QUESTION: Many of the construction projects downtown fence off public space: sidewalks, parking spots, traffic lanes, even entire streets. This goes on for weeks and months at a time. Are taxpayers paid for the public space that’s used for private purposes?

ANSWER: City-Parish Chief Traffic Engineer Ingolf A. Partenheimer took on this question:

“Baton Rouge has a vibrant growing downtown at a time when many other cities are in decline or aren’t growing. With this comes growing pains.

“As many accommodations as possible are done to safely reroute traffic around these construction zones. Sometimes construction is halted for nonobvious reasons, such as the River Road construction being halted by the Army Corps of Engineers due to the high river elevation in New Orleans, where the official gauge is.

“Throw into this mix the movie filming, parades, emergency bridge closures and road runs. Every effort is made by city-parish traffic engineers to keep the traffic flowing.

“The good news: once completed, these temporary closures will be a distant memory and the city-parish will have a thriving downtown which ultimately will bring additional money into the city coffers.”

SHORTCUT WOES

QUESTION: The intersection of Congress Boulevard and Jamestown Avenue is a popular shortcut from Perkins Road to College Drive. People walk through this intersection, often going to and from Congress Boulevard Park. Drivers speed through, even though several years ago 3-way stop signs and a cross walk were installed. Can we get a caution light at this intersection?

ANSWER: Partenheimer says, “The old flashing beacons were considered for several problematic pedestrian areas around town; however, because the flashing beacons are static and constantly flash, they tend to become part of the background and drivers will subconsciously ignore them.

“A new product which the Federal Highway Administration has given the nod to is called a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon. It operates only when a pedestrian pushes a button. And unlike the signs installed in the roadway reminding drivers of the ‘State Law Yield to Pedestrians…,’ the beacons are harder to run over. (We have had several of these signs run over at this location, costing the taxpayers a lot of money.)

“The RRFBs should be installed prior to the end of the year. Also we’ll make sure that the crosswalk is added to the list for re-striping.”

To learn more about the beacons, follow this link at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov.

TALK TO US

Send questions to Ask The Advocate, 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810; or fax to Ask The Advocate, (225) 388-0371; or email asktheadvocate@theadvocate.com.