City bike and pedestrian plan reaches final stages

Sooraz Patro, director of transportation at the Rapides Area Planning Commission, reviewed the final proposal on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan at a public meeting August 28.

The plan, confined to within the Natchitoches city limits, shows six types of proposed bike lanes. The lanes include: signed routes with no pavement markings, shared lane markings, on-street bike lanes, on-street buffered bike lanes, separated bike lanes and off-street trails and side paths.

Patro said the total cost of the plan would cost $8,137,271.32. The proposed pedestrian plan would cost $1,701,329.67. Some of the roadways mentioned in the proposal are Martin Luther King Drive, Sam Sibley Drive, Second Street, Church Street and Kyser Avenue.

Patro said the community should invest in the project because it will bolster personal health, improve safety and the quality of life, protect the environment, enhance economic development and help the potential tourism of the city thrive.

In a survey, the Rapides Area Planning Commission found 225 of 346 respondents, 74.3%, said they were very likely to walk or bike for exercise or to go to a park.
Patro said there is not a time frame of when the proposal will be funded. He said the primary reason the plan will work is because of the speed limits in Natchitoches. He also said the bike and pedestrian plans are connected with the bike share project.
As of now, no plan is in place to have bike racks set up around the city.
Mayor Lee Posey could not attend the meeting.

Sadie LeComte

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