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Author Topic: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)  (Read 52663 times)

Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #75 on: January 02, 2016, 01:32:29 AM »

Isn't the Marsha Sharp Freeway mostly at-grade w/ depressed interchanges, though? I will say that TXDOT did a great job there of integrating the freeway with the neighborhoods. That's pretty much what Lafayette is shooting for with the Connector freeway.

The Marsha Sharp is not at-grade at all, Milwaukee Ave was an at-grade intersection that served as the ending of the Marsha Sharp and where the Brownfield Highway started, but now that the Milwaukee overpass has opened up the Marsha Sharp designation continues to Upland Ave, where there is currently an overpass and frontage roads being built.  After that overpass is built, then the Marsha Sharp Freeway name will be extended along the current Wolfforth bypass to Loop 193 where another overpass/interchange is about to be built.

As for the depressed portion of the freeway, it is only from just west of Ave Q to just southwest of 19th St.  It is only depressed there because it goes right by Jones Stadium and through the Texas Tech campus, and as far as I know, the University had wanted the Brownfield Highway/Tech "Freeway" to be upgraded to a depressed corridor to not be an eyesore.  By depressing the freeway, they purposely cut Indiana Ave, which is a major north-south street, in order to stop traffic from crossing through the center of campus.  To balance things, they created Tech Parkway to route the traffic west then north to go through the west side of campus and provide better connections to the UMC hospital.  3 pedestrian bridges were built to span the depressed freeway to facilitate movement across the corridor to the off campus student housing, museum, and hospital on the north side of the freeway.

Depressing the Connector in Lafayette would be more aesthetically pleasing option if done like the Marsha Sharp, but as it has been said, that is not an ideal method due to how much it rains in Louisiana.  The depressed portion of the Marsha Sharp has flooded with many feet of water, many times, and this is in semi-arid west Texas where we barely get any rain.  No amount of water pumps can keep up with torrential rains.

In Lafayette, the current railroad underpasses at Jefferson Blvd. and N. University Avenue have pumps, and they flood frequently during heavy rains. Though, those pumps are over 20 years old.

Newer and more powerful pumps would be built at the points where major streets would be depressed to pass under the Connector freeway and BNSF/UP railline at the Second/Third and Johnston interchanges and the section under Simcoe Street. The Jefferson pumps would be upgraded as well.

The risk of flooding during a hurricane evac was the primary reason the depressed/capped freeway option was rejected for the Connector freeway.

Quote
Maybe once the highway is built, they could paint trees on it like they did on Interstate 10 in New Orleans. As an alternative, maybe they could put other things on the roadway that represent Lafayette.

My personal idea: Make the supports look like crawfish. So we would have a row of crawfish holding up the highway.

I really like this option and see the potential for it to be a work of art for the city that means something to it.  There is a viaduct on the Marsha Sharp that goes from just east of Ave Q to just west of I-27 on the north-side of downtown and its burgeoning Arts District that has been painted up and has sculptural art in-between the eastbound frontage road and the embankment for the western start of the viaduct.  I think that the elevated option, if done correctly with some artful design, could be the best option for Lafayette purely because of what I have seen in Lubbock with its consistently expanding economy.

The question is, if the connector was built through the center of Lafayette, would the city be able to design an aesthetically pleasing elevated structure and redevelop the land around it to integrate it into the fabric of the city positively?  I know most of the fears surrounding an elevated freeway are that it will divide and be an eyesore, but that would not be true with the proper planning and development.

That's the entire reason why the Connector Corridor Study was launched and was awarded the TIGER grant, and why Context Sensitive Solutions design was essentially baked into the design and development process from the very beginning. Even the I-49 Corridor Preservation and Management Plan that was passed as a condition of the approval of the 2003 EIS/ROD specifically dictates that aesthetics and redevelopment of the surrounding neighborhoods within the corridor be directly integrated into the final design and construction.

As for the crawfish supports? Well, when the initial design study begin in 2008, there actually was a rendering of how the supports for the freeway could be designed in the form of "cartydids". Though, it was rejected in favor of simply embedding crawfish design into more traditional support structures. Perhaps they may make a comeback this time around.
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qguy

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #76 on: January 02, 2016, 02:36:19 PM »

…"cartydids"…

Are you sure you don't mean caryatid? It's a classical architectural element.

