Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette celebrated a ribbon cutting on March 31 for the new UL Bikeway Connection, a shared use path for pedestrians and bicyclists who travel between the university’s main campus, Research Park and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun Athletics facilities along Cajundome Boulevard.
The project, a goal identified in the university’s 2012 Master Plan and conceptually designed by School of Architecture and Design students, could not have happened without the strong partnership between UL Lafayette and LCG. Mayor-President Josh Guillory said, “I am grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with UL Lafayette and invest in this important project. Expanding and improving bicycle and pedestrian paths improves safety in our community, not only for students but also for our community as a whole.”
UL Lafayette President Dr. Joseph Savoie added the university is excited to partner with LCG on projects such as this that benefit not only the campus community but neighbors as well. “The campus community and adjacent neighborhoods benefit from improved access to safe, enjoyable bike and pedestrian infrastructure connecting parks and recreation centers, shopping centers, and our Ragin’ Cajun Athletics facilities to the places they live, work, and learn."
The new 10-foot-wide path extends the existing UL Bikeway constructed in 2012 along Cajundome Boulevard from Eraste Landry Road to the Ira Nelson Horticulture Center on Johnston Street. With this new addition, cyclists and pedestrians can connect to the university’s main campus via St. Michael Street, St. Julien Avenue, then ultimately the heart of campus near the intersection of Girard Park Circle and East St. Mary Boulevard.
Other enhancements include newly reinforced crosswalks at two of Lafayette’s top 10 busiest crosswalks that provide connections between the main campus and Girard Park. UL Lafayette Director of Sustainability Gretchen Vanicor said safely connecting cyclists and pedestrians to the university’s main campus and creating a more bike- and pedestrian-friendly campus is a priority. “A primary objective of our Sustainability Strategic Plan is to reduce local traffic congestion and associated emissions by expanding access to safe and sustainable, active transportation options for students, faculty, and staff. This path provides an added bonus of connecting the community to campus through shared infrastructure.”
Of the partnership between LCG and UL Lafayette and the overall goal to expand and improve bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, LCG Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinator Nick Hernandez said, “We share the same goals of increasing non-motorized safety and access for our students and residents. It’s all about building bikeways that encourage the new cyclist to use a bicycle to get to school or work again and again. A low-stress, safe bikeway network will encourage people to use their bicycles on a regular basis.”
The UL Bikeway Connection is the first of many trails to come. This new path coincides with the four-mile Rouge Route Network, one of seven bicycle network routes outlined in the Bicycle Lafayette Plan that includes 10.25 miles of proposed bikeways and trails and a loop connecting 17 neighborhoods from Rotary Point to Pontiac Point.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Lafayette Consolidated Government