The second Better Block demonstration will be held Saturday and Sunday at the Perkins Road Overpass.
The project will transform the portion of Perkins between Christian Street and Prince Place into a pedestrian-friendly demonstration with landscaping, pop-up parks, crosswalks and interactive artwork. The first Better Block was held three years ago along a section of Government Street.
The Perkins Overpass was selected for the demonstration because it has been identified as a corridor that should apply a complete streets approach, which encourages streets designed for all users and all kinds of transportation, said Camille Manning-Broome, a senior vice president with the Center for Planning Excellence. Last year, AARP commissioned a complete street study of the area.
“Given the interest and momentum from these two efforts, CPEX reached out to area residents and businesses to gauge the interest in conducting a Better Block to demonstrate what it could be,” Manning-Broome said.
The Perkins Road Overpass is a popular section of Baton Rouge, with a host of locally owned businesses. In recent years, the area has seen new businesses, such as The Overpass Merchant gastropub, City Pork, Crispy Catch and Our Hardware store.
Along with the demonstrations, businesses in the area will have a range of events all weekend, including free yoga classes at The Big Squeezy juice bar, live music at Rock-n-Sake, a pop-up art gallery at Moreau Physical Therapy and discounts at restaurants.
The goal is to let the public know exactly what infrastructure improvements could mean to an area like the Perkins Road Overpass. Public comments will be collected and passed to elected officials.
Stephen Bonnette, director of the city-parish Department of Transportation and Drainage, said the Perkins event will build on momentum from the previous Better Block demonstration. “Beyond modeling Complete Street concepts for the public, Better Block projects provide invaluable community feedback so that we can see which elements work that we can use to shape our planning, engineering and construction decisions going forward,” Bonnette said.
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