A caryatid (pronounced "CARE-ee-uh-tid" or "care-ee-AT-id"; either is acceptable but the former is usually heard) is a column or support shaped to look like a figure holding up whatever is overhead. It can be load-bearing itself or a decorative element in front of a load-bearing member (a column, say). They are classically shaped like human figures, usually female, but can be anything.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #77 on: January 02, 2016, 02:58:31 PM »

Thanks, qguy...that's what I meant to say.  :sombrero: :sombrero: :sombrero:


Crawfish caryatids would look pretty cool at the Simcoe Street/Jefferson Blvd. undercrossings of the Connector, I'd think.
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silverback1065

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #78 on: January 03, 2016, 04:41:55 PM »

…"cartydids"…

Are you sure you don't mean caryatid? It's a classical architectural element.

A caryatid (pronounced "CARE-ee-uh-tid" or "care-ee-AT-id"; either is acceptable but the former is usually heard) is a column or support shaped to look like a figure holding up whatever is overhead. It can be load-bearing itself or a decorative element in front of a load-bearing member (a column, say). They are classically shaped like human figures, usually female, but can be anything.

When I read that, I thought of the insect katydid.
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qguy

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #79 on: January 04, 2016, 06:16:05 AM »

Crawfish caryatids would look pretty cool...

Yes they would. :nod:
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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #80 on: January 09, 2016, 11:21:41 AM »

Isn't the Marsha Sharp Freeway mostly at-grade w/ depressed interchanges, though? I will say that TXDOT did a great job there of integrating the freeway with the neighborhoods. That's pretty much what Lafayette is shooting for with the Connector freeway.
Depressing the Connector in Lafayette would be more aesthetically pleasing option if done like the Marsha Sharp, but as it has been said, that is not an ideal method due to how much it rains in Louisiana.
Maybe once the highway is built, they could paint trees on it like they did on Interstate 10 in New Orleans. As an alternative, maybe they could put other things on the roadway that represent Lafayette.
My personal idea: Make the supports look like crawfish. So we would have a row of crawfish holding up the highway.
I really like this option and see the potential for it to be a work of art for the city that means something to it.  There is a viaduct on the Marsha Sharp that goes from just east of Ave Q to just west of I-27 on the north-side of downtown and its burgeoning Arts District that has been painted up and has sculptural art in-between the eastbound frontage road and the embankment for the western start of the viaduct.  I think that the elevated option, if done correctly with some artful design, could be the best option for Lafayette purely because of what I have seen in Lubbock with its consistently expanding economy.

At the risk of going slightly OT, TxDOT has posted a NOTICE AFFORDING AN OPPORTUNITY FOR PUBLIC HEARING regarding the proposed widening of the Marsha Sharp Freeway in order to cover the social, economic and environmental effects of the proposed location and design for this project:

Quote
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is proposing to widen the Marsha Sharp Freeway from 2,400 feet east of W. Loop 289 to Avenue L in Lubbock, Texas. The total distance of the proposed project is approximately 5.5 miles ....
All interested persons may request a public hearing covering the social, economic and environmental effects of the proposed location and design for this project. Requests for the public hearing must be submitted in writing on or before February 12, 2016, to the TxDOT District Office, Mr. Doug Eichorst, P.E., District Engineer, 135 Slaton Road, Lubbock, TX 79404.

I'm not sure if the potential impacts of this particular Marsha Sharp Freeway project have much applicability to the Lafayette Connector, but I suppose the possibility exists that the folks in Lafayette could glean some useful information from it.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #81 on: January 09, 2016, 01:13:29 PM »


At the risk of going slightly OT, TxDOT has posted a NOTICE AFFORDING AN OPPORTUNITY FOR PUBLIC HEARING regarding the proposed widening of the Marsha Sharp Freeway in order to cover the social, economic and environmental effects of the proposed location and design for this project:

Quote
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is proposing to widen the Marsha Sharp Freeway from 2,400 feet east of W. Loop 289 to Avenue L in Lubbock, Texas. The total distance of the proposed project is approximately 5.5 miles ....
All interested persons may request a public hearing covering the social, economic and environmental effects of the proposed location and design for this project. Requests for the public hearing must be submitted in writing on or before February 12, 2016, to the TxDOT District Office, Mr. Doug Eichorst, P.E., District Engineer, 135 Slaton Road, Lubbock, TX 79404.

