Master Plan
The City of Natchitoches has hired the Rapids Area Planning Commission (RAPC) in partnership with Bantam Strategy Group, two experienced planning agencies, to create a city-wide Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan which will include a Bikeshare Feasibility and Implementation Plan serving the City of Natchitoches and Northwestern State University.

Bicycle and pedestrian efforts are advancing in mid-size and small cities across the country, offering another transportation option as some people opt to pedal as a healthier alternative. RAPC and Bantam Strategy Group will be working through an eight-to-ten month process which includes several layers of quantitative and qualitative factors to complete this plan. Some of the goals of the plan are to: capture non-motorized vehicle needs and setting goals for the urbanized area; reducing bike/ped related crashes and encourage safety education, promote the use of alternative transportation modes and equity, and develop a strategy for branding the bike/ped network.

“It is important to the City of Natchitoches and Northwestern State University that this is a unified, city-wide plan that can be implemented and ultimately enhances our community. Most recently through the State’s construction project of LA Hwy 478, the City requested bicycle lane signs be implemented on this highway. Since implementation these bicycle lanes have been utilized by our local Bike Natchitoches group as well as others visiting the area.” said Mayor Lee Posey. “RAPC has experience with creating foundationally solid bike/ped networks and as a forethought positioning these projects to be eligible for public and private funding.”

Additionally, Bantam Strategy Group will be evaluating the feasibility of a bikeshare system which includes a demand analysis, exploring the various bikeshare business models available, and outlining a practicable system business pro-forma. Some of these efforts include a website with interactive mapping, community outreach meetings, and several layers of GIS analysis to determine the fleet size and service area. To learn more about the bikeshare portion of this study visit and follow the Natchitoches Bikeshare Facebook page.

“Connecting people regardless of socio-economic status to places and communities in Natchitoches with an accessible and sustainable alternative transportation network is the ultimate mission,” said Lindsey G. West, President and CEO of Bantam Strategy Group. “Bikeshare is a tool in the transportation ‘toolkit’. We are excited to partner with RAPC, the City, the University and other local partners to enhance the way residents, students, and visitors move and explore this community.”

RAPC secured safety funding from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) for the development of this plan with the municipality providing some local funding for the completion of the study to include bikeshare.

About RAPC:

The Rapides Area Planning Commission is a regional organization providing land use planning, development review, technical assistance, geographical information, and other planning and enforcement services for member governments as well as other partnered political subdivisions. RAPC is governed by a board of commissioners, which are appointed by the member jurisdictions. For more information, visit

About Bantam Strategy Group:

Bantam Strategy Group is the leading turn-key bikeshare consulting and implementation firm for small-medium size cities. Bantam currently consults or operates for 20+ communities and entities to make the bikeshare vision a reality, including several other Louisiana communities. Bantam has representing bikeshare on various national platforms and showcasing cycle-friendly communities. Bantam is a 100% women-owned business and headquartered in Baton Rouge, LA. For more information, visit


  1. Want a new business. Should have let the Casino by interstate. It would have brought plenty of tax money to us and businesses would have built up around it .

    • Simple answer! That would have benefited everyone in the parish! Would have taken attention AWAY from the other place in town.

  2. Given the popularity of sports here, an Academy store would probably do well, provided it can lure loyal customers away from mom-and-pop local sports equipment stores. But hanging out at a store isn’t going to give kids something to do in lieu of drugs. I wish I knew what to do to solve that problem, but it’s so complex.

    BUT, there was a dance club near the town where I grew up. Just for kids ages 10-18, no alcohol or tobacco allowed on premises. A DJ and dancing for kids who wanted to, video games for those who didn’t, plus concession bar. Named “Thumpers” (rabbit from Bambi movie, still kinda cool) and was packed every time I saw it. We also had a large pizza place with pool tables and video games where older teens and college students went. It also didn’t allow alcohol or tobacco on premises. No DJ but did have a jukebox.

    And my church had a kick-a** youth program. Activities for every day of the week just for teens. SURELY with all the churches here, a group of them could come up with something for kids to do besides sitting around being bored and depressed with nothing to look forward to besides getting high and wandering the streets.

    Hiring an outside firm to find out what we need to do? Nope. Hold some public forums and ask us …… parents, teachers, health care providers, business owners, etc…… We know our town, our kids and our problems.

    I have all our problems solved. Just ask me, LOL!!!!!!!

    • Big companies do their own studies before they open a new store and they look at more then one street and one weekend! They look at tax rates,schools,crime rates, structure and work force just to mention a few. Now look at those and where does natchitoches fit? How many new businesses have come and gone in the last few years? What survives Walmart and dollar stores cheap crap. Academy Sporting Goods?? Lol lucky they will even pass natchitoches on 49. And when something new does come to town like chicken express or Hardies they get no support . Now if you were a large company would you want to come here and risk millions? 10x the value for a piece of land, workforce that’s just out for a check and streets that destroy your car?

      • You know Natchitoches is a failure at attracting large chains when there is no CVS across the street from the Walgreens. They seem to pair up everywhere else.

      • well put M.Like myself and others I travel an hour one way to work,and on my time off I will leave to town to shop and eat and I sure wouldn’t buy a car locally.And I am so over walmart they are dirty un kept,no cashiers.I would rather pay more to travel for a Target or Sams club.Natchitoches thrives off festivals and NSU and the only good festival is the Jazz.

  3. if this close minded city did something on I-49 like a mall,target,Academy
    they could do very well,but they are content with a Walmart and an out of date Stage and the food in town is so predictable fried or burgers.What would it hurt to grow ? there is nothing here for the kids to do,high drug and crime rates this isn’t the town I grew up in .This is why most people drive and hour south or north to spend money.

