TRANSPORTATION FAILINGS A LIFE AND DEATH ISSUE

DEATH IN OUR EXTENDED FAMILY OF LOUISIANA BICYCLISTS

Everyone at the meeting was very sorry to hear Maurice’s very sad news: his son-in-law’s 30 year-old brother, Nathan Crowson, was killed while riding a bicycle in Baton Rouge over the weekend.Nathan was riding on an arterial road at night, but in that area there is no alternative.Nathan did not own a car and depended on bicycling for transportation.There will be a “ghost bike” placed at the position by BRASS in remembrance of the tragedy.

The group began to talk of frustrations with the city in its lack of planning and design for alternative transportation.To this day there is not a single bike lane in the entire city, even on newly built roads.Normally all that would be required would be painting the lines of the streets differently.

In discussing possible causes of this shortcoming it was noted that the Metropolitan Planning Commission apparently does not talk to the Community Development Office, contrary to what one would expect.The MPC seems to have a background in facilitating private development and does not attend to how general quality of life can be enhanced by using best practices.It was noted that the head of the MPC is a developer and the planner has come from engineering.It was speculated that the city may have underfunded the continuing professional development of the people in those positions.Paying for their attendance at conferences or workshops, for example, would have informed planning commissioners, planners, and engineers of the standard best practices for accommodating walking and bicycling.Indeed, when visitors to our city see no bike lanes, no bike paths, no dog park, little success in downtown revitalization and containing sprawl, etc., and when such things are standard in other cities, they’ll have to wonder about the quality of city administration.