Natchitoches looking for input on bicycle & pedestrian plan

Natchitoches looking for input on bicycle & pedestrian plan

NATCHITOCHES, LA (KSLA) - More sidewalks and bike lanes are on their way to the city of Natchitoches — but where the city decides to put them is up to you.

On Front Street in Natchitoches you’ll likely see cars, but just a block away, you’ll find Carey Blanchard on his bike. The Vietnam veteran has taken up the hobby of biking, and has been doing it for the last seven years.

His passion even led him to running a cycling group — Bike Natchitoches.

But there’s big plans in the work to bring more bikes to the city.

“There’s two kind of phases: one phase is the bike share itself and the other phase is the pedestrian and bike master plan, Van Erikson said.

Erikson is part of the city’s historic district development commission and says they are currently working to bring in a bike share company.

The idea came about two years ago. Since then the city has hired the Rapids Area Planning Commission and Bantam Strategy Group to come in and help with this project.

Bike paths may come to Natchitoches

The groups wrote grants and were able to secure the city funding for the project a year later.

Right now, Erikson says the city is working on a pedestrian and bike master plan that will allow them to determine where to add new bike lanes and sidewalks for these bikes — but they need feedback.

“Whatever they want to say about this we want to hear it because at the end of the day this is going to be utilized by the public," he said.

Carey’s already learned about the plans, and is excited about how this could grow his city.

“A lot of tourist like to ride bicycles, but they don’t want to carry their bicycles with them," he said. "They’ll have a chance to have a dock right down on Front Street where they can rent a bicycle for an hour, a half hour or whatever they want.”

Erikson says they are looking to place bikes and bike lanes around Northwestern State University and the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts, but their goal is to make sure they are placed strategically around the city.

While Carey plans to continue biking, he’s excited to see less cars, and more walking and biking throughout the city.

Erikson says they will hold another stakeholder meeting at the end of May to begin looking at selecting a bike share company. He says they are looking to launch the program by the end of August early September of this year.

If you live in Natchitoches and want to take the survey, click HERE. The survey will be available until May 31st.

If you need a paper survey you can pick one up at City Hall located on 700 2nd Street.

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