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Government Street diet to begin in January

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BATON ROUGE- The smell of free food and live music filled the air Friday night in Mid City where people gathered for White Light Night. The annual event showcases local artists and musicians along one of Baton Rouge's main arteries, Government Street.

It could also be the last major festival along the road before renovations begin next year.

"White Light Night is a very good representation of what the possibilities of Government Street are," said Gordon Mese, the owner of Garden District Nursery and a long proponent of fixing Government Street.

Mese said he's pushed to change the road for almost two decades now, once even running for mayor on the issue.

His dream of a slower moving, more pedestrian friendly street will soon become reality. Fred Raiford, the Director of Transportation for East Baton Rouge Parish said Friday construction on the "Government Street Diet" should begin by late January.

The plan would reduce the road's four lanes to two, with a turn lane in the middle, and bike lanes on the outside. A raised median in certain spots would prevent some left-hand turns.

"You're already seeing all of this private investment coming to Government Street because of this plan," said Mese.

Opponents of the plan say it will drive away customers and make it harder to access homes and businesses in some areas.

Construction is expected to take 18 months to two years.


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