I'm not sure if the potential impacts of this particular Marsha Sharp Freeway project have much applicability to the Lafayette Connector, but I suppose the possibility exists that the folks in Lafayette could glean some useful information from it.

Since this MSF project only involves adding a lane in each direction within the median of the existing highway, probably not applicable to the Connector project.
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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #82 on: January 25, 2016, 07:51:12 PM »

Maybe once the highway is built, they could paint trees on it like they did on Interstate 10 in New Orleans. As an alternative, maybe they could put other things on the roadway that represent Lafayette.
My personal idea: Make the supports look like crawfish. So we would have a row of crawfish holding up the highway.
I really like this option and see the potential for it to be a work of art for the city that means something to it.
Crawfish caryatids would look pretty cool at the Simcoe Street/Jefferson Blvd. undercrossings of the Connector, I'd think.

This article includes a photo of materials from a recent meeting that includes crawfish-claw themed bridge supports:

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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #83 on: January 26, 2016, 04:19:47 AM »

The actual text of that article (by Claire Taylor) cited concerns about how the first workshop didn't allow for consistent feedback from the public due to time constraints.


http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2016/01/24/dotd-needs-answer-questions--49-connector-before-asking-them/79268370/


I fear that this will only fuel the opposition to the project. DOTD and FHWA need to step up and answer the legitimate questions right now so that momentum doesn't swing against them.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #84 on: February 02, 2016, 01:04:40 AM »

An interesting turn of events yesterday...


The background of all this is a story done by Claire Taylor in Friday's Lafayette Daily Advertiser where she details the possible impact of the Connector freeway on a former railyard site that has been the subject of possible hazardous waste contamination.

http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2016/01/29/does--49-connector-pose-environmental-risks/78804634/?from=global&sessionKey=&autologin=


The former rail yard property is located on the east side of what is now the BNSF/UP rail line bordered by Sixth Street, Chestnut Street, and Johnston Street Johnston Street, the southbound Evangeline Thruway, the current railroad ROW, and Taft Street, and is now split between abandoned open space and a group of warehouse facilities.


The main risks are that the pilings that would be drilled for the elevated sections of the Connector between Johnston St. and where the freeway would rejoin the Evangeline Thruway  near Taft Street could penetrate the clay layer protecting the aquifier water table, potentially contaminating the water supply for the city.

The 2003 Record of Decision did take into account that potential, calling for more detailed tests and a possible mitigation plan for cleaning up the site and reducing the risk of contamination. However, that has not abetted the concerns of residents, and it is the prime issue for those who are opposed to the freeway's current alignment and pushing for an alternative bypass like the Teche Ridge alternative through St. Martin Parish.

Indeed, today, some people decided that they didn't wait to wait for LADOTD to take action...they've acted on their own with their own lawsuit to force Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF, along with other owners of the property included, to immediately pay for a full cleanup of the property.

The story -- also in the Advertiser -- can be found here:

http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2016/02/01/breaking-lawsuit-filed-over--49-lafayette-connector/79638738/

It should be noted that LADOTD is not a party to or a defendant in this suit, nor are any of the plaintiffs openly challenging the Connector corridor; their focus is rather on getting the accused parties to pay for remediation immediately. The suit does not seek to change the alignment of the corridor (the misleading headline nothwithstanding).

Personally, I wholeheartedly agree with this action...if cleaning up the former rail yard site accelerates the construction of the Connector, than I'm all for it.


BTW....the Advertiser does have a limit on free viewings of their articles before their paywall kicks in, so be forewarned.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2016, 10:55:51 AM by Anthony_JK »
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #85 on: February 06, 2016, 09:40:28 AM »


Welp...it didn't take long, didn't it?


Two opponents of the Connector freeway project just got published an Opinion piece in the Advertiser where they explicitly state their opposition to the project, and calls for a combination of the Teche Ridge bypass and a redevelopment of the existing Evangeline Thruway as a "complete streets" boulevard.


