Monday, May 23, 2016

The Evangeline Thruway did NOT split our neighborhoods!

Let's look at the actual history of Lafayette. The railroad has been an important part of our city's development. By 1885, Lafayette had a full fledged railroad, and significant freight was shipping from Lafayette by train in the 1890s.  New residences were constructed as the railroad developed. However, the presence of the rail yard limited the connection between communities on its two sides. It was not until 1964, after the rail yard was moved to its current location between Willow and Cameron Streets, that multiple connections between the east and west were established. It was not until the 1960s, for example, that Johnston Street was extended to meet Louisiana Avenue across the abandoned yard.

So, when paid Connector proponents tell you that they are reconnecting our city, remind them that currently more than 30 streets connect east to west across the Thruway. None of the plans for the urban interstate development maintain this level of connectivity, much less increase it.
Reference: C. Ray Brassieur, Lionel Lyles, Michael S. Martinc, Freetown: As it was and as it is, The Freetown History Project Final Report, November 30, 2013, available at

Sanborn overview map, 1940-1949.

Hazardous Cargo in Downtown Lafayette: A Very Bad Idea

Many communities take the prudent step of limiting hazardous carriers from urban interstates. Photo:
Risk results from a combination of the hazard associated with a substance, and the probability of exposure to the public. Many communities reduce public risk by routing hazardous truck cargo along less populated routes which bypass more urban areas. Unfortunately, the added risk of hazardous transport moving at interstate speeds above or adjacent to downtown Lafayette has been ignored by DOTD and our city planners. The prudent approach that minimizes public risk is to first build a bypass route for I-49 around our dense urban core and downtown area. Only after a suitable hazardous material route is available should an urban interstate be discussed.