The launch of a long-anticipated bike share program this week is not the only recent development to suggest Baton Rouge is becoming more bike friendly.
Beginning Tuesday, construction crews will install bike rails on the steps near the LASM Planetarium leading up to the top of the downtown levee. The rails will enable cyclists to more easily and safely walk their bikes from River Road, over the railroad tracks, to the top of the levee, which has a paved multiuse path running from Hollywood Casino near the State Capitol nearly five miles to BREC’s Farr Park.
Currently, cyclists who want to access the multiuse path have to either walk their bikes up the grassy levee incline or carry them up the stairs.
The rails are a joint project of the Downtown Development District and the city-parish and will cost less than $6,000 to install. The money will come from DDD carry-forward funds that were dedicated to riverfront improvements.
Installation of the rails is expected to take just a couple of days and should be completed by Thursday.
Additionally, the city-parish is expected to soon resume construction to extend the multiuse path an additional eight miles from Farr Park to L’Auberge Casino.
The paving work began earlier this year but was halted when the Mississippi River rose to dangerously high levels.
Funds for that project came from the state Department of Transportation and Development as part of the roads transfer program, under which municipalities receive money in return for taking over maintenance of certain state roadways.
When completed, perhaps as soon as this fall, the multiuse path will run 13.2 miles between the Hollywood and L’Auberge casinos.
Though the two projects are relatively small in the scheme of things, they represent a significant improvement to the cycling infrastructure of a city that suffers from gridlock and has been slow to embrace alternative modes of transportation.
“We are committed to make the downtown area bike- and pedestrian-friendly,” says DDD Executive Director Davis Rhorer. “This dovetails well with the hundreds of new residents as well as convenient means to visit out natural and cultural attractions. The bike trails on the levee trails offer incredible views and destination points.”