If North Oak Hills Parkway is any example, Baton Rouge will never have streets that are safe for pedestrians, bicycle riders and the handicapped.

North Oak Hills Parkway should be a great route for pedestrians and bike riders. Its sidewalks connect to the newly expanded Siegen Lane, which has sidewalks and a new traffic signal at North Oak Hills. But the new pedestrian crossing signals control crossing the low-speed, two-lane North Oak Hills, not the high-speed six lanes on Siegen Lane.

Despite all the money spent, walkers and bike riders still have to risk their lives to cross Siegen Lane to reach Village St. George and the BREC Highland Road Regional Park on the other side.

Village St. George does have sidewalks, but the new Siegen Lane sidewalks don’t connect to them. Of course, you could go in the other direction down North Oak Hills to the BREC Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center and the Bluebonnet Regional Library. Or, at least you could, if the public servitude of passage connecting the two halves of North Oak Hills Parkway had not been blocked off by a locked private fence.

It demonstrates the folly of not requiring the developer to dedicate a right of way with sidewalks and a bikeway to connect the streets as the residents wanted.

Then there is the issue of handicap access. The new Siegen Lane has handicap accessible sidewalks, but the crosswalk controls can’t be reached from the sidewalks and the high curbs at sidewalk-street intersections along North Oak Hills block handicap access to Siegen Lane.

Many of the curbs could have been converted to handicap-accessible crossings since they are being replaced as part of the installation of a new sewer force main, but they aren’t. They are being built back as high curbs — your tax money at work building inferior infrastructure for pedestrians, bike riders and the handicapped.

Mattie Coxe

environmental manager

Baton Rouge