The Board of Commissioners of the Capital Area Transit System Tuesday approved a plan to purchase a parcel of land from Louisiana State University, which the agency hopes to use as a hub for North Baton Rouge.
The board approved CATS’ purchase of real estate property located adjacent to LSU Health North on Airline Highway from LSU and the State of Louisiana. Before it can move forward, the purchase must also be approved by the LSU Board of Supervisors.
CATS CEO Bill Deville said, “A permanent North Baton Rouge Hub is critical because it will allow CATS to better serve the area through reduced wait times and easier connections. This particular hub location would provide riders seamless access to health care services and could potentially serve as a mixed used site in the future.”
The purchase of the property will be contingent upon an environmental clearance from the Federal Transit Administration, as CATS plans to use federal funds to later build the facility on the land.
The North Baton Rouge Hub is one of several hubs CATS plans to build in the coming years. The agency is looking into alternative funding streams for capital growth, including naming rights to transit hubs and shelters.
CATS also has two modified bus rapid transit projects on the horizon to enhance service in North Baton Rouge and Mid City. The Florida Boulevard project is underway and will provide express service along the popular Florida Boulevard line. A second BRT project on Plank Road is in the planning phase.
BRT projects typically include infrastructure improvements like enhanced bus stops and shelters with better lighting and space for use by transportation network companies like Uber. Because transit is a key component of improving Baton Rouge, CATS has aligned these BRT projects with the City’s community development plans.