Covington asking public for ideas to make Boston St. more walkable, bike friendly

"It's hard to cross the streets. There's no real crossing signs to tell you when to go or when to stop and these people are crazy coming through here,"

COVINGTON -  Philip Morris, from Hammond, and his Head Start Center co-workers have loved attending their conference in Downtown Covington this week.

They have not loved getting around it though.

"It's hard to cross the streets. There's no real crossing signs to tell you when to go or when to stop and these people are crazy coming through here," he said, "It took us 45 minutes to get out yesterday trying to get back and forth to where we're going right over here on the hotel."

Many residents also have a love-hate relationship with Boston Street, also known as Highway 190 Business.  So for the past few months, Mayor Mike Cooper had the Center for Planning Excellence out of Baton Rouge asking residents what can make it better.

"On a day like today, and on the weekends, we want to make sure, without putting speed bumps and signage, that there's a way of calming the traffic, which means slowing it down, so that they're aware of the pedestrians and those who visit our city, and those who live here, that like to walk around our city," said Cooper.

All the suggestions collected, so far, will be presented to the public in an open house forum next week.  Ideas regarding connectivity, making it easier for foot and bike traffic to travel from one end of Boston to the other, include adding more crosswalks and possibly a shared bike path.

On the traffic calming end, because Boston Street is a federally and state managed highway, the speed limit can't go any lower than the current 25 mph limit. So the idea behind the meeting is to get ideas on how to make people want to slow down. One of the examples will include adding more planters along Boston, which will make the street feel smaller, and according to Cooper, that will in turn leave drivers wanting to drive more carefully through the area.

While some residents have expressed that they would prefer nothing change, others look forward to any improvements.

"All the hearts of good cities are pedestrian friendly, that's the direction they are going," said Susan Owens.

And Covington wants to stay on trend.

The Covington Traffic Calming and Connectivity Plan Open House is set for Tuesday, June 20, from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. in the Covington Council Chambers at 222 Kirkland Street. 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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