Members of the New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition joined over 80 professional planners in
Lafayette, LA last month for the annual American Planning Association State Conference, themed
“Partnerships: A New Planning Paradigm for Louisiana.” The conference featured sessions and mobile
workshops focusing on how interdisciplinary teams are tackling sustainability, transportation,
community engagement, water management, and coastal restoration, and recognized how working
across sectors and disciplines can amplify and expedite results.
The New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition was highlighted as one such partnership, working in
tandem with local government agencies and academic partners to support an inclusive planning process,
develop a coalition of supporters and public awareness campaign, advance the development of the
city’s bikeway network, and evaluate outcomes along the way. This well-attended session focused on
the role and potential of advocacy and university research partners to bolster public sector planning and
Dan Jatres with the City of New Orleans Mayor’s Office of Transportation introduced the “Big Jump”
project and the City’s efforts to plan a citywide bikeway network, develop updated design guidenlines,
and rapidly implement 75 miles of protected low-stress bikeways, highlighting the successes and
challenges encountered over the last few years from planning to design to construction.
Tara Tolford, NOCSC member and UNO Transportation Institute addressed how improving access to
quality data about people walking and bicycling can help us to show the impact of these investments,
assess progress toward equity goals, and build local capacity for evaluations.
Coalition member and Bike Easy Education Programs Coordinator Laura Harris explained how the New Orleans Complete streets has worked to gather support for the in the campaign for safer streets through activating and engaging community residents. Through coalition building, holding neighborhood canvasses, activation mini grants, benefits to business briefings, and community bike rides, the NOCSC has worked to bring awareness and information on the benefits of complete streets to New Orleanians.
Finally, New Orleans Regional Transit Authority’s (RTA)’s Robert Stickney connected how the
partnerships developed through the Big Jump project have led to continued and expanded
collaborations across city agencies and the community to advance the development of planning and
advocacy tools to improve safety for people walking and bicycling.
Throughout the conference, Coalition members were inspired by steps being taken in Louisiana and
beyond to build resilience, address pressing challenges, and champion policy change that will make our
communities safer and more sustainable for generations to come.