More people than ever are biking and walking in our city. In May, the City of New Orleans introduced a simple, cost-effective way to give people more space so they could safely go about getting their daily exercise through a temporary installation titled ‘Slow Streets’.
Along the riverside of Bayou St. John on Moss Street, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and the Department of Public Works closed off through-traffic of automobiles, leaving the area designated for people walking, jogging, biking, and only open to cars and trucks for local residents.
“We are very encouraged by the numbers that we are seeing from the Slow Streets initiative and will work to find more innovative ways to make our streets safer, our residents healthier, and transportation options more equitable,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “We recognize that this initiative grew out of a need to be responsive to the COVID-19 outbreak and we will continue to engage our residents who might consider similar approaches in their neighborhoods.”
Traffic counts were taken along both sides of Bayou St. John prior to and throughout the initiative’s implementation. Based on 24-hour traffic counts conducted, motor vehicle traffic decreased by 47 percent on the downtown side of Moss Street and increased by 8 percent on the City Park side.
Additionally, the City gathered public input through an online survey. The survey resulted in overwhelming support for the project; approximately 87 percent of the total respondents (786) supported the project, while 81 percent of residents (119) on the impacted blocks supported the Slow Streets initiative. About 83 percent of total respondents supported expansion of this initiative to other locations across the City.
We applaud the City of New Orleans for taking this step towards better safety, improved public health, and greater mobility for every resident in our city. We hope this initiative can now serve everyone in need of public space to safely walk and bike now and going forward.