Transportation meeting reveals Calcasieu Parish wants bike paths and sidewalks

Transportation meeting reveals Calcasieu Parish wants bike paths and sidewalks
Public meeting at SPAR (Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)
Public meeting at SPAR (Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Officials from the Imperial Calcasieu Regional Planning and Development Commission (IMCAL) and the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury hosted two public meetings May 13 and 14 to give citizens a final opportunity to weigh in on the development of a long-range transportation plan for Calcasieu Parish.

Officials say with the information they've gathered from the February meetings, the parish is looking at a 37% population increase by the year 2040.

And with an increase in population, comes an increase in traffic.

The Cove Lane Interchange is one of many ongoing construction projects in the area.

Projects like those are underway to support the infrastructure for the influx of traffic projected for Southwest Louisiana.

On Wednesday, officials from IMCAL and the CPPJ hosted another round of public meetings to update their long range transportation plan.

"This is a good opportunity to bring the planning aspect to the public and let them provide information that will help us in what they see on a day to day basis," said Grant Bush, Executive Director for IMCAL.

While it's a 25-year plan, it's updated every 5 years. And officials say the timing couldn't be better.

"Especially when we're looking at so many different things to expect, with all the industry announcements we've been getting," added Bush.

Based on some 300 responses from their February meeting and online surveys, the top three things people are dissatisfied with are a lack of bike paths, sidewalks for pedestrians, and overall not having complete streets.

"They want to see all aspects, such as sidewalks, street lamps, easy transitions and ingress and egress of access, and then of course the maintenance of those," said Bush.

And people that attended Wednesday's meeting say they came for a variety of reasons.

"I'm here to see what the outcome is and see what it's all about, and I don't have any major concerns, no," said Charles Turner, Sr.

Roland Tackett, another attendee says, "I'm really concerned about the traffic in Sulphur, since I live here, especially in the last 6 months."

While officials believe traffic increases are coming next year, the planning process is all part of trying to stay ahead of the game.

"We want to make sure we don't have to spend all of our time in our car which is a big part of congestion," said Bush.

Another concern shared by many was a need for new roads.

Officials say their next step is to compile all the public comments and come up with a draft plan by July.

More information about the long range transportation plan for Calcasieu Parish will be available throughout the planning process over the next six months by contacting IMCAL at on the website or by following IMCAL on Facebook.

Copyright KPLC 2014. All rights reserved.