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.

KidsWalk Breakfast Roundtable July 30

Active and Ready to Learn: Transportation’s Role in Creating Healthy and Academic Ready Students

Tulane University’s Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives and KidsWalk Coalition at the Tulane Prevention Research Center are proud to co-sponsor a free breakfast roundtable discussion about the role transportation plays in the health and academic readiness of New Orleans’ school-age children. Please join us for breakfast and to contribute to an important conversation about creating social change through transportation for better health and academic readiness outcomes for our city’s youth.
When: Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
Where: Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation, 2035 Washington Avenue, Suite 105, New Orleans, LA 70125
Speakers:
Kathryn Parker, Ph.D., Director, KidsWalk Coalition at the Tulane Prevention Research Center
Debra Vaughan, Director of Research, Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives
Shalanda Cole, MBA, Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
Mark Jernigan, LTC. (Ret.), Director, City of New Orleans Department of Public Works
Cyndi Nguyen, Executive Director, Vietnamese Initiatives for Economic Training
Sophia Griffies, Development Specialist, Audubon Charter School
*Space is limited. RSVP required by Noon Monday, July 29, 2013 via eventbrite or phone at 504-658-8045.
Special thanks to Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation for the use of its space. This event is possible through generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Active Living by Design, Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities program.

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.

Safe Routes National Partnership presents two free webinars this month

From the Safe Routes to School National Partnership:

“This summer, we have produced a flurry of updates, e-mail announcements and blog posts about the impact of the new transportation bill, MAP-

SRTS National Partnership logo21, on Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking. We know that amount of information can be daunting as you try to figure out what’s next for your community and your state.

The League of American Bicyclists, the Alliance for Bicycling and Walking and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership are partnering to offer a series of webinars on the implications of MAP-21 for Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking.

Registration is now open for the first two webinars – see below for the details on each. This is your chance to hear from the national organizations who worked on MAP-21 about the details of the legislation and how you can get involved in efforts in your state to maximize funding for Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking. Plus, there will be time on each webinar for you to ask questions.

Webinar 1:  The ABCs of MAP-21
Monday, August 13, 2012 from 2:00pm-3:30pm EDT
The first of the Navigating MAP 21 webinar series, this session will explain the basics of the new law, what it means for bicyclists and how we can harness the opportunities to fund bicycling and walking projects and programs. Join Caron Whitaker, campaign manager for America Bikes; Randy Neufeld, director of SRAM Cycling Fund; and Darren Flusche, policy director for the League of American Bicyclists and Advocacy Advance.
Register now for the ABCs of MAP-21!

Webinar 2: Navigating MAP-21: The Safe Routes to School Edition
Monday, August 27, 2012 from 2:00pm-3:00pm EDT
This webinar builds on the “Navigating MAP-21” series being held by the League of American Bicyclists and the Alliance for Bicycling and Walking. This webinar focuses specifically on the impact of the new transportation law, MAP-21, on Safe Routes to School, and what you can do to ensure that Safe Routes to School survives and thrives in your community and state. Join Margo Pedroso, deputy director, and Robert Ping, technical assistance director, from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership for this informative session.
Register now for the Safe Routes to School Edition of Navigating MAP-21!

There will be additional webinars in this series, so stay tuned for future announcements.

*Long distance charges apply accordingly if you choose to call in to the webinar.
**Recordings of the webinar will be available after the original broadcasts.”

New school zone times to start in August

Ever notice that New Orleans schools often let out far later in the day than current school zone times? ImageWith increasingly longer school days, our school zones are woefully obsolete. That’s why the city is changing its times this summer in preparation for the 2012-2013 school year. The times will change from 7:30am-8:45am to 7:00am-9:00am and from 2:30pm-3:45pm to 2:45pm-4:45pm. The KidsWalk Coalition informed this decision by reaching out to public schools to determine their various start and close times.

We applaud the this change to accommodate shifting school operation schedules. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle moving 20 mph has a 5 percent chance of dying. As vehicle speed increases to 30 mph and 40 mph, the likelihood that the pedestrian will be killed increases to 45 percent and 85 percent respectively (U.K. Department of Transportation, Killing Speed and Saving Lives, London, 1987). By slowing driver speeds, the expanded school zone hours will enhance the much-need opportunity for New Orleans children and families to be physically active by walking and biking to school.

 

New Orleans schools awarded more than $500,000 to create Safe Routes to School

The KidsWalk Coalition is excited to announce that in May, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development awarded nearly $600,000 to New Orleans schools for projects aimed at improving pedestrian safety. These projects, which are provided through the Safe Routes to School program, will bring upgraded sidewalks, crosswalks and traffic signals to Einstein Charter School and Audubon Charter School’s campuses.

Funded by the federal Department of Transportation, the Safe Routes to School program seeks to improve the health of kids and communities by making walking and bicycling to school safer, easier and more enjoyable. This year, the KidsWalk Coalition coordinated three joint applications between the City of New Orleans and New Orleans schools.

Image

Area near Einstein Charter School where sidewalk will be built

In addition to providing up to $250,000 for improvements to sidewalks, crosswalks, signage, traffic signals and other pedestrian infrastructure, Safe Routes to School offers up to $50,000 for education, encouragement, and enforcement programs. This year, the state awarded Vietnamese Initiatives in Economic Training (VIET) with funds to improve pedestrian safety in the Michoud and Village de l’Est neighborhoods and organize programs for students at Einstein Charter School. Audubon Charter School received funding for similar uses, such as a Walking School Bus, at its two campuses in Black Pearl.

The KidsWalk Coalition looks forward to working with these schools as the Safe Routes to School projects unfold, and sharing the excitement of the communities that will benefit from these improvements.