There's good news for bicyclists in Caddo Parish as plans to improve infrastructure and awareness for riders move forward.
A $280,690 TAP grant through the Louisiana highway department will help the parish put up 67 miles of signage encouraging bicyclists and motorists to share the road.
The parish will have to pay a 20 percent match on construction costs and is responsible for things like design engineering, construction administration and management of the project.
This project covers Phase I and part of Phase II of the Caddo Parish Bicycle Plan.
"This is a way that Caddo Parish has been working hard to leverage taxpayer money that's local to pull in federal money," District 4 Caddo Commissioner Matthew Linn said. "It's a way to get more money of what we are paying into the federal government returned to our community."
"This means a more active, friendly community. A community that is bicycle-friendly. A community that is safer to ride your bicycle and exercise with your friends."
David Hale, an avid cyclist and manager at River City Cycling, says sharing the road sometimes can be frightening because drivers don't always know the rights bicyclists have on the road.
He says driver education is key and thinks the added signage will help.
"I think that's a great first step. I think the more drivers and riders both know about their responsibilities toward each other while they are on the road is gonna help everybody."
The signs are just the beginning.
Linn said the parish already is looking for more grant money to finish out Phase II and Phase III of its bicycle plan.
Those phases are focused on building more dedicated bike pathways.
The parish also has received a $200,000 grant to help construct an outdoor pavilion at Earl. G Williamson Park on the historical Highway 1 Scenic Byway in Oil City in partnership with the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau.
The pavilion will contain educational kiosks designed to provide information about the scenic byway's history.
The parish will be responsible for a 20 percent match for remaining construction costs and for the design engineering, construction administration and management of the project.
"The Byway Scenic project will open up our park to further use by our citizens and visitors to the parish," Henri Wesley, parks and recreation director, said in a news release.
"Having an area that allows for recreation as well as education serves an important dual role. And we are eager to provide that opportunity to Caddo Parish."
said Wesley in a news release.
The parish governing body has long recognized the importance of safer streets and the value of recreational and educational opportunities at the parish's parks, Commission President Douglas Dominick said in the news release.
"We are pleased to be able to begin these projects with the funding assistance from DOTD. Once completed, the projects will enhance and beautify our Parish."