Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Your last chance to weigh in on RTA's 20-year plan is Nov. 13-14

Posted By on Tue, Nov 7, 2017 at 10:00 AM


Riders and the general public have one last chance to give feedback on Regional Transit Authority's (RTA's) Strategic Mobility Plan Nov. 13-14.

At two open houses — one in Kenner, one in the CBD — RTA will unveil a draft version of its plan to revamp public transit in the area over the next 20 years. The final plan is scheduled for release in December.

People who attend the meetings are invited to comment on aspects of the draft plan, including corridors RTA has singled out for faster, more frequent service; a new mobile app to track buses and streetcars in real time; potential partnerships with ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft and more. The proposed changes are partially based on feedback from riders via online surveys, one-on-one conversations and public events held earlier this year.

A draft revealed at a recent RTA Board of Commissioners meeting laid out ambitions to more than double its ridership via planned improvements.

Meetings take place at New Orleans Public Library's main branch (219 Loyola Ave.) at 6 p.m. Nov. 13 and at Kenner Senior Center (641 Compromise St., Kenner) at 6 p.m. Nov. 14.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

RTA: Canal Boulevard and City Park Avenue intersection to open in November

Posted By on Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 4:00 PM


At a Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Board of Commissioners meeting held Oct. 24, Transdev director of infrastructure Martin Pospisil announced he expects the intersection at Canal Boulevard and City Park Avenue to open to traffic by the end of November.

The intersection has been closed since July for work on the Cemeteries Transit Center Project, which will extend the Canal streetcar line across City Park Avenue toward Canal Boulevard transit shelters to facilitate rider transfers to connecting bus lines. Pospisil said at this point, the rail connection for the streetcar line is 90 percent in place, and the surrounding intersection is on track to open late next month.

There's still work to be done on the project — in December, RTA will test the line and  train streetcar operators and bus drivers. But Pospisil says the project currently is on time and under budget, and if the weather holds out (i.e., no significant rainfall), he anticipates that work will be completed on schedule.

Streetcar service is expected to begin at the intersection during the first week in January. A drone video of site progress is available online.

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Bike Easy's bicycle second line returns Oct. 8

Posted By on Wed, Oct 4, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Bike Easy members gather at the New Orleans Museum of Art.
  • Bike Easy members gather at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Bike Easy and Bike Law Louisiana will host an 8-mile bicycle second line during this weekend's Gentilly Fest.

Participants in the family-friendly daytime ride, which departs from fest site Pontchartrain Park Playground, will bike in a procession following the Free Agents Brass Band. The ride proceeds at a moderate pace and stops at two locations along the route, including a stop at Daddy's Donuts, then returns to the Gentilly Fest grounds by 1:15 p.m. There's also a pre-ride group stretching activity led by yoga instructor Stephanie Perin.

Past bicycle second lines have explored other New Orleans neighborhoods, including Mid-City.

Registration begins at 10 a.m. and the ride departs at 11 a.m. Sunday. It's free to attend.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

New Orleans' free rideshare service relaunches as 'GeauxRide NOLA'

Posted By on Tue, Oct 3, 2017 at 3:43 PM


With the relaunch of its free, online rideshare service — once called GreenRide Connect, now called GeauxRide NOLA — New Orleans Regional Planning Commission (NORPC) hopes to turn New Orleans into a carpooling city.

NORPC public transportation planner Nik Richard says the program connects both potential carpoolers and people who need a ride with drivers who live or work nearby. It's intended to help New Orleanians get to work, cut down on transportation and parking costs and plug the gaps in neighborhoods which are intermittently served by public transit.

"[It] give[s] folks another option, maybe where public transportation doesn't give them the needed connectivity," he says. "Maybe [a] neighbor can bring them to a bus stop; maybe [a] neighbor can bring them halfway and they can catch the bus for the other half. ... Maybe they both have a car and they want to alternate [driving] days."

Continue reading »

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Monday, September 25, 2017

RTA asks for rider input via online survey

Posted By on Mon, Sep 25, 2017 at 2:55 PM


Early this month, New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) hosted a series of public workshops soliciting input for its Strategic Mobility Plan, the initiative intended to revamp public transit in the city. If you missed those meetings, RTA has posted a digital version of its rider survey online — it's up right now and will be on the web until Oct. 12.

The short survey asks riders to rank which areas of the RTA they'd like to see improved (for example, newer, greener buses; cleaner, modernized bus stops; and enhanced night and weekend ride options are all on the list). Riders also can experiment with a simplified budget for the public transit system, vote on preferred "major transit corridors" and offer any other feedback or comments.

The survey shouldn't take more than a few minutes to complete, or slightly longer if you add written comments. It probably works best on a desktop or tablet.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Here's what riders had to say at public meetings about RTA's future

Posted By on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 5:04 PM

A meeting participant selects preferred "premium transit corridors."
  • A meeting participant selects preferred "premium transit corridors."

