It was encouraging to hear that the city is finally installing a sidewalk and multi-use path on Gardere Lane. But I was also saddened to hear why: There have been several deaths from pedestrians and cyclists being hit by cars on that street in recent years.
Here’s a thought: Why don’t we try to make streets safe for those not in cars BEFORE people are killed? Is that really what it takes to get a sidewalk built? Multiple deaths? That’s pathetic and embarrassing.
It’s not a coincidence that Baton Rouge consistently ranks as one of the worst mid-sized U.S. cities when it comes to traffic and obesity. It’s not a coincidence that our city has countless major thoroughfares that don’t even have sidewalks, much less bike lanes, as well as a high rate of pedestrian and cyclist injuries and deaths.
Next time you’re driving east on Perkins Road between College and Essen, notice the two ghost bikes on the side of the road that mark where cyclists have been hit and killed in recent years. Then, notice the lack of pedestrian and biking infrastructure. Are we not smart enough to put two and two together? Or do we, as a city, just not care?
How bad must traffic get before we realize that we should consider alternatives to driving? How collectively obese must we get before we realize that maybe we should incentivize walking and biking? How many people have to die before we consider making our streets safe a priority?
information systems worker