Tag Archives: Louisiana

Our Views: Old, isolated in suburbia

This op-ed from Luisiana’s The Advocate points out a fact that in the coming years will be a real issue for American cities: we’re getting old.  People are beginning to outlive their ability to drive.  Some suburbs, such as Fayetteville, GA, are trying to retrofit themselves so that they can maintain an aging society that may not be able to drive in a few years.  Among some of their strategies are a new street grid, denser housing, and a system of public parks instead of private yards (for those who can’t mow for themselves anymore).  Baton Rouge, LA, is also taking measures to try and become more walkable with Plan Baton Rouge.  Although greenfield development is often less than ideal from a planning perspective, it can turn out well, such as at Lafayette‘s River Ranch.  But current Baton Rouge is not very pedestrian friendly, and the author remarks, “If you don’t have a car, or someone to drive you, this is not a very good place to live.”  Not only is it hard in this atmosphere for people who can’t drive to get to the places they need to go, it is also hard for them to get together, and many begin to feel isolated.  As good of an idea as it is to try and fix the suburbs, there aren’t many politicians who have the political will (read: cajones) to make the change.  But Louisiana has great examples in New Orleans and downtown Baton Rouge, and hopefully they can make that transition.

Our Views: A no-brainer passes us by

The Advocate of New Orleans brings us this article on a missed opportunity in Louisiana.  Because of Hurricane Katrina, Baton Rouge and New Orleans have been brought a lot closer together.  As an army of planners have been working on how to rebuild the area, one of the most common and important ideas has been a rail connection between the two cities.  Most people are supportive of the idea, they just want to use someone else’s money to finance it.  Fortunately, the economic stimulus package was made just for these sort of projects.  Unfortunately, Bobby Jindal, the state’s governor, is a Republican, and opposed to the stimulus.  The plans that were drawn up by the state Department of Transportation and Development were abandoned.  Now no one is willing to pay the $18 million to subsidize the system, even though this is smaller than the sum that DOTD simply lost more than that amount last year.  History has shown us that this sort of project is a sound investment.  Louisiana had a great opportunity to invest in two of it’s largest cities.  That opportunity may be gone.