Transportation

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.

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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
  • 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."

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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

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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.

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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

PHOTO COURTESY BIKE EASY
  • PHOTO COURTESY BIKE EASY

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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Thursday, May 4, 2017

City seeks volunteers to test evacuation programs May 17

Posted By on Thu, May 4, 2017 at 10:14 AM

Evacuspot sculptures, unveiled in 2013, indicate city-sponsored evacuation points. - ALEX WOODWARD
  • ALEX WOODWARD
  • Evacuspot sculptures, unveiled in 2013, indicate city-sponsored evacuation points.

New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (NOHSEP) and Evacuteer are calling for hundreds of volunteers to join them in a test of the City-Assisted Evacuation plan.

Volunteers will participate in a program from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 17 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Lunch and parking will be provided for participants. Volunteers should register in advance of the exercise.

In the event of a hurricane requiring a mandatory evacuation, thousands of New Orleanians — including many elderly people and people with special needs — rely on the city to bring them to safety. Testing is needed, the city says, to make sure the plan works well.

Hurricane season begins June 1.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Bike to Work Day returns April 12

Posted By on Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 9:00 AM

COURTESY BIKE EASY
  • COURTESY BIKE EASY

Bike Easy's annual Bike to Work Day, which encourages commute-weary New Orleanians to try riding a bike to work, returns Wednesday, April 12. The event features organized rides that depart from locations around the city to a central meetup in Lafayette Square, where there's coffee, snacks and the opportunity to get your bike tuned up. (Visit the event page for meeting locations.) There also is a workshop at Dashing Bicycles about basic bike mechanics at 6 p.m. April 10.

A 2016 U.S. Census Bureau report found New Orleans to be among the nation's top 20 cities for bike commuting, and it's true that a great deal of progress toward encouraging cycling has been made in the past several years, with many miles of new bike lanes and shared lanes ("sharrows") painted and a new bike share program set to roll out in the fall. However, cycling advocates still stress the importance of organized rides such as Bike to Work Day to encourage new riders, and also to increase the cycling community's visibility to drivers who are reluctant to share the road.

Bike to Work Day events are free to attend. If the weather doesn't cooperate, there's generally a rain date.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

At public meeting, residents and business owners sound off about Bourbon Street closure and redevelopment

Posted By on Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 10:26 AM

Dismayed residents and business owners expressed a variety of concerns about the project.
  • Dismayed residents and business owners expressed a variety of concerns about the project.

At an April 4 meeting that was supposed to be about a recent traffic study conducted by city contractor AECOM in connection with the Bourbon Street redevelopment project, frustrated French Quarter residents and business owners convened for a Festivus-style airing of grievances about the plan.

Organizers, including Mark Jernigan from the Department of Public Works and Derek Chisholm from AECOM, tried to maintain order by allowing comment only via comment cards, which were read aloud to the group. But even before the "public comment" segment of the meeting, audience members were interjecting with questions and complaints about prospective road closures, the economic fallout from the proposed conversion of Bourbon Street to a pedestrian mall, handicap access to businesses, potential interruptions to delivery service and more.

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Friday, February 24, 2017

New Orleans bike share program extended through March

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 4:46 PM

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After launching a "preview" of a citywide bike share program at several kiosks in downtown New Orleans and in the Lower Garden District, the city is extending the program through March 31. It was set to end Feb. 23, after the NBA All-Star weekend and first week of Mardi Gras parades.

Riders need to download an app (search for "Social Bicycles"),  register their information and select a payment plan. Riders can pay $15 for the whole period from now through March, allowing for up to an hour of riding per day. The hourly rate is $8 an hour, prorated by use.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

New Orleans previews bike sharing system coming in fall 2017

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 11:30 AM

Mayor Mitch Landrieu demonstrates a Social Bicycles bike Feb. 15.
  • Mayor Mitch Landrieu demonstrates a Social Bicycles bike Feb. 15.

A citywide bike sharing program will bring 700 bikes to 70 racks to the city this fall. But in time for the NBA All-Star weekend and Mardi Gras, people will be able to check out bicycles from several stations in the French Quarter and CBD during a "preview" period from Feb. 15-23.

The fleet of white bikes (with baskets, hand brakes and kickstands) comes from New York-based company Social Bicycles, which allows bikes to be rented out and returned to other hubs around town. This month's "preview" installs 35 bike at nine stations downtown (U.S. Mint, Lafayette Square and Cochon are among the stops) and the Lower Garden District outside the Avenue Pub. City officials signed off on the plan in November.

Riders download an app (search "Social Bicycles"), register their information and select a pay plan. Preview plan rentals are $8 an hour (with a $3 fee) or $10 for an hour of use during all 13 days. "It's really a small city," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "It's a lot easier to get around a on bike than a car ... It's a lot less expensive than driving."

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