Workers have begun installing bollards on some downtown Lafayette streets that will allow the city to temporarily prohibit automobile traffic during events.
The bollard project is designed to improve safety downtown during large-scale events like Festival International de Louisiane and smaller public events like Downtown Alive and ArtWalk by facilitating pedestrian and bicycle traffic in areas where automobile traffic will be prohibited temporarily.
The bollards also should help police close streets during evenings when downtown bars and clubs are busy.
A bollard is a thick, low post, usually of iron or steel, used to direct traffic. The name comes from the posts on wharfs to which mooring lines from vessels are attached. The design of the bollards makes them easier to use than barricades and more visually appealing.
The first removable bollards are being installed by Lafayette's traffic, roads and bridges workers starting with the intersection of Jefferson and East Congress streets.
Bollards are expected to be installed during Phase 1 that could temporarily stop traffic:
- On Jefferson from Cypress to Garfield streets, leaving Cypress street open.
- On Jefferson from Garfield to Congress streets, blocking cross-traffic on Garfield and Congress.
- On Jefferson from Congress to Vermilion street.
- On Jefferson from Vermilion to Convent street, with Convent remaining open to cross-traffic.
- On West Main at Jefferson Street.
- On Vermilion at Buchanan Street.
- On Vermilion at Polk Street.
- On Garfield at Polk Street.
- On Garfield at Lee, leaving Lee open.
- On Vermilion at Lee, leaving Lee open.
There are plans to install additional bollards during a later phase when funding is available.
The $250,000 bollards are being funded with money allocated to the city of Lafayete through the federal American Rescue Plan Act approved to help local governments regain some of the revenue lost during the COVID pandemic.
The city and parish together received $85.5 million in ARPA money. In August of 2021, the councils removed all funding for the projects Mayor-President Josh Guillory had proposed, suggesting at least some of the money should be used to aid the jobless, homeless and those financially harmed by the pandemic.
Guillory vetoed their action and the councils voted to restore funding to seven city projects, using $22 million of the $38.25 million the city was awarded in ARPA funds.
The city's ARPA funds also are being used for:
- Downtown drainage, $12.5 million.
- Citywide drainage, $5.2 million.
- Downtown lighting improvements, $2.5 million.
- Downtown sidewalk infrastructure , ADA improvements, $1 million.
- Downtown Sidewalk Infrastructure, ADA improvements phase II, $500,000.
- Downtown police precinct, $50,000.