six MOVEBR projects that will improve downtown's accessibility and ADA compliance.
"This project is a real asset for the downtown community," Director of Transportation and Drainage spokesperson Fred Raiford said.
Mayor Sharon Weston Broome cut the ribbon at Tuesday's celebration. The intersection improvements will help the visually and mobility impaired.
"Now they can navigate safely throughout this area," she said.
In 2017, 2 On Your Side spoke with Lee Landry about downtown accessibility. While living at Catholic Presbyterian Apartments and getting around by wheelchair, eight inch curbs prevent Landry from crossing the street in a crosswalk at North Street and North Seventh Street. She rode in the street to get around. Curbs are a problem for many people living in the same apartment complex.
"Many of them are handicapped with walkers, canes, or the chair like myself," Landry said.
The curbs present a problem for Phil Templet, who is blind. In 2017, he showed us how he relies on memory and his cane to get around. Curbs are a big obstacle for him, too.
"Being able to get from point A to point B by myself is very important," Templet said.
Six years ago, the parish showed 2 On Your Side plans to improve intersections and make them ADA compliant. The plans were drawn in 2002. Tenants living at the Catholic Presbyterian Apartments also submitted a petition to the Metro Council and mayor with nearly 100 signatures requesting changes. Those changes have yet to be made, but are currently under design.
In 2017, a lack of funding prevented the project from moving forward. MOVEBR wasn't approved by voters until 2018, even though plenty of other things have been built or improved downtown since.
Much of the city's ADA compliance projects will go out for bid later this year.