Public invited to planning workshops this week for TramLink BR along Nicholson corridor

As plans move forward for TramLink BR, the streetcar line planned for the Nicholson Corridor between LSU and downtown, the public is being asked to participate in a series of workshops to help determine future development and land use along the proposed 3.4-mile route.

The meetings will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, and will be led by renowned planner John Fregonese, whose Portland, Oregon-based firm is working with the city-parish on the project.

“It’s an exercise to study the route and members of the public are encouraged to weigh in on the types of things they’d like to see developed along the route,” says Davis Rhorer, executive director of the Downtown Development District. “It’s all moving along very quickly and we’re starting to hone in on the details so that is what these workshops are about.”

TramLink BR is technically still in the early planning stages. Its exact route hasn’t been finalized, though route specifics are expected to be released in the next couple of weeks.

Federal funding for construction of the project has not yet been committed, but federal officials— who will be footing most of the estimated $100 million bill—have been extremely enthusiastic about TramLink’s chances for ultimately getting funded. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has said he is committed to the project and wants to see it included in next year’s federal budget.

“It is very seldom a project has this much support from multiple levels of government,” says Mike Bruce, whose firm, Stantec, is a consultant on the project. “It is unusually optimistic for a project of this magnitude to have this much support at this early stage.”

Now, the city-parish has to complete several steps in the planning process, including environmental impact and engineering studies. The land-use planning workshops are part of the planning process. Meetings will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the McKinley Alumni Center, 1520 Thomas H. Delpit Dr., and from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Louisiana Art and Science Museum Downtown.

—Stephanie Riegel

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