15 May 2008

Lafayette: I-10 design plan presented

The Advocate (Baton Rouge): I-10 design plan presented
(from article)

...A plan for future development along Interstate 10 calls for a balance of commercial and residential areas, buffers to shield neighborhoods from traffic, and better road connections in a city not known for ease of travel.

The design proposal, presented Wednesday to a city-parish planning group, was developed by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Community Design Workshop.

The group’s plan addresses how best to guide the development expected to follow completion of a frontage road system along I-10 in Lafayette Parish — road work now in the early planning stage...

...The resulting land-use plan attempts to balance the desire of residents to be shielded from increased traffic and the desire of business owners for increased visibility.

The plan includes provisions for green belts between neighborhoods and new roads, such as a stand of trees that could cut noise and hide cars from the view of nearby houses.

Community Design Workshop Director Thomas Sammons said sound walls were discussed, but most residents were more interested in vegetative buffers.

“We want to be buffered, but we don’t want to be walled in,” he said...

...The design workshop’s I-10 plan comes as city-parish government is studying several options for frontage roads along the interstate.

Planners are also considering a redesign of the I-10/I-49 interchange.

Let's go with the last line first. A redesign of the I-10/I-49 interchange is badly needed... even more so if Future I-49 South takes the current routing of US 90 and 167 through the city. Right now, it's a cloverleaf, and it's already straining to handle traffic, especially SB I-49 to EB I-10. The weaving on it is unbelievable. If another Interstate connection is made from the south, it will become completely inadequate to handle the task. A stack would be a much better option for that interchange. Better to get it done now before I-49 South is built.

Now, as to the rest. I've driven that corridor a decent bit. Right now, east of I-49, it's beautiful. Due to the fact that downtown Lafayette exists south of I-10, most of the natural splendor of the corridor is still there. Go west of I-49, and you see more development along the interstate. There's not too much of it, however. A lot of the natural beauty still exists. Traffic counts are a bit heavy east of I-49, somewhat lighter west of it. There's not too much reason to stop there, though. Sure, you can go south or west from the I-10/I-49/US 167 interchange and explore Cajun country, but as for Lafayette itself, it has few attractions in any position to draw in traffic from the Interstates.

Acadiana is one of the greatest scenic regions in the entire state of Louisiana. While development is needed in the Lafayette region, especially for interconnectivity, they need to be careful in how they develop.

If they do it right, it'll be beneficial for all. Let's hope they can.

1 comment:

Anthony Kennerson said...

I would agree with you on the need to seriously upgrade the I-10 corridor; especially using the "Texas urban" system of continuous one-way access roads from the LA 93 interchange serving Scott to the Louisiana Avenue interchange on the east boundary of Lafayette.....and even widening the mainline to 6 lanes (three in each direction).

Upgrading the I-10/I-49 interchange before the I-49 Connector is completed through Lafayette, though is another matter entirely. Actually, LaDOTD has done some decent improvements in increasing capacity for I-49 traffic; they have restriped the northbound lanes of I-49 to three lanes all the way to the Pont des Mouton Road exit, and they have added a dedicated auillary lane for traffic needing to exit the Evangeline Thruway onto I-10 East. They need to get busy with completing the design and getting funding for I-49 through Lafayette, though, before they can even consider upgrading the I-10/I-49 interchange to a full four-level Stack.

Actually..I wouldn't mind them building a FIVE-level Stack to accomodate the extension of a one-way access road system on I-49 from I-10 northward to Carencro, and widening I-49 proper from Lafayette to Opelousas to six lanes. Given how much South St. Landry Parish has blown up, and all that traffic going to the Evangeline Downs "Racino", and the need for an effective hurricane evacuation route (and the use of I-49/US 167 as an alternate detour route for I-10 through the Atchfalaya Swamp, that wouldn't be such a pipe dream.