The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will consider naming a loop of proposed and current bicycle pathways in honor of slain cyclist Michaela “Mickey” Shunick, whose 2012 disappearance while she biked home one night gripped the community and reached the nation.
The proposed “Mickey Shunick Memorial Bike Loop” will circle about 8 miles around the city’s core, including past Shunick’s ghost-bike memorial on St. Landry Street that marks the spot of her abduction.
“We expect to be able to complete the majority of that loop relatively soon,” likely by the end of the year, Chief Development Officer Carlee Alm-Labar said.
The loop will include existing bicycle lanes on Johnston Street, St. Mary Boulevard and a segment of St. Landry Street, along with existing pathways near the Cajundome on Reinhardt Drive and Coliseum Road.
A longer stretch includes planned bike lanes beginning at South College Road and West Bayou Parkway continuing onto Roselawn Boulevard until it meets with the completed Johnston Street bike lane. After veering past the future Lafayette Central Park, the lane will continue onto Bertrand Drive.
Those portions of the project are funded and scheduled for completion following an asphalt overlay project on West Bayou Parkway, Alm-Labar said.
Bike sharrows — arrow-shaped roadway stripes installed on the asphalt, accompanied by a bike symbol, that indicate a shared lane — will be installed on Girard Park Drive from the existing bike lane on St. Mary Boulevard to South College Road once funding is secured.
Other portions of the loop will require more time and planning, Alm-Labar said.
Those include proposed, but unfunded, pathways through the University of Louisiana at Lafayette athletic complex on Reinhardt Drive between Bertrand Drive and Cajundome Boulevard and across South College Road from Girard Park Drive to West Bayou Parkway.
Shunick’s disappearance as she biked home in the early morning hours of May 19, 2012, prompted a massive community search effort for the UL-Lafayette anthropology student, whose killer waited almost three months before leading investigators to her shallow grave near Mamou.
Brandon Scott Lavergne, now 36, pleaded guilty Aug. 17, 2012, to two counts of first-degree murder in Shunick’s death and the death of Lisa Pate, a Lafayette woman killed in 1999. He entered the guilty plea after confessing to knocking Shunick off her bike with his truck, abducting her and later shooting her after she sprayed him with Mace and stabbed him.
The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal on Wednesday denied another of Lavergne’s numerous requests to review his sentence in the women’s deaths, in which he pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty and was sentenced to life without parole at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.
Follow Lanie Lee Cook on Twitter, @lanieleecook, or contact her by phone at (337) 534-0825.