They repeat all of the memes that Teche Ridge partisans promote: that TR would cost "half as much" as the Connector and be built in "half the time"; that "local taxpayers" would bear the full brunt of mitigating the impacts of the Connector freeway; and that a bypass would redress the "destruction" that urban freeways have wreaked (they quote the "devastation" of Baton Rouge and New Orleans as examples).


Naturally, I posted a comment or three attempting to refute this nonsense this morning (click on the bubble marked "Comment" to view them), and I've also posted a Letter to the Editor (currently under review) doing the same.


Someone has to speak the truth, right?
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silverback1065

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #86 on: February 06, 2016, 09:17:45 PM »


Welp...it didn't take long, didn't it?


Two opponents of the Connector freeway project just got published an Opinion piece in the Advertiser where they explicitly state their opposition to the project, and calls for a combination of the Teche Ridge bypass and a redevelopment of the existing Evangeline Thruway as a "complete streets" boulevard.


They repeat all of the memes that Teche Ridge partisans promote: that TR would cost "half as much" as the Connector and be built in "half the time"; that "local taxpayers" would bear the full brunt of mitigating the impacts of the Connector freeway; and that a bypass would redress the "destruction" that urban freeways have wreaked (they quote the "devastation" of Baton Rouge and New Orleans as examples).


Naturally, I posted a comment or three attempting to refute this nonsense this morning (click on the bubble marked "Comment" to view them), and I've also posted a Letter to the Editor (currently under review) doing the same.


Someone has to speak the truth, right?

I facepalm every time i hear the phrase "replace the interstate with a boulevard" same old song and dance from the "new urbanists"
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #87 on: February 06, 2016, 09:44:46 PM »


I facepalm every time i hear the phrase "replace the interstate with a boulevard" same old song and dance from the "new urbanists"

To be fair, this isn't replacing an freeway with a boulevard, but moving a proposed freeway elsewhere while building a new bypass to replace it. But, it's pretty much the same mentality.

Strangely enough, the Connector Functional Study now ongoing includes ideas about making the surface segment of the Evangeline Thruway into a "Complete Streets" corridor, reduced from 3 to 2 lanes in each direction, and integrating pedestrian and bicycle access along with greenspace and joint use within the elevated sections.  It's even possible to make the segment of the Thruway not covered under the freeway footprint (between Simcoe Street and Fourteenth/Taft Streets into an actual boulevard (now, it's a one-way couplet) and redevelop it to fit into the neighborhoods.

But, so much easier to play NIMBY, right?
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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #88 on: February 11, 2016, 04:02:07 PM »

I've also posted a Letter to the Editor (currently under review) ...
Someone has to speak the truth, right?

And The Advertiser can handle the truth:

http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/opinion/2016/02/11/voices--49-opponents-not-looking-facts/80242042/

Quote
Once again, opponents of the Interstate 49 connector are pitching the same old tired argument that this project would be a major disaster. Just like 15 years ago, when they sued and lost. They claim that a bypass alignment like the Teche Ridge alternative through St. Martin Parish would be more efficient, "costs less" and avoid the displacements and "eyesore" that the connector would apparently impose on Lafayette.

And, just like before, they are simply not looking at the facts.

Teche Ridge is simply not the most cost-effective means of reconnecting I-49 South with existing I-49. It doesn't resolve the basic issue that the primary users of the Evangeline Thruway are not bypassing Lafayette, but serving the major traffic destinations within the city (downtown, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the Lafayette Regional Airport, to name just three). Most heavy traffic will continue to use the Thruway even if Teche Ridge is built, which would make it essentially a glorified "road to nowhere". Merely converting it into a "urban boulevard" just for the sake of beauty will not change that fact.

In addition, with the ongoing and scheduled upgrades to US 90 just south of Lafayette (the Albertsons' Parkway interchange now under construction, and the Ambassador Caffery Parkway, Young Street, and Verot School Road interchanges now in the design stage), any diversion of proposed I-49 other than through the Connector freeway/US 90 corridor would be redundant and wasteful.

As for the "elevated freeways are innate eyesores" argument, some may be, due to lack of care in design and integrating the facility with the surrounding neighborhood. But that is exactly what Lafayette is attempting to fight against with their current design/functionality study, and the full commitments to better design are built into the current design process. It would be much better if these efforts were supported rather than opposed on "NIMBY" or anti-freeway bias.

