Lafayette Consolidated Government has been awarded two federal grants to help fund the expansion of the multi-use Atakapa-Ishak Trail and the Acadiana Hills Bike Route/AI Trail Pedestrian Infill. Both projects will provide roughly 11.4 miles of new bicycle and pedestrian facilities within the Lafayette area. And cyclists can look for Share the Road signs now installed on popular bike routes in the northeast section of Lafayette Parish.
A Share the Road Bike Ride is scheduled Saturday, July 20, 2013, in celebration. The Atakapa-Ishak Trail is a multi-use trail named for the indigenous Indian tribe of the same name. When completed, the bike and hiking trail will connect Lafayette to the nearby communities of Breaux Bridge and St. Martinville. In Breaux Bridge, the joint-use trailhead at Parc des Ponts will serve users of both the AI Trail and the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail. Phase 1 of the AI Trail opened in February 2011; Phase 2 is currently being constructed and should open for use by late Fall 2013. The other grant will help fund the Acadiana Hills bike route and pedestrian infill along the AI Trail Phase 1, providing signage and pavement markings plus fund pedestrian infrastructure infill. Many cyclists enjoy touring the rural roads and highways of northeast Lafayette Parish so Lafayette Consolidated Government fabricated and installed the Share the Road signs that now mark the more highly used routes. In Louisiana, motorists are required by law to share the road with bicyclists, except where bicycles are expressly forbidden, such as on interstate highways, explained Jennifer Severson, the bikeway planner who worked on the project. When passing a cyclist, motorists must maintain a minimum three feet of distance between the motor vehicle and the bicyclist. The Share the Road signs remind motorists to be aware of cyclists along these routes and provide the space necessary for both motorists and cyclists to coexist safely on the road. Both the Rotary Club of Lafayette North and the Tri Cajuns Triathlon Club, which trains on these routes, encouraged this project. BikeLafayette, a local bicyclist advocacy organization, will host a Share the Road Ride on Saturday, July 20, 2013, beginning at 8 a.m. Routes of varying lengths are planned, all departing from and returning to the parking area at Acadiana Park on East Alexander Street.The ride will begin with opening comments and a brief ceremony.All cyclists are welcome.Visit bikelafayette.org for more information.