At two public workshops held at New Orleans Public Library branches this week, New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) riders were alternately enthusiastic and skeptical about elements that could be incorporated into the Strategic Mobility Plan set to roll out at the end of this year.

The workshops were part of a five-part series attended by over 100 people in New Orleans and Kenner, where participants took part in two exercises demonstrating the moving parts of a functional transit system. In one exercise, participants used pushpins to highlight routes among 13 potential "premium transit corridors" that could see expanded service. In another, they joined breakout groups to work to spend an imagined budget of $100 on different system enhancements, such as faster, more frequent service; retooled fare plans; modernized shelters at stops; park-and-ride areas and other options.

"Ideally, we'd have the best transit system in the world. Unfortunately, we only have so much money," Alex Miller, an urban planner with the Asakura Robinson team consulting on the Strategic Mobility Plan, explained.

Continue reading »

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Friday, June 9, 2017

City Hall launches online voting for bike share locations

Posted By on Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 2:18 PM

Mayor Mitch Landrieu and New Orleans City Councilman Jason Williams demonstrate bikesharing during the city's pilot program. - ALEX WOODWARD
  • Mayor Mitch Landrieu and New Orleans City Councilman Jason Williams demonstrate bikesharing during the city's pilot program.

New Orleans' bike share program officially will begin in October with Social Bicycles Inc., and the city now is asking residents to vote on where they'd like to see the first round of bike stations.

Phase I of the bike share stations will involve installing 70 stations in these neighborhoods.
  • Phase I of the bike share stations will involve installing 70 stations in these neighborhoods.
Phase I of the program will involve installing 70 bike share stations on the East Bank of New Orleans, in a number of neighborhoods concentrated around downtown, Faubourg Marigny/Bywater, the Garden District and Mid-City (see map). Each bike share station, the city says, is 6 feet wide and between 20 to 50 feet long (the size of one to three parking spaces).

The city requires a Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus account to log in and vote. Balloting ends June 18.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Groups blast city's chronic potholes at rally for infrastructure

Posted By on Wed, May 31, 2017 at 6:06 PM

Participants (cautiously) gathered near this Lakeview pothole.
  • Participants (cautiously) gathered near this Lakeview pothole.

In Lakeview, the otherwise-manicured neighborhood where potholes that could swallow an ice cream truck yawn, a small group gathered Wednesday to call for a permanent fix for the streets and dramatic investments in the city's infrastructure.

About 20 people convened at the corner of Florida Boulevard and Rosemary Place to speak out at the edge of a particularly nasty pothole, whose jagged planes and crevasse-like depth seemed to suggest a recent tectonic shift. They banged pots and pans, chanted ("From Lakeview, to 9th Ward, we don't want no potholes!") and held up signs depicting some of the city's more egregious potholes, including sites in Uptown, the 7th Ward and Mid-City.

"I'm on these roads 8-10 hours a day. ... I know how bad these New Orleans city streets are," said Suzanne Oneill, a local cabdriver. "What we need is for our tax dollars to come back to our neighborhoods."

Continue reading »

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Friday, May 19, 2017

House proposal on Uber and Lyft: Newton's First Law of Bad Government

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 2:50 PM


Sir Isaac Newton reduced much of what we know about the universe to a handful of precise mathematical formulas. Good thing Sir Isaac isn’t around today to try to make sense of the Louisiana Legislature. He’d surely go mad.

Or perhaps, upon noticing the extravagance with which hordes of unctuous lobbyists are pushing a bill to regulate web-based transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft, he might be moved to formulate his First Law of Bad Government: A proposed law’s awfulness is geometrically proportional to the number of lobbyists hired to secure its passage.

That is surely the case with House Bill 527 by Rep. Kenny Havard, R-Jackson, which might otherwise be called the No Lobbyist Left Behind Bill.

Continue reading »

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Monday, May 15, 2017

'Ride of Silence' May 17 commemorates fallen cyclists

Posted By on Mon, May 15, 2017 at 2:00 PM


On Wednesday, New Orleans cyclists will take part in Ride of Silence, an international group ride designed to draw attention to roadway deaths within the bicycle community. Riders are urged to remain silent during the easy-paced 10-mile ride to show respect for people who have been injured or who have died while using public roadways.

Several high-profile traffic deaths and accidents, made more visible by the spectral ghost bikes planted around the city to honor the deceased, have rocked the New Orleans bike community in the past few years. Recently the New Orleans City Council passed a series of ordinances designed to encourage bike safety, including requiring a safe passing distance between cars and bikes and formally prohibiting motorists from harassing or throwing things at cyclists. But advocacy events, like Ride of Silence, may also address the cultural problem of drivers' reluctance to share the road.

Riders should meet at the St. Charles Avenue entrance to Audubon Park at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Helmets are encouraged. It's free to attend.

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