Plank Road Corridor Master Plan
East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority
Friday November 2, 2018
Location: Baton Rouge, LAWebsite
* Please visit http://ebrra.org to download the full RFP
Plank Road Corridor Master Plan
Tara Titone, Vice-President
East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority
Contact Information & Proposal Delivery Location:
620 Florida Street, Suite 110
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70801
The East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority (“EBRRA”) is soliciting proposals from qualified professional firms (“Consultant”) to facilitate a planning process that culminates in the development of a comprehensive master plan (“Master Plan”) for the Plank Road Corridor. The EBRRA desires the Consultant to deliver a detailed and comprehensive corridor master plan that addresses land, economic and community development for the corridor in relation to needs of the adjacent neighborhoods and the broader needs of metropolitan Baton Rouge. Proposals are being requested from qualified firms with considerable experience in urban policy, sustainable design, land redevelopment, transportation and pedestrian circulation, economic analysis, form-based codes, and strategies to achieve racial and economic equity. The final document should establish a strong, long-term vision for the Plank Road Corridor. The planning process is anticipated to be completed within nine (9) months of commencement.
This grant is funded by the generous support of the JP Morgan Chase Foundation’s PRO Neighborhoods grant program, the ExxonMobil Foundation and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.
Schedule of Solicitation and Contract Award Events
Solicitation for Contract Award Event
Request for Proposals Issued
October 11, 2018
Deadline for Questions and Requests for Changes
October 18, 2018, 12:00 PM CDT
October 19, 2018, 10:00 AM CDT
Proposal Due Date and Time (no later than)
November 9, 2018 by 5:00 PM CDT
Week of December 3, 2018
Notice of Intent to Award
By December 7, 2018
Contract Effective Date
Week of December 17, 2018
The EBRRA may make a courtesy effort to contact interested parties that this schedule has changed, but interested parties are ultimately responsible for being aware of changes to this RFP by regularly checking the EBRRA’s website at www.ebrra.org.
About the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority
The EBRRA was created by the 2007 Louisiana Legislature as a separate political subdivision of the state of Louisiana with East Baton Rouge Parish as its jurisdiction. The EBRRA is governed by a five-member Board of Commissioners appointed by the Mayor-President, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce. The EBRRA’s mission is to transform the quality of life for all citizens who live, work and play in East Baton Rouge Parish by returning blighted properties to productive use, fostering redevelopment through facilitating partnerships, and creating a vibrant, globally competitive community while preserving character of place.
The EBRRA began operations in 2009. Through its various programmatic and funding mechanisms, the agency has been able to provide attainable housing, gap financing, home and small business rehabilitation, brownfields redevelopment, and neighborhood planning opportunities to communities, developers, and residents throughout East Baton Rouge Parish. The EBRRA has deployed and leveraged approximately $80 million to create $300 million worth of projects across the parish, including the creation of 863 units of affordable housing, and the support of 3,400 jobs. Through support of the City-Parish and other partners, the EBRRA has awarded over $5.6 million in below market rate financing leading to the development and construction or rehabilitation of 564 affordable residential units; provided over $250,000 in reimbursable façade grants to improve 69 storefronts in low income areas; worked with communities and developers to return over 200 adjudicated properties to productive use; and further accomplished its mission of addressing blight elimination in East Baton Rouge Parish.
About the Study Area
Plank Road is located in Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. The study area extends for 4.3 miles along Plank Road between 22nd Street and the Harding Boulevard/Hooper Road intersection (the “Corridor”). The Corridor changes from four to five lanes and varies in the character of its built environment. Sidewalks are on both sides of the street but are inconsistent and not continuous. It is bordered by mostly commercial land uses along its length, with residential uses in the intersecting side streets and extending for several blocks in either direction. The northern end of the Corridor contains more established businesses and considerably less blight, while the southern and middle portions of the Corridor contain severe blight, vacant lots and dilapidated buildings.
The entirety of the street right-of-way is designed to prioritize automobile travel to the exclusion of other modes of mobility. The street design encourages high vehicle speeds. There are limited or no provisions for pedestrian or bicycle access and minimal amounts of landscaping with notable exceptions along certain roadway edges. Overhead wires are also prevalent in many areas. All these factors present an unsafe and unappealing aesthetic environment for residents, visitors and merchants.
Project Background and Context
The Plank Road Project
This comprehensive master plan effort is part of a larger, coordinated focus on Plank Road which the EBRRA has named the Plank Road Project. The Plank Road Project envisions a transit-oriented revitalization of a 4.3-mile segment of Plank Road and consists of three components: 1) planning for a proposed bus rapid transit (BRT) installation; 2) land banking of adjudicated and blighted parcels to support catalytic development projects; and 3) creating a comprehensive revitalization master plan. While this RFP is concerned with the third component, all components are interrelated. Together they represent an unprecedented level of investment targeted at one of Baton Rouge’s most disinvested and embattled neighborhoods.
