QUESTION: In recent years we have seen downtown Baton Rouge continue its growth. However, we have also seen the decrease in the number of fire stations covering the area, from two to just one now. Is there any concern with the number of fire stations covering downtown Baton Rouge with its continued growth there? Also, are there plans to increase the number of fire stations for downtown Baton Rouge?
ANSWER: Fire Chief Ed Smith tells us there has been no decrease in the number of fire stations covering the downtown area.
“The Baton Rouge Fire Department has 19 fire stations and is in the process of building an additional station, for a total of 20. The BRFD has been an ISO (Insurance Service Office) Class 1 fire department since 1979. We were the first department in the country to achieve this status and have maintained it ever since.
“The industry standard is to have a first-arriving fire company no more than 1.5 miles of its destination — which means fire stations should be no more than 3 miles from one another.
“I assume the reader was speaking of Fire Station 1 that was formerly located on Laurel Street. This station was over 60 years old and was in disrepair. When it became evident we would have to replace or rebuild this station, we saw this as an opportunity to relocate the station to optimize coverage. By moving Station 1 to its present location on Florida Street we were able to expand our coverage as well as close gaps in coverage without adding a new fire station, which meant a savings to the taxpayer.
“In addition, we were able to move and rebuild several other stations in this process that also helped us optimize our coverage, close gaps and secure our points in the grading system. These upgrades increased the safety of our citizens while maintaining our rating, which is a direct savings to the taxpayer.”
Meanwhile, near Central...
QUESTION: I’ve been curious about the cluster of traffic lights at the three-way intersection of Sullivan Road, Central Expressway and Lovett Road. I understand the reason for the signals on Sullivan and the Expressway for traffic traveling north or south or turning westbound at Lovett. The signal for Lovett traffic turning north or south on the highway is also what is normally expected. But what is the traffic signal over the east roadway of Lovett Road for? There is no road east of Lovett.
ANSWER: City-parish Chief Traffic Engineer Ingolf A. Partenheimer says there are several parcels of property and a sewer pump station which access Sullivan on this approach. “As there will be very minor traffic, it should not cause any delays thanks to the vehicular video detectors,” he says.
Those detectors, which control the traffic lights, can pick up cars, bikes and pedestrians.
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