Finally, on the issue of the Chicot Aquifer. It is not an issue of if the rail yard property will be cleaned up, since that will be required as part of construction of the Connector in any case. There are provisions in place to protect the aquifer from contamination, and I'm sure that LADOTD will do everything possible to protect the drinking water supply.

The connector project is still the best means of finishing I-49 South through Lafayette, and it should be supported, while the legitimate concerns of residents and neighborhoods should be resolved through the current process. Don't let the naysayers and NIMBYs destroy years of progress. The best route between Carencro and the airport does not go through Breaux Bridge.

Anthony Kennerson

Opelousas

Kudos to Anthony!
« Last Edit: February 11, 2016, 04:47:31 PM by Grzrd »
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #89 on: February 12, 2016, 12:36:53 AM »

Damn. Beat me to it, Grzz. I'm not hating.  :poke: :poke: :poke:


Kind of not so happy with the way the Advertiser chopped up my Op-Ed with the short syntax, but I guess that had to fit their editorial policy. But, they posted it, and that's all that counts.


Last time back in 2003 when I posted a similar article, I got a personal phone call from one of the Connector opponents (RIP, Kelly Caldwell) berating me. Let's see what happens this time.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #90 on: February 12, 2016, 12:54:20 AM »

A bit of more detail, y'all, on the wack argument for Teche Ridge being built "half as long for half the costs":


As part of their 2003 lawsuit against the FHWA and LADOTD, the main anti-Connector group Concerned Citizens of Lafayette had put out a brief detailing their objections to the Connector Final Environmental Impact Statement, and listed their objections in that brief to the Final EIS that was posted in the ultimate 2003 Record of Decision, along with responses from FHWA/DOTD. I recently found the text of the ROD with both the CC's brief and the FHWA response, and it's quite illuminating.


First, here's how the CCL defends Teche Ridge:







For retrospect, here's a graph from the Acadiana Advocate showing roughly the Teche Ridge alignment:







And, here's how the FHWA/DOTD knocked CCL out of the park.





Remember, this includes both the Connector freeway AND the upgrade of US 90 south of there to LA 88...which is currently either in the design or construction stage. And, the $601 million figure for Teche Ridge is in 2003 USD$; extrapolate to 2015 and include ROW, engineering, and environmental mitigation costs, and you're easily north of $1 billion....pretty much the current costs of the Connector and US 90 upgrade to LA 88 combined.

But, "We can build Teche Ridge half as sooner for half the costs"?? MY. ASS.

Of course, the original feasibility study done for Teche Ridge by St. Martin Parish (paid for through surplus profits from the casinos there) has never been released to the public, neither then nor today. Gee, I wonder why??


Oh..and the 2003 ROD is available through both the Lafayette MPO and Connector (click on the "Historical Documents" toolbar) webpages.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 01:13:16 AM by Anthony_JK »
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #91 on: February 22, 2016, 10:49:46 AM »

Another significant development just discovered today....the Acadiana Advocate has an article this morning on some Lafayette city officials submitting an alternative design for the I-49 Connector freeway that would address their concerns about the currently proposed design.


Their new proposal would eliminate entirely the two downtown interchanges at Second/Third Streets and Johnston Streets, and also fully elevate the freeway at the maximum 22" height throughout the downtown area. The original proposal would have lowered the freeway to nearly grade level between Jefferson St. and Johnston St, and lowered Second/Third and Johnston St pass underneath the BNSF/UP railline.


The new plan also proposes redeveloping the current Evangeline Thruway into a "urban boulevard" design where it is not covered under the current freeway ROW between Mudd Ave. and Taft/Fourteenth Streets.


My personal thoughts on this? Don't like 'em at all.


Eliminating the two downtown interchanges means that traffic wanting to get to downtown will have to use the existing Evangeline Thruway as it is right now...except that the plans are to reduce the Thruway to 2 lanes rather than 3 in either direction for conversion to Complete Streets design.  Could a reduced Thruway handle that traffic? Wouldn't eliminating direct access to I-49 defeat the entire purpose of redeveloping the Thruway for pedestrian/human traffic?


Also...does that mean that the proposed railroad underpasses planned at Johnston and Second/Third would be eliminated, and the current at-grade crossings retained? Those grade separations would eliminate a real barrier of access between downtown and points eastward.