Early in 2018, at the request of Mayor-President Sharon Broome, the EBRRA convened the Capital Area Transit System (CATS), the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), the City-Parish Department of Public Works (DPW), the Capital Regional Planning Commission (CRPC) and a host of other stakeholders to advance a proposal for a 10-mile BRT installation that would include Plank Road. The proposal leverages several developments already in progress: CATS’s plans for targeted improvements on its Plank Road route; DOTD’s plans to fund improvements to Plank Road before transferring ownership of the road (which is presently a state highway) to the city, and DPW’s planned transportation upgrades for Plank Road.
BRT planning began in September of 2018 and is currently underway. The BRT line is expected to cost between $40 - $50 million with almost half of the route running along the Corridor. The Corridor master plan process must therefore collaborate and interact with the BRT planning process. Additionally, the EBRRA is in the process of transferring into its land bank eighty-five (85) vacant, blighted, adjudicated parcels located on Plank Road or in the immediate vicinity. The EBRRA must clear the blight on land banked parcels and maintain them while clearing the title and advancing redevelopment plans that will return the parcels back to commerce in accord with neighborhood needs. The functional improvements derived from BRT and the targeted blight elimination will bolster the comprehensive master plan effort, allowing the EBRRA to explore methods and opportunities to increase the aesthetic appeal of the Corridor as well as meaningfully improve the quality of life for neighboring residents.
Plank Road is one of the most blighted corridors in Baton Rouge yet remains a significant anchor for the neighborhoods of North Baton Rouge. The heart of Plank Road runs through the 70805 zip code, where many of Baton Rouge’s social and economic challenges are concentrated. Despite the corridor’s scattered commercial assets and its proximity to substandard housing and deep poverty, the area has the city’s highest concentration of zero-car households and, accordingly, its second highest transit ridership. The combination of pervasive blight and high transit usage underscores the viability of transit-oriented redevelopment.
The history of Plank Road begins like much of Baton Rouge’s contemporary history: after the arrival of Standard Oil. Standard Oil, the forerunner to ExxonMobil, opened its refinery in 1909. Some of the earliest Plank Road neighborhoods -suburb Istrouma, Forest Park, North Highlands Estates and Fairfields- emerged in the years immediately following Standard Oil’s arrival, with all of them being established prior to 1920. During this time Plank Road was established as a commercial corridor with residential side streets running east and west along Plank’s northeast/southeast axis. While Plank and its major east-west cross streets were built with curbs and sidewalks, most of the residential streets interesting Plank Road still reflect the rural character of Baton Rouge’s twentieth century development. Narrow asphalt streets without sidewalks make up most of the area’s residential grid.
Scope of Work
The Corridor master plan should build upon previous study recommendations and stakeholder and public input to accomplish the following goals:
- Identify specific programs and opportunities to collaborate with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) to support catalytic development projects.
- Coordinate and align planning with the proposed BRT planning effort and incorporate principles of transit-oriented development, Smart Growth and Complete Streets.
- Identify specific programs, opportunities and approaches to address persistent racial and economic inequities.
- Collaborate with the EBRRA’s Community Engagement Specialist to coordinate efforts and integrate findings, insights and feedback into the master plan methodology and analysis.
- Identify specific strategies, policies and approaches to bolster locally-owned and minority businesses while creating opportunities for new businesses to locate and thrive in the Corridor.
- Perform a market study to identify the types and number of businesses that can be supported along the Corridor.
- Evaluate issues of ecological resilience and assess the impact of recent environmental events on the Corridor’s future.
- Explore development opportunities for land banked parcels located on and adjacent to the Corridor as well as strategies for strategic land acquisitions in relation to potential real estate development opportunities, including specific potential catalytic projects.
- Model opportunities for public-private partnerships to spur real estate development and economic development along the Corridor, including those that may involve the Federal Opportunity Zone legislation.
- Assess land use compatibility and suggest regulatory reforms to ensure quality of place over the long-term.
- Ensure alignment with existing planning efforts where relevant and opportune.
- Provide strategies and policies that ensure long-term affordability and prevent gentrification.
- Orient future development towards the street and visually enhance the Corridor.
- Encourage higher density residential and mixed-use as well as mixed-income developments along the Corridor.
* RFP Continues- Please visit http://ebrra/org to download the full RFP
Posted October 11, 2018
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