Transportation for Livable Communities releases 2014 Voters Guide for the New Orleans City Council and Mayoral Elections

For Immediate Release, 1/15/14

Media Contact: Rachel Heiligman, 504-345-8360, rachel@rideneworleans.org

NEW ORLEANS – Transportation for Livable Communities, a coalition of New Orleans transportation, public health, environmental and community-based organizations, today announced the release of its 2014 Voters Guide for City Council and Mayoral candidates in the February 1st election.

The document provides voters with candidate positions on several issues related to sustainable, safe, affordable and healthy transportation. Questionnaire topics include:

  • public transit and the RTA’s financial outlook
  • infrastructure and programs for pedestrian and bicycle safety
  • neighborhood parks and green spaces
  • implementing the city’s Complete Streets ordinance
  • transportation needs for all New Orleans residents, especially seniors, people with disabilities and low-income families

The guide is also an outlet for candidates to give voters their opinions about specific transportation equity issues, which are often under-represented in elections and political debates.

In New Orleans, 19 percent of households don’t have access to a vehicle, and transportation is the second highest expenditure for families – so for many New Orleans residents having sustainable, safe, affordable and healthy transportation is vital in order to access jobs and critical services.

More information about the Transportation for Livable Communities Voters Guide is available online at www.transportationforlivablecommunities.org. Click here for a copy of the Transportation for Livable Communities Voter’s Guide.

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About the Transportation for Livable Communities Questionnaire & Voter’s Guide:

The candidate questionnaire and voter’s guide was drafted by a diverse coalition of organizations advocating for equitable access to sustainable, safe, affordable, and healthy transportation choices in all New Orleans neighborhoods. Member organizations include: Bike Easy, Friends of the Lafitte Corridor, KidsWalk Coalition at Tulane University, Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, Merritt C. Becker Jr. Transportation Institute at the University of New Orleans, Stay Local/Urban Conservancy, Ride New Orleans, Sierra Club, and the Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association.

New Orleans earns ‘Bronze’ Walk Friendly Community designation!

We are pleased to announce that the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) has recognized New Orleans as a “Bronze” level Walk Friendly Community! The “Walk Friendly” title means that the city successfully works to improve a wide range of conditions related to walking, including safety, mobility, access, and comfort. New Orleans joins the ranks of Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Flagstaff, Arizona, among the eight other cities that PBIC has awarded “Bronze” status. To date, 24 communities in the U.S. have been designated as Walk Friendly Communities.

This year the KidsWalk Coalition supported the city’s application to the program, which helps communities benchmark existing policies and programs that make walking safer and more convenient. By helping the city improve walking conditions around schools and making complete streets, we’re aiming to elevate New Orleans to silver, gold and eventually platinum status.

PBIC awarded New Orleans for its compact, well connected street grid; the public outreach conducted during the 2030 master plan process; the Safe Routes to School program and our work auditing school neighborhood walking conditions; the adoption of the Complete Streets policy and development of an ADA Transition Plan.

But we have work to do! PBIC gives New Orleans several recommendation to improve walking, including: start a pedestrian count program; enforce yielding to pedestrian laws; and reducing pedestrian crashes.

Last September, New Orleans was recognized by a similar program as a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community.

Have an idea to make New Orleans more “walk-friendly?” Let us know! Or for inspiration, check out the good work other cities have been up to.

Significant progress made on ramp inventory/ ADA Transition plan!

KidsWalk Coalition is plowing through its inventory of curb ramp conditions throughout New Orleans, and estimates the ADA Transition Plan it is developing with the Department of Public Works will identify 1400-1500 ramps in need of construction or repair. As of today, KidsWalk interns Jibrin

Tahnee measures a curb ramp slope in the French Quarter

Kama and Tahnee Regent have inspected 292 different intersections and identified 1,028 ramps in need of construction or repair. The inventory is over half-way complete, and should be finished by early August, at which point the Coalition will work with the Department of Public Works to establish a schedule for repairing the inadequate ramps.

An ADA Transition Plan draft outline has been developed with information on its purpose, the City’s responsibilities under the ADA, the planning process, responsible parties and a schedule for improving and maintaining curb ramps in the city. Later this year the Plan will be subject to a public comment process, giving residents an opportunity to chime in and make recommendations. The goal is for the City to adopt and implement this Transition Plan, which sets a course for making high priority streets and sidewalks accessible. To learn more, send a message to Matt at mrufo@tulane.edu.

Stepping to School presented to City Council

The word is getting out! On  May 24th representatives of the KidsWalk Coalition presented the report Stepping to School to the New Orleans City Council Transportation Committee. Coalition Director Kathryn Parker-Karst and Sara Massey, Executive Director of Communities in Schools shared the study’s findings and recommendations with Committee Chair Kristin Gisleson Palmer.

Recommendations include prioritizing sidewalk and crosswalk maintenance at the most at risk school neighborhoods in New Orleans; creating a sidewalk maintenance program in collaboration with neighborhood associations; making the new Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) walk- and bike-friendly; inspecting sidewalks through Code enforcement; and adopting and funding a city-wide “Complete Streets” policy.

Check out the presentation online and see Councilmember Palmer’s feedback for helping make New Orleans streets safer for pedestrians.