CPEX, city-parish planning streetscape improvements on Perkins Road near overpass

More trees, lighting and crosswalks could be coming to Perkins Road near the overpass as part of a proposed project to spruce up the streetscape along the popular stretch of restaurants, bars and shops.

The Center for Planning Excellence is working with city-parish traffic engineers to improve the traffic flow there while also making it safer for pedestrians on and around that stretch of Perkins.

“We love the area and it’s already a really vibrant place, and it needs just a little help to be a more vibrant, easier to get around spot,” says Lauren Marschall, a project manager for CPEX. “And we know the city is interested in doing improvements.”

The project is in the early planning stages and certain aspects could still change, but preliminary plans call for adding more trees and flowers along Perkins, adding on-street parking and more crosswalks, putting more lighting around the overpass and increasing the wattage on the lights under Interstate 10.

The addition of the trees and flowers would not only improve the aesthetics of the area, but also help to differentiate where parking spots are versus where pedestrians can walk, Marschall says.

Ingolf Partenheimer, chief traffic engineer for the city-parish, says the project is still in the design phase and he still has to get approval from his boss to move forward. Partenheimer walked the area with CPEX officials last week to get their vision for the project.

“A lot of the stuff they’re proposing are in line with what we’re looking at,” Partenheimer says.

CPEX is planning to hold a demonstration similar to the Better Block presentation on Government Street a few years ago to show off the road diet plans. The Perkins Road demonstration is tentatively set for April 23-24 between Christian Street and Hollydale Avenue.

CPEX and Partenheimer are also meeting with area business owners twice between today and Tuesday to answer questions about how the streetscape would affect them and make sure they are on board with the date of the demonstration. Marschall says she invited about 30 business owners.

CPEX met with some of the business owners in November to gauge their interest in improving traffic and parking.

Some of the proposed improvements will come to fruition before the April demonstration. Partenheimer says he is waiting for the elusive mix of temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and no rain to lay down some crosswalks on Hollydale and Ferndale avenues. He is also looking to see if similar improve

ments could be done to the area on the other side of the overpass.

—Ryan Broussard

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