By: Catherine Nagel (Contributor) and Kari E. Watkins (Contributor)
In recent decades, once-struggling cities have been reimagining themselves by evolving from 20th-century-style manufacturing centers to 21st-century hubs of commerce and culture. While each city realizes its own evolution in its own way, one important ingredient of these transformations is consistent among them all: city parks. Like the cities that house them, urban parks take on different forms, from signature downtown parks to reclaimed industrial railways and corridors. Now these corridors, or linear parks, are coming to be recognized as an important part of modernized transportation systems, connecting neighborhoods and residents to new opportunities.
In New Orleans, for instance, residents use over 100 miles of walkable, bike-able pathways every day. Before Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, New Orleans had just 10 miles of trail. In 2009, the city received $9.1 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Disaster Community Development Block Grant program, making the transformation of the Lafitte industrial corridor into the Lafitte Greenway possible with help from the Friends of Lafitte Greenway.
In 2015, its first full year of use, 272,000 people walked or bicycled the Greenway. That's an impressive number, but it contained a surprise: A study by the Georgia Institute of Technology showed that 80 percent of weekday morning and afternoon cyclists use the Greenway not for recreation but for transportation to and from work, school and shopping.
Linear parks like the Lafitte Greenway demonstrate what is possible when we fully consider the role of parks as transportation infrastructure. The Greenway concept is a roadmap to a more sustainable future for New Orleans, supporting public health, recreation, stormwater management, neighborhood investment and job opportunities through connections to low-cost public transportation.
By: Jessica Williams | November 10, 2017
Source: New Orleans Advocate | Full Article
By this time next month, residents and tourists in New Orleans will be able to pick up a bicycle at one spot in the city and drop it off at another, the realization of a lengthy effort to diversify public transit in the city.
Officials this week revealed the 70 locations where 700 bicycles will be available as part of the city’s first bike-sharing program, scheduled to start in December.
The sites are largely concentrated in the Central Business District, French Quarter and other neighborhoods along the Mississippi River, with some in Treme and near City Park.