Officials seek ways to make library accessible

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 16, 2002


LAPLACE – The new multi-million-dollar St. John the Baptist Parish Library opened earlier this month to the acclaim of local leaders, library board members and staff. But some local residents are concerned the location of the facility could make the library inaccessible to some students and residents who lack transportation.

The library is located on busy U.S. Highway 51 in LaPlace. After months of planning, construction and moving, the library opened Aug. 2. While the new library features a storyteller room in the children’s department, public access computers for research and additional space for reading, there are no bike paths or sidewalks leading to the facility. The only safe transportation to the library is via automobile.

Glade School Principal Orlando Watkins said he does not feel sidewalks or bike paths would substantially improve student access, despite the school’s proximity to the facility.

“I think we need to think of some way to get transported to the library,” Watkins said. “Maybe the School Board can look into getting shuttle transport over there. The library is on a busy road. I do not think sidewalks would be any safer.”

Parish President Nickie Monica agreed.

“Maybe in the future development transportation is something we can think about,” Monica said. “It is a very busy highway. I do not think we should encourage walking on the side of that roadway.”

The president of the St. John the Baptist Parish Library Board could not be reached for comment at press time. Library Director Randy De Soto said, “There are certainly a lot of businesses and schools along this roadway. Anything that would make it more accessible would be great.”