Lafayette, Louisiana is one of the fastest-growing communities in the United States. It is expected to grow by an additional 40% by the year 2030. With the growth comes challenges including but not limited to flooding, traffic, and inadequate infrastructure and community services.
PlanLafayette 2035 is the parish-wide vision for Lafayette over the next 15 years. It lays out an action plan to handle the struggles that come with growth. It was adopted by the Lafayette City-Parish Planning Commission on June 14, 2014.
There are ten elements to PlanLafayette 2035.
- Land Use
The plan focuses growth in mixed-use centers with greater access to transit, jobs, walkable neighborhoods, and parks and recreation. The growth will occur in a connected fashion, which will enable the city to use less land and reduce costs.
- Community Character
Lafayette is unique because of its rich Cajun and Creole heritage and its authentic “joie de vivre.” The plan seeks to preserve and capitalize on Lafayette’s authentic culture. It proposes to accomplish this goal by creating new housing and retail spaces along with bicycle and pedestrian-friendly streets. The plan wants to avoid the development of sterile commercial spaces and roads that are solely for automobile use.
- Housing and Neighborhoods
PlanLafayette 2035 strives to provide high quality, affordable, and diverse housing choices across the urban, suburban, and rural areas of the parish. It will encourage the rehabilitation and reuse of declining housing.
- Historical and Cultural Resources
Lafayette’s culture is at the center of its identity, and the plan seeks to highlight and promote key historical and cultural resources. Additionally, the proposal aims to increase community arts and cultural access across the region. New parks, plazas, and community buildings will be designed to celebrate Lafayette’s cultural heritage.
- Economic Development
PlanLafayette 2035 recognizes the need to broaden employment sectors and produce more skilled workers locally for local jobs. Right now, Lafayette depends on three primary industries, petroleum, health care, and higher education. Further, the plan also wants to leverage research and development activity at the University of Louisiana Lafayette to grow local businesses.
- Transportation and Mobility
With the increasing population, congestion on roadways is worsening. The plan wants to address this problem by increasing road network connectivity and expanding the availability of alternative travel options.
The plan recognizes that Lafayette must make timely investments in electric, water, wastewater, and telecommunications systems to handle future growth and continue to provide reliable service at competitive rates.
- Community Facilities and Services
The plan identifies that Lafayette must continue to provide high-quality police, fire, and EMS services as the community grows. Additionally, school facilities needs must be addressed to ensure that local graduates are receiving the training and skills they need to compete in the job market and contribute to the community. The plan hopes to improve coordination across all parishes in the Acadiana region.
- Recreation and Open Space
PlanLafayette 2035 wants to maintain and expand Lafayette’s parks, recreations, and open spaces to provide opportunities for all residents to enjoy Lafayette’s natural resources. The plan seeks to promote a healthy community.
- Resource Conservation
Currently, the region is at high risk of flooding, which is a significant concern to citizens and local businesses. To address this issue, the plan seeks to monitor and maintain the existing drainage network and conserve and protect natural resources.