By: Angie Schmitt
That was Big Easy!
A New Orleans group is installing five protected, albeit temporary, bike lanes on key corridors as a demonstration of “how streets can be transformed to safely and equitably serve everyone who travels,” the group Bike Easy said in a statement.
Three of the five routes are already laid down, thanks to volunteers. The total demonstration, which is called “Connect the Crescent,” will measure almost four miles, and fill several gaps among the existing painted bike lanes.
“We’ve built a lot of bike lanes over the last 10 or so years but we’re trying to make sure that they actually connect to each other and they’re high quality,” Bike Easy’s Rob Henig Bell told Streetsblog.
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.