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.

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Streets will transform into playground at New Orleans’ Play Streets

Easy Streets picFor one day, a few New Orleans streets will come alive with people walking, cycling, dancing and playing games, all free of cars and exhaust. That’s the goal of Play Streets Ciclovia on Oct. 26.

Other Play Streets events have been held and are planned for parks and playgrounds. But this first-of-its-kind event on Oct. 26 will bring people together in the street from 9 a.m. to noon to walk and talk, get moving and feel good. Other cities across the world have created similar street-based events, also called Open Streets or Ciclovias. There’s no start or finish line, and it will be free to the public.

The plan is to close the lake-bound traffic lanes of Esplanade Avenue from N. Claiborne Avenue to Bayou Road, and Bayou Road from Esplanade Avenue to N. Broad Street. Then event partners will repurpose the street space for people to walk, ride, dance and play. The goal is to take this type of open streets event to different parts of the city in the future, so more neighborhoods can experience it.

“It is about rejuvenating New Orleans,” says Jamie Wine, executive director of Bike Easy, a local bike-advocacy group and lead coordinator of the event. “It’s about creating a city that people want to work and live in and be healthy.”

Potential activities include dance classes, sports games, Double Dutch, biking and walking groups, cooking demonstrations and fresh food.

“When we show that streets can serve more than just cars and trucks, we can reimagine streets as these great places for walking, biking and staying healthy,” says Naomi Doerner, program manager for the KidsWalk Coalition at the Tulane Prevention Research Center.

“And by creating safe spaces for physical activity, we are helping make the healthy choice the easy choice.”

Play Streets Ciclovia is looking for more program partners to lead, organize and create wellness activities, and also educate the participants of Play Streets. The goal is to have more than 50 program partners for the day of the event and help lead the way for subsequent future events across the city. Sponsors include American Traffic Solutions, Bike Easy, New Orleans Health Department, Louisiana Public Health Institute, Partnership for a Healthier America’s Play Streets program and the KidsWalk Coalition at the Tulane Prevention Research Center.

Traffic safety campaign features KidsWalk Coalition

American Traffic Solutions have teamed up with partners in New Orleans to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding and red-light running. The campaign not only explains the dangers to vulnerable populations (bicyclists, walkers and children), but also how the camera systems work to reduce injuries and fatalities.

Featured in the video is Dr. Kathryn Parker, director of KidsWalk Coalition and assistant director of The Prevention Research Center at Tulane University, who states, “Traffic cameras really do reduce speeding and collisions in schools zones and thereby improve safety for children and families walking in school zones.” Also featured in the video is partner Jamie Wine, executive Director of Bike Easy, Lt. Anthony Micheu, New Orleans Policy Department, and Deputy Chief Ken Bouvier, New Orleans EMS.

New bike lanes open in New Orleans

More bike lanes have been added to New Orleans’ growing network, and the latest addition was officially opened on June 24 at a ribbon-cutting ceremony complete with media outlets, bike advocates and local politicians, such as New Orleans Cityphoto 2 photo 3 photo 4 Councilwoman Susan Guidry and New Orleans Deputy Mayor Cedric Grant.

The $5 million project included installing bike lanes on Esplanade Avenue from Moss Street to North Claiborne Avenue and on City Park Avenue from Canal Boulevard to Orleans Avenue. The project also included handicap ramps, repaving, curb repairs and other work.

Staff from the KidsWalk Coalition, and the coalition members, worked with government officials to research various options of upgrades for this project.

The road work is part of Paths to Progress, a $90 million government program for road work in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. Paths to Progress is a collaborative effort between the Federal Highway Administration, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, New Orleans Regional Planning Commission, City of New Orleans, Jefferson Parish and the City of Kenner.

For more information about Paths to Progress, visit www.pavinglaroads.com.

Success Prep Academy celebrates first annual Bike to School Day

Forty K-5 students at Success Prep Academy participated in the first annual Bike to School Day, this month. Each received new bicycles and helmets and learned safety tips and the rules of the road.

Success Prep students learn bicycle safety

Each spring, volunteer employees of Kaiser Permanente visit New Orleans to do service projects, which this year included assembly and donation of the bikes to schoolchildren. Through a partnership with Communities in Schools, HandsOn New Orleans, Bike Easy and the KidsWalk Coalition, the volunteers were matched with the Success Prep students who have shown excellent leadership in fulfilling the school’s core values: respect, service, achievement, enthusiasm and teamwork.

According to Communities in Schools Executive Director Sara Massey, the give-away has encouraged students to ride to school. “First, several kids rode their bikes to school on Bike to School day.  A few were the kids with the new bikes; others were not!” she said. ” A teaching assistant rode a bike along with a student, and a few teachers rode their bikes who usually drive.”

The KidsWalk Coalition thanks Kaiser Permanente for the generous gift, and recognizes Success Prep and Communities in Schools for their leadership in keeping kids healthy by making it easier for them to be physically active!

Sunday Times-Picayune features review of bicycling progress in New Orleans

Current status of New Orleans bikeways

Did you see this weekend’s coverage in the Time-Picayune of all the great things going on in New Orleans for bicyclists?  Check it out to learn what local organizations have been up to, including the Tulane Prevention Research Center, Bike Easy, Where Ya’ Rack?, Plan B and NolaCycle.