Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tulane Avenue improvements coming in August

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 5:15 PM

click image Tulane Avenue in 2015. - PAUL SABLEMAN/FLICKR
  • Tulane Avenue in 2015.
When officials with the Regional Planning Commission first announced a $10 million beautification project to a stretch of Tulane Avenue in Mid-City, they described a plan that would “significantly improve visual quality” along the corridor, as well as enhance pedestrian and bicycle mobility and safety.

Five years and nearly $5 million later, officials still tout final plans for a safer, wider street reduced from six lanes to four, thanks to improvements that will extend from South Carrollton to South Claiborne avenues.

What didn’t make the cut, however, are features that could have helped “reinvent” Tulane Avenue, as neighbors had hoped.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Bicycle Birthday Bash marks 150 years of cycling on July 9 at Castillo Blanco

Posted By on Wed, Jul 6, 2016 at 5:52 PM

  • Louisiana Cycling Club Spokes Scrapbook, accession 98-62-L,Williams Research Center, The Historic New Orleans Collection

The bicycle was invented 150 years ago, and bicycle clubs soon followed. New Orleans cycling historian Lacar Musgrove writes about bicycle clubs in 19th-century Louisiana. She organized a birthday bash for the bicycle at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 9 at Castillo Blanco Art Studios (4321 St. Claude Ave.). The party includes talks about cycling, bicycle presentations and rides and a dance party with Mod Dance Party’s DJ Matty. Attendees are welcome to display their bikes, tricycles and pedal-powered contraptions.

There also is a presentation on 19th century bicycle art and imagery at Bar Redux (801 Poland Ave.) at 5 p.m. and there is an Art Ride on St. Claude Avenue. The party is a fundraiser for Bike Easy, an organization that advocates for safer biking in the city.

Musgrove spoke with Gambit about cycle clubs in Louisiana and the event:

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

"NOLA Readiness Ride" spotlights evacuation points

Posted By on Thu, May 19, 2016 at 11:17 AM

Evacuspot sculpture unveiled in Armstrong Park. - ALEX WOODWARD
  • Evacuspot sculpture unveiled in Armstrong Park.

Volunteers from Evacuteer, a nonprofit that assists with the city's emergency evacuation programs, will ride RTA public transit lines June 1-3 to share information for the hurricane season beginning in June. 

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Monday, May 2, 2016

City provides sinkhole driving map for motorists; translation requested

Posted By on Mon, May 2, 2016 at 5:04 PM

By now you know there's a sinkhole regular old hole in the middle of Canal Street right between The Shops at Canal Place and Harrah's New Orleans — an abyss that's going to take 3 to 6 months to repair, according to city officials.

Since this may be a traffic factor until, oh, Halloween, the city has issued the following map to help you get around downtown:

We have some questions. Let's break this down.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

NOLA Bike to Work Day rescheduled for April 20

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 1:54 PM


With rain in the forecast for the next several days, the Bike Easy organization has issued a media alert rescheduling NOLA Bike to Work Day. The event was originally set for Wednesday, April 13; it's been moved to Wednesday, April 20. On that day, riders can join groups departing from their neighborhoods and meet in Lafayette Square from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. to celebrate bike commuting. 

More information about NOLA Bike to Work Week activities can be found on the Bike Easy website.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Uber's latest gimmick: king cake delivery

Posted By on Tue, Jan 5, 2016 at 2:48 PM

The ride-sharing service Uber got lots of attention for delivering adoptable kittens and ice cream, but tomorrow — Twelfth Night, the beginning of Carnival season — Uber will be delivering Haydel's king cakes around the New Orleans metro area:
It’s carnival time, New Orleans! And to celebrate the official start of Mardi Gras, we are rollin’ out King Cakes On Demand again in New Orleans!

We’ve partnered with Haydel’s Bakery to deliver fresh king cakes right to your door. Experience on of the most famous Mardi Gras treats without leaving your house. Special King Cake deliveries will be made by the famous 610 Stompers and Panorama Jazz Band!
The king cake option will appear on the Uber app in the morning (see photo). Each king cake is $20, and the offer goes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or whenever king cake supplies are exhausted). 

It should be noted that Uber did its king cake promotion last year — but the cakes only were $15. Guess it's surge pricing.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

New Orleans CVB, downtown workers concerned about City Hall plan to double parking meter fees and extend hours

Posted By and on Wed, Nov 4, 2015 at 8:16 PM

A parking meter on Dumaine Street in the French Quarter. The city plans to increase parking rates in the Quarter and CBD to $3 per hour, and extend hours of meter operation until 10 p.m. - KEVIN ALLMAN
  • A parking meter on Dumaine Street in the French Quarter. The city plans to increase parking rates in the Quarter and CBD to $3 per hour, and extend hours of meter operation until 10 p.m.

Would you pay $3 per hour to park in the French Quarter, CBD and Warehouse District?

Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration is banking on it.

Early in the New Year, the city plans to hike parking meter rates across the city, particularly downtown. Rates would double in the tourism and nightlife district, and meter hours there would be extended from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. — a plan which Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), calls “an attack on the service industry workers who serve us.”

Konrad Kantor is one of those not happy with the plan. He’s the co-owner of El Libre, a Cuban cafe that opened in the Quarter in mid-September. “Over the last five or six years,” Kantor says, “I’ve paid about $4,000 in parking tickets, fines and towing.”

The owner of a corner bar in the Upper Quarter, who didn’t want to give his name, told Gambit he was concerned about the extra cost to his staff. “My customers, they take cabs or Uber, or they factor in the cost of parking,” he said. “But it’s really going to hit my employees.”

“My concern is not just the service industry — that’s just an inconvenience,” Kantor says, adding he’s worried about the effect on tourism, as well as people who drive into the Quarter from elsewhere in the city and from neighboring parishes. “The thing that’s a little disturbing is that it’s not a vote," he adds.

Indeed it's not. Sarah McLaughlin, communications director for Mayor Mitch Landrieu, clarified to Gambit that the rate hike will not require New Orleans City Council approval.

“Where is the money going to go?” Kantor asks.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bicycle Second Line rolls May 17

Posted By on Tue, May 12, 2015 at 11:56 AM


Events like Critical Mass—swaths of cyclists gathered to take back the streets—erupt in cities across the country from week to week, with a decidedly political message. But in New Orleans, there's a bicycle second line instead.   

It's Bike Easy's annual, casual, slow ride that leaves from and ends in City Park on May 17, led by the Red Hot Brass Band—think fewer politics, more music. The pace averages seven to 10 miles per hour.

The ride leaves from the lawn in front of the sculpture garden at 10 a.m., though Bike Easy is asking people to register around 9 a.m. It's free and open to the public, with a chance to buy or renew a Bike Easy membership and contribute to the organization's campaign to make New Orleans streets safer for cyclists. If you become a member at the second line, you get a free Bicycle Second Line t-shirt.

The Fraternal Order of Police and the New Orleans Police Department will also be on hand to help people register their bikes. The ride will return to the park around 1 p.m. 

If you don't have a bike, you can rent one at RideTHISBike (231 Dauphine St.), where a portion of the proceeds will go to Bike Easy. 

After the ride, you'll only be a few blocks from Bayou Boogaloo

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Jefferson Parish says no to Uber

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 5:39 PM


The Jefferson Parish Council voted to reject the expansion of transportation company Uber during its April 29 meeting, but it’s hard to say whether the Parish rejected Uber or whether the company rejected the Parish. In an email statement the day before the vote, Uber representatives wrote: “Unfortunately, Councilmembers are now considering changes to the existing draft that would threaten our ability to bring uberX and the jobs it creates to Jefferson Parish.”

Neither the bill nor the amendments passed, but Councilmember and co-sponsor of the bill Ben Zahn told Gambit that Uber supporters have failed to mention two important “facts” regarding consumer safety. “Uber must comply with the same application process that is required of other transportation/ride services in Jefferson Parish,” Zahn said in an email, “which mandates ‘pre-employment’ drug screenings of its drivers. All transportation/ride services must submit to a complete background check through a ‘fingerprint’ database, as opposed to a private company screening service.”

“We had been working on this legislation because when you look at Uber for the last five years, they have completely transformed the transportation industry,” Councilmember Cynthia Lee-Sheng told Gambit. “They are adding new cities all the time. I thought we should be proactive about putting forth a regulative framework, while at the same time ensure the safety of our individuals. At end of the day, Uber wasn’t even backing the legislation.”

Uber’s local general manager Tom Hayes said in a statement that “Jefferson Parish deserves the same access to safe rides and greater opportunity that residents in neighboring Orleans Parish, Baton Rouge, and hundreds of cities around the world depend on. We look forward to continuing to work to bring ridesharing to Jefferson Parish.”

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

UberX launches after all

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 3:53 PM

A packed chambers as the New Orleans City Council debated a ridesharing ordinance Thursday, April 9. - JEANIE RIESS
  • A packed chambers as the New Orleans City Council debated a ridesharing ordinance Thursday, April 9.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed a ridesharing ordinance into law yesterday, and today, San Francisco-based ridesharing app Uber began operating in the city of New Orleans. That's less an a week after local representatives of the company said it would not be able to operate under the ordinance's legal restrictions. 

Riders can now hail an UberX car by turning on the app and requesting rides. Last year, Uber introduced its black car service into New Orleans, Uber Black, but the rides were expensive and rarely available in the city. 

Uber's local general manager Tom Hayes told Gambit that the company has "determined that it was possible for us to launch uberX and begin providing ridesharing services through our platform, and we will continue to work closely with the Council and the Mayor's office as we move forward on this effort."

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