We value Transportation options that increase connectivity and accessibility.
Millions of dollars are spent locally every year on transportation infrastructure. But that spending is often not the result of a data-driven decision making process that takes into account best practices from across the country to increase overall quality of life.
Lafayette’s current capital budget reflects just one transportation priority—increasing speed and roadway capacity for vehicles. Lafayette is not unique in this regard. Since the 1950s transportation policy has been focused on building one-sided transportation facilities.
But over the last decade, cities across the country have begun to innovate—planning for robust pedestrian and bicycle access and expanding transit options. Lafayette is lagging behind the trend.
Forward Lafayette believes in adopting new design standards that prioritize safety and alternate modes of travel over roads that only exist to move cars as fast as possible from Point A to Point B. We need to recognize that the space between Point A and B is our community. It’s where we live, work, or play. We should be building streets designed to maximize economic development in that space between Point A and B by making that space safe, attractive, and accessible to everyone, but especially pedestrians.
Forward Lafayette recognizes that rules allowing for sprawl-based development go hand-in-hand with what officials often call the necessary “backlog” of transportation projects. Incentivizing denser development patterns—which builds out the highly connective traditional “grid” network, rather than the long linear oriented cul-de-sac subdivision model—helps alleviate the growing pressure on local government budgets to “keep up” with ever-expanding patterns of subdivision growth.
Meanwhile, encouraging denser development also makes our transit system more efficient. Transit serves everyone in the community, whether or not they have access to a car. Evidence shows that cities with robust transit systems are doing a better job attracting young talent that wants to live in a cool, vibrant place, without the hassle or expense of car ownership.
Other cities have figured this out. We don’t have to start from scratch. We can adopt and adapt best practices to move our city forward. But we do have to change our old mindset that the only reason to spend a dollar on transportation infrastructure is so that a car can get to its destination two minutes faster. Let’s invest in our community, not our commute time.