Letter: BR traffic enough to drive you mad

What’s your daily driving experience in Baton Rouge? It’s likely to include extended lines of vehicles on major streets; waiting several light cycles before finally reaching intersections; and irritating snarls, especially at entrances and exits for shopping centers and apartment complexes.

This is the natural result of allowing development to proliferate without a concomitant increase in infrastructure.

We have on the one hand a Planning Commission that votes for almost all development (read: more tax money), and on the other hand the Urban Nation/Smart Growth adherents who have their own, more philosophically correct (to themselves) version of Monopoly.

One of the more foolish ideas to arise from the Smart Growth crowd has been the lowering of the number of lanes on Government Street. They maintain this, one of the only two major surface arteries connecting mid-city with downtown, would be improved by adding two bicycle lanes, thus sacrificing existing vehicle-carrying lanes. One writer says this will guarantee less traffic, all right, but in the process lessening business at his long-established firm in mid-city. Exacerbating this particular folly is Capital Heights Avenue, altered a few years ago to a single-lane, single-direction street just one block over from Government.

Another writer decries the blocks-long lines of traffic waiting to turn off Government at the sole intersection available downtown into the city parking garages.

A recent Metro Council proposal has been to make all streets in the city conform to a 25 mph speed limit. This one-size-fits-all, easy-fix approach to solving traffic problems ignores the peculiarities of location, condition and/or traffic count in assigning more appropriate speeds.

Perkins Road, already a traffic-choked mass at various times of the day, is about to be inundated with a further crossflow of traffic from The District, a high-rise 312-unit apartment complex set to open this fall. Imagine approximately 2 X 312 resident vehicles, plus guest and service vehicles, attempting to enter and exit this development every day. DPW says no problem, the driveway configuration will take care of it, and no signal light will be needed. We’ll see.

Adding to this will be the 8,000 to 10,000 additional daily vehicle trips proposed for the Rouzan development just a few hundred yards down Perkins Road from The District. If continuing financial and legal imbroglios don’t sink developer J.T. Spinosa and/or his development, his predicted traffic scenario will make Perkins Road a living nightmare.

We citizens live where we do for many reasons, and we are committed to preserving and protecting our neighborhoods. This includes guarding against politically influenced city planners and overweening Smart Growthers who often make decisions that go against reason and which may actually be deleterious to the quality of life we strive for in this city.

John Berry

database consultant

Baton Rouge