The705: I-49 Task Force Priorities

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The705 is an organization for young leaders in Acadiana. We recognize the importance of the I-49 Connector to the long-term prosperity of Lafayette and Louisiana. And we understand the role we must play in helping shape what will be the largest infrastructure project in Lafayette’s history. We appreciate the opportunity the Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) process affords to contribute constructively and we look forward to participating throughout the process in an engaged and effective manner.

We believe the Connector presents a unique opportunity to breathe life into a neglected area of Lafayette. Below are the principles that we firmly believe must be reflected in the final design of the Connector if it is to reflect community consensus and act as a catalyst project toward reinvestment.

Our Priorities

Transportation projects of this magnitude are multi-generational endeavors. There is a large segment of our population, who were not part of those initial discussions 10 or 15 years ago and we want to ensure that the decisions made stand on their own today. While respecting and building off of the good will and investment that got us where we are now, we want to be more inclusive of all generations to find the most agreeable option for the whole of the community.
The connector will be the largest infrastructure investment in Lafayette’s history. This project has provided funding for an excellent planning opportunity through this specific connector project. We recognize that we could lose this investment opportunity without productive community input and consensus. We acknowledge that we will also have to fund portions of this project and manage its long-term social and economic impacts. We want the best for Lafayette, not necessarily the cheapest or most expensive option. We want it done right. The goal is to develop the optimal solution for both present and future operation and community growth, minimize future socio-economic burdens on the local community, and plan for maintenance of required local infrastructure including any public space or parks considered as part of the corridor redevelopment plan.
The I-49 Connector should be designed to spur redevelopment along the corridor maximizing local investment through greater connectivity and access to transit, transportation, jobs and goods and services. The final design should minimize the footprint of the Connector, thus maximizing the amount of property that can be developed into workable, livable, connectable space. The connector must aim to benefit Lafayette’s urban corridor and not merely move traffic through our community.
The route from I-10 to the airport is our primary gateway into our community. We should use this opportunity to design a built environment equal to the thriving cultural and economic hub of Acadiana
The I-49 Connector should not be a barrier dividing our city. Instead, the connector should be designed to improve, not diminish, the quality of life through improved connectivity to opportunities between the Downtown and the neighborhoods of the urban core.
The I-49 connector should integrate into our environment as best as possible. The design should mitigate environmental risks, not only during construction, but thereafter. The project should address environmental concerns and do whatever is necessary to mitigate any harmful effects on the health of our community and environment. Responsible parties must be held accountable for cleanup and mitigation and any remediation should take advantage of any federal or state programs.
Final design should anticipate and provide adequate capacity for evacuation during hurricanes and other emergences; however, the corridor does not need to be “over-built” for this limited period of high capacity and should primarily be designed to accommodate daily traffic demands.
Our community is fortunate that transportation designers have more context sensitive tools available than existed at the time. We encourage opportunities to improve the design from the ROD, focusing more on goals than specific technical details. Local officials (TIGER Team/Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment Team/LCG/Metropolitan Planning Organization/Acadiana Planning Commission) should be empowered to represent our concerns and effectively collaborate with state and federal officials to produce a design that achieves the goals of our community.