With the population expected to grow in the parish by 66,000 new people by 2037, alternative means of transportation will be needed.

Ascension works towards the future of its economic opportunities, which means the parish has to maximize the benefits of growth.

The development of a transportation plan shows a proactive approach from parish leaders towards new opportunities in the future.

On August 11, a public open house showcasing the Transportation Master Plan was held at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center. Representatives welcomed questions, concerns, and comments from the public as they listened to potential changes to the parish in the coming years.

Currently, the plan is between Phase 1 and Phase 2. There are three phases. Phase 1 reviewed future and existing needs, as well as input from residents and stakeholder interviews.

Phase 2 begins to evaluate what changes are most applicable while creating alternatives, if necessary.

Once Phase 3 is reached, projects become prioritized, funding strategies are discussed, and preferred solutions are looked at.

In regards to safety, Ascension ranks in the top 20 parishes for most local road crashes. Limited pedestrian networks is also something they plan to address to reduce personal injuries.

Additionally, traffic is a frustration for residents. The highest amount of congestion occurs in the northwest part of the parish. Improvements here and in the central areas are part of the plan.

With the population expected to grow in the parish by 66,000 new people by 2037, alternative means of transportation will be needed.

This will be a 30-40 year endeavor, and obviously it is not something that will be completed overnight. Consultants were available at the open house to answer any questions guests had about the timeline, or anything else.

Mike Enlow, Assistant DPW Director, will help manage transportation and engineering operations.

"We started discussing this about a year ago, but got back on track with it about 3 months ago," Enlow said. "We wanted to have this open house so we could show residents what we can do, and what we should do now, before we look back and wish we had made improvements sooner."

There are two more open house opportunities to attend: on Wednesday, September 26 at the Gonzales Civic Center; and on Thursday, September 27 at Lowery Elementary School in Donaldsonville. The time of the open house is 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will be presentations given at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on both days.

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