Editorial/Op

Traffic Is Like Chicken Wings

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CENTRAL FIRST BLUEb larger    Have you noticed how HUGE chicken wings have gotten since “Buffalo Wings” became a menu item?  Wings used to be like four toothpicks with not even enough meat to make it worth the effort.  Now those guys are like drumsticks!  I’m thinking chicken farmers must have to get on horses and lasso those chickens like cattle.  All in all, the size of those wings is, well, “Un-Natural”.  
    Well, traffic is like chicken wings.  Long before Central became a city, the commuters from Livingston Parish were using the roads in the Central community to get to and from work in Baton Rouge and beyond.  Incorporating as a city did not give Central any magic power to change that, and Livingston Parish has grown quickly. 
    Central has a reputation as a safe community with good schools, and that naturally brings growth.  Growth means more homes and more businesses, and that means more traffic.  Central has some fairly restrictive zoning laws, and (when those laws are followed) they should keep growth, and therefore traffic, at a reasonable level. (I’ll get to the chicken wings shortly.)
    Central’s Master Plan, as reflected in the zoning changes made two years ago, has provided room for growth.  There are places where new homes can be built and new businesses can locate.  I’m a firm believer in the rights of property owners, so I likely would not complain about anyone building whatever the current zoning laws allow on their property.
    I call this type of growth “Natural” growth, and I am hopeful that the recent and proposed widening of Sullivan Road and the proposed widening of Hooper Road can offset the resulting “Natural” traffic growth.  What I am concerned about is how our already crowded roads are going to handle these great big “Un-Natural” chicken wings… sorry, I mean the growth that comes when the City Council rezones property to make room for growth that is not already in the Master Plan, or “Un-Natural” growth.
    I can sum it up this way.  No one has a “right” to have property rezoned.  If a developer needs property rezoned to build a new neighborhood, and it’s going to make traffic worse, our ordinances allow our City Council to require the developer to widen streets, extend and connect roads, or do whatever it takes not to make traffic worse.
    If Central’s elected officials do not feel that the “Natural” growth Central has is fast enough, just please be responsible in the re-zoning or “Un-Natural” growth that is allowed.  I want our City Council to hold the developers accountable for the impact of their for-profit ventures on the traffic and daily lives of those of us who will live here long after the developer has moved on.
    While this is about ALL future growth, I am also waiting to see the new traffic impact study for the Shoe Creek TND now that more homes and a 95,000 square foot assisted living facility have been added.  I will share the findings of that study when it comes out.  In the meantime, Coaches Grill has some of the best chicken wings I’ve ever had, and yes they are huge, and those wings are Good News for a Great City.

 

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