Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Baton Rouge crafts streetcar plan

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Louisiana's state capital, Baton Rouge, is considering a plan for streetcar operations as part of a city and parish (county) plan, FuturEBR.

The plan, being developed by Portland, Ore.-based consultant John Fregonese, would if implemented make Baton Rouge the second city in the Bayou State to operate streetcars, joining venerable standout New Orleans, 80 miles to the southeast. The plan is expected to be unveiled for public comment this April.

Fregonese told local media plans call for a three-mile streetcar line traversing Nicholson Drive from Louisiana State University to North Boulevard Town Square in the city's downtown. "There is an amazing set of opportunities that present themselves right there," Fregonese said. A proposed second phase would extend streetcar operations from Town Square to the State Capitol building.

Cost of the project's first phase is estimated to be $60 million, with the project estimated to take three years to construct.

Baton Rouge last saw streetcar service in April 1936.