Elevating the freeway downtown and eliminating the Johnston St. interchange would allow for restoring the Sixth St./Lee Avenue crossing...but at what costs for accessing ULL, since Johnston traffic wanting to reach I-49 would have to either use the Evangeline Thruway or University Avenue east to the Surrey Street interchange?


More importantly...what would a continuously elevated structure do for the former rail yard landfill site and possible issues of contamination of the water supply?


At the very least, the Johnston St. interchange should be retained, though perhaps, a CD system running parallel to the Connector freeway could be used to funnel traffic from downtown to relieve the pressure on the Evangeline Thruway. Willow Street would be a more than adequate access point for traffic coming to/from I-49 from the north.


But, I really don't think the current plan is that bad. Why not work with that and move on?
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jbnv

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #92 on: February 22, 2016, 02:39:11 PM »

At the very least, the Johnston St. interchange should be retained, though perhaps, a CD system running parallel to the Connector freeway could be used to funnel traffic from downtown to relieve the pressure on the Evangeline Thruway. Willow Street would be a more than adequate access point for traffic coming to/from I-49 from the north.

Remember that proposed alignment that I posted on one of these topics? You didn't like it, but this suggestion sounds like what I had drawn. I can't find it at the moment.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #93 on: February 23, 2016, 09:23:48 PM »

I remember it, and I still don't like it...but it's not what the alternative alignment would be. There would be no interchanges or off ramps at all between I-49 and the downtown streets, but all of them would remain open and run underneath the elevated structure.
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silverback1065

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #94 on: February 24, 2016, 07:38:47 AM »

I remember it, and I still don't like it...but it's not what the alternative alignment would be. There would be no interchanges or off ramps at all between I-49 and the downtown streets, but all of them would remain open and run underneath the elevated structure.

not having exits to downtown can't be good for business in that area.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #95 on: February 24, 2016, 09:28:02 AM »

I remember it, and I still don't like it...but it's not what the alternative alignment would be. There would be no interchanges or off ramps at all between I-49 and the downtown streets, but all of them would remain open and run underneath the elevated structure.

not having exits to downtown can't be good for business in that area.


The caveat in that is that since the Evangeline Thruway runs parallel to the proposed Connector freeway in the downtown core area and serves as the local access roads for the freeway outside of it, the idea is that traffic wanting to go downtown would use the Willow Street and Surrey St interchanges to access the Thruway, then use that to get to the downtown through the local street network. The difference would be that there would be no *direct* access to the freeway from downtown.It would put some pressure on Evangeline Thruway, especially if they also propose to "road diet" that couplet into a Complete Streets boulevard for local development.

« Last Edit: June 22, 2016, 11:00:37 AM by Anthony_JK »
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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #96 on: February 24, 2016, 09:29:44 AM »

not having exits to downtown can't be good for business in that area.

The "exit" would be Evangeline Thruway. Local traffic would exit to Evangeline Thruway. I-49 would basically be an express route through the city.

IMO, not having a southbound exit for Johnston St. doesn't make sense. You have to have that exit, and it has to fly over or under the tracks. That exit gives you a direct channel into the heart of Lafayette, including easy access to downtown and UL.

Other than that, the no-exit option makes sense to me.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #97 on: February 24, 2016, 10:08:14 AM »

not having exits to downtown can't be good for business in that area.

The "exit" would be Evangeline Thruway. Local traffic would exit to Evangeline Thruway. I-49 would basically be an express route through the city.

IMO, not having a southbound exit for Johnston St. doesn't make sense. You have to have that exit, and it has to fly over or under the tracks. That exit gives you a direct channel into the heart of Lafayette, including easy access to downtown and UL.

Other than that, the no-exit option makes sense to me.

Federal guidelines for Interstate exits don't allow for isolated off/on ramps or partial slip ramps. Interchanges have to be complete and spaced by a mile, or collector-distributor roads utilized. In this case, the Evangeline Thruway would act as the C-D roadway, and the Willow and University/Surrey interchanges would serve as the means of access to the C-D network.
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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #98 on: February 24, 2016, 12:47:53 PM »

My main point is that this is a prime (and singular) opportunity to do something about that godawful curve between the tracks and the Thruway. I can't accept any proposal that preserves this curve and/or doesn't provide a seamless flow from the Connector to Johnston. The current proposal is just a waste of that opportunity.

