I had found on some of the websites on Baton Rouge that there was a free trolley which the merchants of downtown Baton Rouge subsidized so that people could get around downtown after they parked and perhaps eat in the restaurants or buy from the stores.
We at lunch in the little cafeteria in the capital basement. When we got finished with lunch, we went out to stand where Bob had seen the free trolley stop when he was up in the tower.
Pretty soon the trolley came along and we got on. But the windows were so dirty that we couldn't see anything out of them, which kind of was my point in taking the trolley.
The driver did not adhere to the published route either - because I had a map and I could not follow what she was doing on it. Also the ride was EXTREMELY rough, and was not made any better by the speed bumps around the government buildings that were every 10 feet or so.
Trolley's now run Monday-Friday from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Trolleys are a FREE downtown service!
Almost all the parking was meters or garages. I tried to find the garage where we could take the free trolley from, but was not successful.
I thought that there ought to be a visitor's center somewhere, and indeed there was, but it was very poorly signed, and we drove past it at least once and up around the back of the capital where there was a lot of construction.
They were building something on the street in front of the capitol and that street was blocked off too. When we asked, we were told that the construction in front of the capitol was stands for the media photographers for the swearing in of the Governor which was to take place the following Monday.
The second time I insisted that this was the visitor's center, and made Bob let me out and told him to go park. There was a gravel area right next to the river which appeared to be free parking. He parked there and waited for me. The VIsitor's Center said that they had a garage being built - we later saw it from the top of the Capital.
After I finished with the visitor's center, we drove up the road about three blocks and parked again in that piece of waste ground by the river (where other people were also parked) for free, and walked over to the Capitol.
Remember--Baton Rouge is just now realizing that its city facilities have to match its growth and size. That being said, the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport has developed considerably within the last six years under the leadership of an active and progressive commission, and it continues to grow.
Most of the regional air traffic is directed toward New Orleans, but increasingly travelers to South Louisiana are opting to fly into Baton Rouge and rent vehicles (especially during heavy tourist events like the Superbowl, Mardi Gras, etc.). BTR offers direct flights from regional "hub" airports Houston Intercontinental, Memphis, Dallas/Ft. Worth, and Atlanta on either Continental, Delta, American, or Northwest.
A new direct route between BTR and Las Vegas on Allegiant Airlines has been approved by the Baton Rouge Airport Commission and the metro council, and this service is expected to begin May 10.
Allegiant Airlines press release
One of Baton Rouge's main problems is that it wasn't designed to grow as much as it has.
So when the brilliant city fathers (ahem--I couldn't even type that with a straight face) were allocating land for the construction of Interstate 10 through the city in the 1960s, they constructed a three-laned bridge. OK, that's sounds reasonable. But once you cross the bridge and reach the interchange with Interstate 110 (or approach the bridge from the opposite side), the highway narrows to ONE lane.
That's right--the major nationwide artery that is bringing traffic into the city from as far away as Los Angeles, California narrows to ONE lane!
As you can imagine, rush hours through this corridor are hellish to say the least. I can see the bridge from my window at work, and it seems that the buildup in the afternoon both inbound and outbound begins around 2:30 or 3 p.m. That is when the volume gets steadily heavier, and if you throw an accident into the mix and combine it with the downtown workers heading home, you've got a really long traffic jam that in some cases can stretch for as many as 5 to 10 miles or more, and not clear out completely until 6 or 7 p.m.
If you are going to be travelling through Baton Rouge, or to the city and you need to be somewhere at a certain time, budget extra time for yourself if you are coming through this interchange, especially on a weekday afternoon.
An alternative route if you are coming into Baton Rouge is to exit onto Louisiana Highway 1 ("LA 1") in Port Allen or Louisiana Highway 415 ("LA 415") in Lobdell and go north a few miles to U.S. Highway 190. There you can cross the "old" bridge into the north side of Baton Rouge and head south down I-110. The current city geniuses (ahem) have re-striped the I-110 southbound merge to I-10, but unless you are driving through when all of the state workers downtown are heading home, it is a much easier ride.
The Baton Rouge Downtown Development District has now initiated a trolley system that runs through downtown Baton Rouge weekdays from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (If you are from Dallas, Texas, the trolleys may look REALLY familiar.) The system has just started, but it's coverage of downtown is fairly decent (several stops between the Capitol and the Sheraton/Argosy Casino), and there are really no long waits. (They estimate no more than 6 minutes between each trolley.) They aren't much, but believe me, as a resident of Baton Rouge it is a HUGE step in the right direction for this car-dominated city. Take it from me, I work downtown and it is a quick, easy, and comfortable way to get around.
See the website below for more information.
By Road : I-10 comes in from Lafayette (LA) and Houston (TX) in the west and New Orleans in the south. I-61 leads in from Natchez (LA). Downtown itself is very easy to navigate as well.
By Air : Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport is located about five miles north of the city centre and five airlines serve the area.
One thing I noticed here is that there are a lot of nice, straight, uncrowded, and therefore relatively fast highways with a speed limit of 70. That makes getting around this state and neighboring states easy. Baton Rouge has a small municipal airport served primarily by Delta and American/American Eagle and USAir. I generally fly USAir out of Hartford because it's an easy 4 hour flight with a stop in Charlotte, NC.
By car or plane. Flying into New Orleans (MSY) is usually less expensive than Baton Rouge (BTR), and the New Orleans Airport is just a little more than an hour away from Baton Rouge.
You pretty much have to have a car in Baton Rouge.
Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport is served by four airlines: Delta, Continental, Northwest, and American. • www.ci.baton-rouge.la.us/Dept/Airport/default.HTM
[image obtained from internet]
The best way to travel in Baton Rouge would be by car. But, you should be aware that there is much traffic during the early mornings and late afternoon. And it seems that Louisiana has a thing for always working on the interstate no matter where you are. But at least we have better roads then we use to!
Tiger Airport Shuttle is a now running a shuttle between the New Orleans Airport and Baton Rouge. They have rates as low as $39.95 each way.