Here are a few simple suggestions to solve most of East Baton Rouge’s transportation problems.
Continue widening Airline Highway to six or seven lanes, from Highland Road north to Scenic Highway, at a cost of $75 million (12 miles) as opposed to a proposed $1 billion toll road. Adding just one lane to each side doubled Airline’s capacity from Florida Boulevard to Cedarcrest Road past the Bluebonnet/Coursey intersections several years ago.
Connect Interstate 12 to Florida Boulevard at Denham Springs via Range Road at Rushing Road/4H Club Road, widening it from two lanes to four lanes, divided, at a cost of $18 million, as opposed to an unwanted proposed north loop at $1.7 billion.
Replace the Washington Street exit with a new southbound Terrace Street/Washington Street exit. Merge a new Dalrymple Road eastbound onramp with the existing Washington Street eastbound ramp. Cost is only $3 million. The claim by the consultants that only 425 feet would be gained by closing Washington is not exactly correct. They are not including over 175 feet each on the north and south of the 425 feet, leaving almost 800 feet to merge.
The total cost of the improvements above is under $100 million, as opposed to nearly $3 billion.
For 90 percent of CATS buses, they have zero to four passengers per bus. A 12-passenger Mercedes-Benz bus cost at base price is $39,000 and gets 17 miles per gallon, as opposed to almost-empty CATS 40-passenger buses at $450,000 getting only 7 miles per gallon. Fuel savings alone would pay for new buses.
CATS taxed and doubled revenue three years ago. CATS apparently has the same or less riders but now wants another $11 million annually, on top of the $11 million raise they just received.
It’s astonishing that the simple-to-fix, but ski-slope-like bumps on College Drive, by the Chick-fil-A and Waffle House, have not been fixed in five years. The city is responsible for this road, not the state or federal government.
Coleman D. Brown