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.

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.

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.

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.

Complete streets info session to give public an introduction to new City policy

Wondering what’s with all the fuss about complete streets?

This informational session is an opportunity for citizens, advocates, and businesses to learn about complete streets, the national trend toward complete streets approaches, and the City’s new complete streets approach to street improvements.  In December 2011 the City of New Orleans adopted a historical complete streets ordinance that will guide future decisions about how transportation investments are made in the City of New Orleans.  Over the next few months, various City agencies will work together to implement a complete streets policy.  The approach will better ensure that transportation improvements are planned, designed, and constructed to encourage multiple modes of transportation including walking, bicycling, driving, and transit.

Representatives from various City agencies will be participating in a one day workshop earlier the same day to plan future implementation of complete streets in New Orleans. Attendees at the evening session will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide input at this early stage in the process.  National experts on Complete Streets will also be on hand to answer questions.

 

Subject:          Complete Streets for New Orleans Informational Session

Date:               Thursday, March 8, 2012

Time:               7:00pm-8:30pm

Presenters:    City of New Orleans in partnership with Smart Growth America, National Complete Streets Coalition, and the New Orleans Regional Planning Commission

Location:        Regional Transportation Management Center

10 Veterans Memorial Blvd.

New Orleans, Louisiana 70124-1162

Bike parking is available. The site is accessible from the RTA #45 bus line.

New Orleans is first in state with official Complete Streets policy!

Photo by Jennifer Ruley

It’s official! Today the New Orleans City Council unanimously passed a Complete Streets ordinance for the City of New Orleans. Prior to testimony from a number of members of the public speaking in favor of the policy, Deputy Mayor Cedric Grant endorsed the proposal, calling it one of the strongest in the country. The new policy states:

“The Council of the City of New Orleans shall establish and implement a Complete Streets program by requiring that all planning, designing, funding, construction, operation, and maintenance of the City’s transportation network to accommodate and encourage travel for all users, including bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities, motorists, movers of commercial goods, pedestrians, users of public transportation, and seniors in a balanced, responsible, and equitable manner consistent with, and supportive of, the surrounding community. “

Congratulations to all of our members who worked so hard to inform and advocate for this landmark achievement! The policy calls for the City to fully implement the program by December 1, 2012, and our staff will provide technical assistance to the Department of Public Works to help meet this objective.