Your move, Mr. Robideaux

by Walter Pierce

A few hundred well-to-do folks inconvenienced by bike lanes on West Bayou Parkway want them removed. More than 2,000 cycling enthusiasts want them to remain. What ya gonna do, mayor?

Roughly 2,400 people, many of them cycling enthusiasts who last week participated in a ride along the Mickey Shunick Memorial Bike Loop, have signed a petition asking Mayor Joel Robideaux to keep the bike lanes along West Bayou Parkway intact. The petition came in response to a petition bearing fewer than 300 signatures submitted earlier to Robideaux by residents who live on either side of West Bayou — in one of the most affluent parts of town — asking that the bike lanes be removed.

The pro-bike lanes petition was delivered to Robideaux on Friday by representatives of Forward Lafayette, a group formed after word of the anti-bike lanes petition began circulating.

“The support we received from across the community the last two weeks has been incredible. What we learned is that there is great support generally for bike lanes and a lot of use on this route specifically,” says Forward Lafayette organizer Mark deClouet in a press release announcing delivery of the petition.

Hundreds participated in the Shunick Loop ride last Thursday, a trek that began at Rotary Point on West Bayou.

The petitioners seeking removal of the lanes, which were installed less than a year ago, cited increased traffic congestion and a lack of use by cyclists. Forward Lafayette’s deClouet disputes that the lanes aren’t used.

“We heard from neighbors who live on West Bayou Parkway, UL students who use it to commute to school, runners, recreational cyclists, and Mickey’s friends and family who were grateful to us for galvanizing support and awareness to this issue,” he says. “And we are committed to continuing the dialogue as we believe that this is a direction that great cities are moving in — developing complete streets wherever possible and maximizing available infrastructure for all users.”