Baton Rouge traffic solutions group CRISIS released a new report this week aimed at improving regional transportation infrastructure.
CRISIS (Capital Region Industry for Sustainable Infrastructure) highlighted the need for a new Mississippi River crossing in its nearly 60-page Capital Region Mobility Strategy (CRMS) that was released on Monday, Nov. 20. The report also outlines a strategy for a “holistic blueprint of improved mobility,” according to CRISIS.
“While efforts to fund new transportation infrastructure earlier this year fell short, the problems remain and will only grow worse without action,” said Tom Yura, senior vice president at BASF. “Workers, commuters and businesses are clamoring for a viable plan moving forward. We believe this report offers not only a blueprint of what’s needed, but also a call to action to get it done.”
The CRMS, funded through a grant secured by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber from the Louisiana Office of Community Development, takes a deliberate look at the region’s transportation system, working in tandem with the Capital Region Planning Commission’s (CRPC) Long-Range Transportation Plan Update, Move 2042.
The CRMS balances a variety of competing interests, including changing funding levels, shifting demographics, a growing economy, rising expectations and natural uncertainty. The strategy aligns short and long-term transportation strategies with broader regional goals and initiatives such as mobility, safety and the region’s economic vitality.
“CRISIS continues to push for strong coordination between local, regional and state levels to keep leadership aligned on our top regional priorities,” said CRISIS Director Scott Kirkpatrick. “These strategies will help us focus on outcomes.”
The CRMS was developed with focused input from stakeholders, including practitioners, major employers and elected officials from the five-parish metropolitan region who participated in a mobility forums and public meetings since last October.
The CRMS is meant to complement and augment the development of the Long Range Transportation Plan Update, a federally-mandated and fiscally constrained plan that assigns projected transportation funding that will be available during the next five years.
The CRMS emphasizes some elements of the Move 2042 plan, while also highlighting important policies, programs and ideas that fall outside of that plan and require multiple partnerships to advance.
An overview of CRMS strategies include:
Capacity and Efficiency
- Enhanced River Crossings, the region’s most often-cited need;
- regional arterials, establishing priorities for cross-parish commuter routes;
- transportation technology, expanding existing capabilities and creating a shared regional system.
Travel Choice and Management
- Active transportation alternatives, expanding nonauto connectivity;
- travel demand management, embracing the Commuter Krewe ridesharing program;
- shared ride transit Services, exploring commuter-focused regional transit.
Policy and Partnerships
- Complete and safe Streets, establishing policies to improve safety and non-auto networks;
- smart growth initiatives, planning communities to mitigate the impact of natural disasters and growth externalities such as increased roadway congestion;
- Regional leadership and collaboration, increasing the participation of community and business leaders in decision-making.
Multiple coordinated actions and incremental decisions will result in significant mobility improvement, according to the CRISIS release.
“The CRMS, developed hand in hand with the Move 2042 Long Range Transportation Plan update, takes a holistic view of all the considerations impacting Capital Region mobility,” said Capital Region Planning Commission Director Jamie Setze said, an Addis resident. “These strategies provide a way forward on shared priorities, highlighting elements of the Move 2042 plan within a broader context.”
“This Mobility Strategy confirms, represents and uncovers new data for our many transportation problems and potential solutions,” said West Baton Rouge Parish President Riley “Pee Wee” Berthelot. “Furthermore, this extensive work undertaken by CRISIS serves to demonstrate that future transportation decisions – for example, the location of bridges in the Baton Rouge region – be based on data and not driven by politics.”