"But what about traffic flowing north from Johnston to Louisiana Avenue?" Ah, so let's extend our vision a bit. One idea is to connect Johnston to Moss St. rather than Louisiana Ave. Northbound traffic that is going to I-10 will use the Connector, obviously. Local traffic can get from Moss to Louisiana via Simcoe or Willow. The prospect of traffic shifting from Louisiana Ave. to Moss and the cross streets will force the community to address the poor condition and uninviting environment of that part of the city. A successful revitalization effort would engage African-American leaders in those neighborhoods and ultimately improve racial relations as well as economic conditions.

Traffic that currently flows north from Johnston St. to Louisiana Ave. passes right through that area, largely without blinking, using the route to get to I-10 avoiding the Thruway. The current proposal gives no reason to address the blight along Louisiana Ave. People will use the Connector to avoid it altogether, and it will probably end up forgotten. At least by using the Thruway as a C/D, there is an incentive to improve not just that corridor but the neighborhoods north of the corridor.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #99 on: February 25, 2016, 01:49:12 PM »

My main point is that this is a prime (and singular) opportunity to do something about that godawful curve between the tracks and the Thruway. I can't accept any proposal that preserves this curve and/or doesn't provide a seamless flow from the Connector to Johnston. The current proposal is just a waste of that opportunity.

That "godawful curve" was the byproduct of connecting Johnston Street to the former Ninth Street in order to reach the Thruway, as well as plan for the future Louisiana Avenue extension to I-10. The original proposal for the Connector freeway would resolve that issue by straightening that curve a bit and depressing Johnston St. below and underneath the BNSF/UP rail line. That would be more impossible if the Connector was raised north of Johnston to the same height as at Second/Third/Simcoe/Mudd....and the latter is required as part of the Sterling Grove mitigation.

Quote
"But what about traffic flowing north from Johnston to Louisiana Avenue?" Ah, so let's extend our vision a bit. One idea is to connect Johnston to Moss St. rather than Louisiana Ave. Northbound traffic that is going to I-10 will use the Connector, obviously. Local traffic can get from Moss to Louisiana via Simcoe or Willow. The prospect of traffic shifting from Louisiana Ave. to Moss and the cross streets will force the community to address the poor condition and uninviting environment of that part of the city. A successful revitalization effort would engage African-American leaders in those neighborhoods and ultimately improve racial relations as well as economic conditions.

Ummm....except that Moss Street ends at Jefferson Blvd, and is already accessed though Jefferson and Simcoe Streets. Plus, you would have to cut through the McComb-Veazey neighborhood to connect Johnston and Moss. Besides, traffic from downtown can continue to use Jefferson to access Moss Street. Nothing's broken here. Plus, there's a reason they put the easternmost I-10 interchange at the Louisiana Avenue extension rather than Moss Street: too close to the I-49/I-10/US 167 interchange.

Quote
Traffic that currently flows north from Johnston St. to Louisiana Ave. passes right through that area, largely without blinking, using the route to get to I-10 avoiding the Thruway. The current proposal gives no reason to address the blight along Louisiana Ave. People will use the Connector to avoid it altogether, and it will probably end up forgotten. At least by using the Thruway as a C/D, there is an incentive to improve not just that corridor but the neighborhoods north of the corridor.

So...just develop Louisiana Avenue from the Thruway to Simcoe Street as a Complete Streets project and get some local business on that corridor, just like what could be done for the Thruway. Obviously, without an I-49/Johnston Street interchange, people would have to use the Thruway to get to I-49 and/or I-10 (with Louisiana Avenue as an additional alternative to get to I-10 East). But there is University Avenue to get to I-10 West.

Like I said, I would rather keep both interchanges to allow for more direct access to I-49, and simply develop the Thruway as a "business" route with Complete Streets design, as the current plan does. Although, I wouldn't object to having a pedestrian/bicycle/potential bus bridge overspanning I-49 and the BNSF railroad line where Sixth Street/Lee Avenue used to cross. That would do wonders for reconnecting the city at that point, and could become the symbolic structure for the Connector at downtown.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2016, 11:02:30 AM by Anthony_JK »
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