    • I don’t think natchitoches wants to grow with industry of any kind. And it could be a boom town if they would not only sell it as just a tourist town . Middle of the state and on the interstate,train come through town and you have the port on red River .Perfect location for any type of a distribution center. I just don’t think they want to do it.

  4. Waste of money!!
    Just as well as the bicycle lane on 478 that doesn’t get used and the structure of the road is failing after just a few years of being reconstructed. Natchitoches needs a place for families to go and have fun, there is nothing. Break up the monopoly in Natchitoches and bring in a Lowe’s, Home Depot, Academy Sports, a good clothing store. Natchitoches needs to get out of a rut so everyone doesn’t have to drive to Alexandria or Shreveport to do some real shopping

    • very well said John.There is nothng to do in city limits and most people including myself leave town to shop elsewhere,food,clothes,cars,etc..The city cannot and will not grow,its old money and who you know.They live off front street and the god forsaken Xmas festival and I do not believe they need to charge residents who helped pay for riverbank renovation during festival.I can’t imagine what it costs to pay to get on the bank,eat,drinks and hotel the city is making bank !!

    • I always run to a Lowes or Home Depot when I want to have fun with the fam! The whole “bring a mall or shopping center to town” argument is very dated itself. Malls and even strip mall are dying. Even if Natty got one, we would in essence be dating ourselves bringing in something that is set up for failure. Now I wouldn’t mind shopping at a Target instead of our trashy Walmart, but I think that has way more to do with the fact that Natty doesn’t have the population to support 2 major shopping centers.

      Can we get back to complaining about roads?

      • You’re dead-on about the death throes of malls. And N-Town has enuf strip malls. It would be great for Target to give our local Walmart some well-needed competition. I’m curious about why you think our Walmart is trashy. The clientele? The cleanliness of the store itself? The quality of the inventory? Or the seemingly lackadaisical attitude of some of the workers? I’ve complained about the foul language I’ve heard workers use in the store, but I’ve also appreciated the helpfulness some of them show to a customer with physical challenges.

      • if they could guarantee Target to come in and close Walmart it would
        do so much more business,the inventory is nicer,groceries are nicer just a better place then Walmart,never short cashiers.But I am with Steve lets talk about roads.

    • The companies that you mention do open locations in areas without the the population or income levels to support them. I’m not sure anybody can really “bring them in” I am sure they also consider the suitability of the local workforce. I’m not making a judgment it’ is just something to consider.

      • Edit Do not open locations without the population or the approximately level of income. The question they ask is simple”can enough of the folks that live there afford to shop with us?”

  5. requirements for bike masterplan to b success:
    all citizens must b able to spell bicycle.
    able citizens must ride a bicycle to work at least 1x per week and then explain to the masterplanners how they survived n natchitoches wo being killed.
    hav suicidal person ride bike on wet cobblestones w witnesses present.
    masterplanners must b qualified to explain n great detail the diferences between a bicyclist and a cyclist.
    live n colorado springs,co for 1 year and observe and report how motorists and bicyclists exist n equal sharing of the road w respect , consideration n knowledge of state laws regarding the rights of bicycles on roadways.
    expain to me why i havent been awarded
    luckiest man alive, natchitoches, la for cycling 100 mi per week within city limits for 10 yrs and still alive to tell about it.
    theres much mor, however i personally feel this concept is a great idea n the wrong place n time….luckily i hav acquired the knowledge n skills to ride a bike n this town and survive but not without many very close calls w motorists, potholes, beer bottles, texters, phoners…..and the most dangerous…parents speeding to pickup kids for school or after school activities.
    …..i also will absolutely not ride on many streets here and hav designated streets i call my ‘ safe ‘ routes…..
    last but most important…..future bicyclists must b willing to pray immediately before mounting that iron horse and immediately after dismounting, if still functional, that beautiful piece of machinery..and thank God for their survival!
    final word…..doesnt the word ‘masterplan ‘ make people kinda nervous?
    any comments plse contact me at:

  6. Go to Alexandria and look at the result of their plan. Wasted money. We have the people here to do a better job without the cost.


    • I’m guessing tax money would pay for a bike trail, whereas recycling was paid for, in part, when we paid our monthly utility bills.

  8. 2 reasons this will never work. 1) The trash in this city will steal all of the bikes in the bike share. 2) Someone will be killed on a bike the way our ignorant citizens drive. We will spend a bunch of money to bring a program here to fail.

  9. I am always skeptical when these consulting firms are hired to do what a properly led local group of interested citizens can do. That said, I hope it proves to be money well-spent. I support a city-wide plan to enhance and encourage walking and riding bikes. Right now, neither is very safe in Natchitoches.

    And hello! the NPD will have to be actively involved in enforcing any designated lanes for walking/cycling. In this town if you drive a big pick-up truck, with oversized tires and loud pipes, the police go off and hide, and turn a blind eye to all your traffic violations. Not to mention the loud pipes are against the law in the first place.

    I digress! Yes, it’s a good idea to encourage healthier choices for transportation.

    • city needs different types of transportation. for example,Rickshaws,bicycles,donkeys ,skateboard,hovercraft.And these
      are all quieter then loud pipes.

      • Hovercraft… LOL.

        I’ve been complaining about people riding bikes around where I live. There aren’t any sidewalks, and the shoulder is about 12 inches that plummets into a ditch. I’m afraid I’ll hit a cyclist because they’re out there at night and are hard to see. It wouldn’t hurt for the city or parish to paint lines so we can see the road at night.

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