The on again-off again attempt to revamp Lafayette’s most malignant roadway, Johnston Street, is rolling again. Mired in various committees for the past five years, the plan now heads to the city’s Planning Commission, and then to the City-Parish Council before the end of summer, reports The Advocate. The sticking point, beyond the sticker shock of anywhere from $6 million to $30 million a mile, depending on the final plan, is running a boulevard down the center of the street.
Urban planners, such as UL’s Tom Sammons, who helped create the initial design, urge the creation of a boulevard because of traffic safety as well as quality of life. Merchants along Johnston Street welcome buried utility lines and underground drainage but oppose the boulevard concept, because they say it would interfere with a driver’s ability to easily pull into their parking lots. “If it’s not convenient, they aren’t stopping,” Brian Fournet, who owns a service station on Johnston Street, told The Advocate.