Opinion: Marty Carlson – James Porter visits the Bossier City Council

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James Porter visits the Bossier City Council

Last Tuesday’s Bossier City Council meeting was the occasion to meet another of Bossier’s fine young people. Bossier High School Senior James Porter visited the council meeting to present the city’s police department with a “Thank You” poster signed by many of his Waller and central Bossier area neighbors.
Porter’s presentation was the final, albeit originally unplanned, part of his senior project – a graduation requirement for students attending Bossier Parish schools.

He later explained that his project involved studying military and police operations. “I studied the history of policing and what they have to go through to protect our streets today. I spent time with police and military (members) and asked about their duty. They taught me how they worked in safe or dangerous places.”
Advisors for Porter’s project included SFC Heath Williams and SSgt Christopher Jones from Bossier’s US Army Recruiting station. Porter said his project drew some negative reaction from “… more than just students” who weren’t fans of law enforcement because of what they’d heard on the news.

“I wanted to show that the police are important to the community and even with things people see on the news, police are doing a good job.”
And Porter took that assessment one step further, in creating the “Thank You” poster and then spending a week of after-school-time on his bicycle visiting neighbors to invite signatures on the poster. He said that although some folks declined, most shared his belief that our law enforcement members are doing a good job in protecting our community.
Bossier City Police Department Deputy Chief Richard McGee accepted the thanks on behalf of the city’s police officers – pointing out that poster was a little water-spotted. That, said McGee, was because several of the days Porter was gathering signatures, he was riding in the rain.

Not surprisingly, Porter aced his senior project. He also mentioned that he expects to pursue a military career – in law enforcement. We wish him well in all his future endeavors.
In other Council news, Tuesday’s meeting took another step forward in extending the ART Parkway north to Benton Road. Council members approved a $2 million appropriation from the 2015 LCDA Capital Projects Fund for acquisition of right-of-way along the planned route of the extension.

This extension to the parkway will take the road from its current southern terminus at Parkway High School to Benton Road (in proximity to Melrose Avenue). It will include a railroad overpass similar to that over Benton Road. Cost of the extension is expected to be in the neighborhood of $25 million.
And that means that in the foreseeable future, a motorist could drive from Parkway High School to Airline High School – and never drive across railroad tracks – which would constitute a little traffic history for Bossier.

But that’s not the end of the parkway’s growth; the Bossier Parish Police Jury’s transportation plan will take the road further south to Taylortown, and perhaps beyond.
While we look forward to this extended north-south route, drivers who travel Shed Road between Airline Drive and Benton Road will be grumbling for awhile, but for a good cause – the improvements to Shed Road are about to get underway. On the other hand, Airline Drive motorists can look forward to the opening of the Airline relief road which will allow access to Viking Drive on the new road routed behind Airline’s commercial development.

It’s going to take some more time and patience – but driving around Bossier City is becoming a simpler and less frustrating exercise. We might take a little wisdom from James Porter, and let council members know they’re doing a good job on this front.

Marty Carlson is a columnist for the BPT. She may be reached at martycarlson1218@gmail.com