Better Block BR attendees like crosswalks, sidewalks and clean walkway under overpass, CPEX says

The addition of sidewalks and crosswalks to Perkins Road near the overpass was a hit among attendees of The Center for Planning Excellence’s Better Block BR event this past weekend, CPEX officials say.

Participants confided that the sidewalks and crosswalks created a safer walking and cycling atmosphere in the oft-traveled corridor of businesses, bars and bistros.

Camille Manning-Broome, senior vice president for planning and implementation at CPEX, says the crosswalks marked with signs and flashing lights to help increase driver awareness of pedestrians in the area were viewed favorably, as was the clean walkway under the Perkins Road overpass. Some told CPEX they would like to see the pathway paved and lit.

“Additionally, the feedback we got from merchants was overwhelmingly positive—they saw a sharp increase in foot traffic this weekend over a typical weekend,” Manning-Broome says.

Neal Hendrick, owner of Zippy’s Burritos, Tacos, and More on Perkins Road, says he did not hear one negative comment from anyone who attended and saw more visitors than usual.

“People came out in large numbers and walked from one end to the other,” Hendrick says.

He adds that he and others will push for the city to implement the changes, like the sidewalks and crosswalks, as well as add more lighting around the overpass area.

CPEX officials worked with city-parish workers to add temporary safety features over the weekend to the heavily traveled part of Perkins Road that includes the ’Dales neighborhood and a plethora of businesses to demonstrate what a few enhancements could bring to the area.

Access management, traffic congestion, landscaping, and bike and pedestrian infrastructure were the main components of the Better Block.

CPEX officials will compile the feedback and draft a procedural report on the event to hand off to the neighborhoods, city-parish officials, the Credit Bureau of Baton Rouge, the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors and the National Associations of Realtors. The latter three helped fund the Better Block through a $20,000 grant.

—Ryan Broussard

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