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
  • 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


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


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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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

New Orleans to update inaccessible bus stops by 2031

Posted By on Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 5:45 PM


Nearly 94 percent of New Orleans bus stops fail to meet the needs of disabled riders, and the city has until 2031 to update them. On Feb. 10, the city, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and its owner Transdev Services settled a lawsuit filed by three wheelchair users arguing the city's transit stops are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), with stops riddled with too-steep slopes, broken landing pads or no landing pads at all.

Plaintiffs Francis Falls, Mitchell Miraglia and Thad Tatum with attorney Andrew Bizer of Bizer & DeReus filed the suit after Bizer sent a public records request to examine the state of the RTA'S ADA compliance. In 2015, Manning Architects released its report, which surveyed the city's 2,218 bus stops. The report found that only 5.7 percent (126) had a compliant transit stop area and pedestrian access route, while the remaining 2,092 stops need to be updated; 336 of those stops had a compliant stop but still required sidewalk or curb ramp construction.

"We sent a second request saying, 'Hey, what are you doing about it?' They didn’t respond," Bizer said. The plaintiffs then filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court. Eleven months later, the parties settled.

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Bike Easy hosts free "Mardi Gras repair station" for bikes Feb. 8

Posted By on Thu, Feb 2, 2017 at 10:06 AM


Between parades, barricades and tourists with New Jersey plates looking for their Airbnb, Carnival's the one time of year when having a working bike becomes non-negotiable. To help you prepare, Bike Easy (2100 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.) will host a "Mardi Gras repair station" at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8. They'll fill tires, tighten bolts, grease chains and take care of other minor adjustments on that bike that's been locked up beside your house for three months.

During the event, the organization also offers talks on the half hour about using a bike on the roadways, locking it up during parades and other safety tips. There's also info about Bike to Work Day, scheduled for April 12 this year.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

RTA operator Transdev demos self-driving shuttle, to mayor's approval

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2017 at 3:40 PM


It doesn't fly, and it trundled along a route in front of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center at the rather underwhelming speed of 8 miles per hour. But the EZ10 autonomous shuttle, presented at an event this morning by New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) operator Transdev and Mayor Mitch Landrieu, is just a preview of the self-driving technology that's sure to upend the way we think about cars and transportation in America in the years to come.

In remarks, Landrieu said the demonstration was part of an ongoing effort to help New Orleans "lead the nation, as opposed to following the nation; to become an ascendant city, rather than a descendant city." He described the demographic shift pushing more and more Americans into cities, and said most dense urban areas will have to embrace innovative solutions to meet their transportation needs.

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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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