For those who may not know, MOVEBR is a massive transportation construction program that was approved by voters in 2018 and will be financed by a sales tax increase in E. Baton Rouge Parish. Here are the basic bullet points:
It’s estimated to be over $1.1 billion dollars over 30 years.
$800 million is for “capacity” projects (wider roads)
$200 million is for “corridor enhancements”
$70 million is for “community enhancements.”
Full list of projects here.
All the projects that will be constructed through this program have already been decided upon with the exception of $49 million in community enhancement money; metro council members will suggest projects and the city/parish public works will decide what gets built. There is also $10 million for ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance. It’s IMPERATIVE that you continue to advocate for bike/ped projects by contacting your metro council member.
Obviously, this program has enormous potential, both for good and for bad. If roads are constructed and widened the same way they have in the past, our streets will become more dangerous. If they focus on speed and volume over safety at the expense of those who walk, bike and use mobility aids, this program has the potential to do a lot of damage at great public expense. However, there are ways MOVEBR could greatly improve mobility for ALL road users.
Bike Baton Rouge has identified several ways multi-modality can be integrated into the design phase of large projects like the ones in MOVEBR:
• Follow the COMPLETE STREETS Policies of the city/parish and State. They are there for a reason. When expanding a roadway or building a new road, designers MUST accommodate all road users whenever possible.
• PLAN AND DESIGN with ALL road users in mind. What may be an “improvement” to a motorist may greatly increase the danger to a vulnerable road user. Design, plan and build accordingly.Use the full array of design guidelines available and make sure the entire project team is educated and informed of all new design guidelines. There is no reason to limit road projects to the lowest common denominator. The urban landscape is changing and design principles should be as current and inclusive as possible, allowing for maximum flexibility.
• CONNECTIVITY is key. Consider where projects might offer connectivity for those who walk and bike, even if it only pertains to a small portion of a larger project. A small section of sidewalk, bike lane or path can go a long way at minimal cost.
• Identify and consider where there is overlap between MOVEBR and the EBRP PED/BIKE MASTER PLAN. Wherever possible, prioritize these projects and make sure these projects include multimodality.
For more detailed information on how MOVEBR can affect us and how it could be most beneficial going forward, click the box below: