Removing portion of Midway Connector from street plan will be heard next month

The removal of a portion of the Midway Connector, a road that would link Anselmo Lane and Picardy Avenue, from the Major Street Plan was deferred from the Baton Rouge Planning Commission last week due to debate about whether the street is needed.

The Messina family, who owns the property that the connector would run through, applied for the removal of the road from the plan, but Baton Rouge General has taken an opposing stance.

About two years ago, after asking for the road segment to be removed, the Messinas were told the road would stop at Picardy, says Phil Jeansonne, the Messinas’ real estate agent. After a group of doctors made an offer on the property a few weeks ago, the family realized that was not the case.

The Department of Transportation and Drainage also wrote a letter to the Planning Commission in support of removing the segment from the Major Street Plan in March.

The DOTD began construction of the connector from Picardy to Constantin Boulevard, reads the letter, which is signed by director Fred Raiford, but after studying the proposed road, decided development south of Picardy wasn’t needed.

The proposed segment would require construction of an underpass beneath the Kansas City Southern rail line, the letter reads, which would be a costly project. The proposed road is also located between Essen Lane and Bluebonnet Boulevard, both of which will be upgraded and widened as a part of the MovEBR program.

But the contested Midway Connector segment is also a part of the MovEBR plan. The start of the Midway’s construction is a big step toward better access and less traffic congestion for patients at Baton Rouge General, says Katie Johnston, the hospital’s communications manager.

Baton Rouge General is interested in constructing the segment, says Metro Council member Laurie Adams, who deferred the item from the commission, because it believes the road would assist in moving traffic around the hospital. She thinks the physician group that wants to purchase the property plans to build an office on the property.

Jeansonne is skeptical that the road would help Health District traffic woes.

“I’m not sure how this would lead traffic from Picardy to Anselmo or any other place,” Jeansonne says.

Adams deferred so that both the hospital and the group interested in buying the property could get on the same page, she says.

A representative for the physicians group and Fred Raiford could not be reached for comment by publication deadline.