CBD and 7th Ward Get Their Complete Streets Designs

We’re not speeding, but our campaign is moving fast.

Recently, the City of New Orleans has made leaps in their Moving New Orleans Bikes plan to build an additional 75-miles of low-stress bikeways. From building protected bike lanes and curb islands on Elysian Fields, to holding community input meetings on upcoming Complete Streets improvements, street safety and accessibility improvements are coming fast.

With so much happening, we wanted to slow down for a minute and give you a detailed explanation of what happened in the community design meetings for the Central Business District and downriver neighborhoods,and how it means more safety and less stress on your streets.

First up, let’s discuss the planned Complete Streets improvements for the Central Business District. You can view the City of New Orleans’ slide deck for the meeting here, which includes illustrations of the plans. The meeting laid out new designs  for the following streets: 

  • Baronne Street (Canal Street to Howard Avenue)
  • Howard Avenue (St. Charles Avenue to Loyola Avenue)
  • Julia Street (Carondelet Street to Loyola Avenue)
  • O’Keefe Avenue (Howard Avenue to Canal Street).

For our purposes here, we’ll be focusing on Baronne and O’Keefe because those are the most consequential improvements.

Baronne Street

The Baronne Street buffered bike lane serves as a critical connection for residents biking between Uptown and the CBD and French Quarter. Between 2014 and 2018, there were a total of 425 crashes, 15 involving people biking, and 20 involving people walking.

The proposed improvements include a parking protected bike lane that will ensure everyone, people walking, biking, driving, and riding public transit, will have their own space on the road. curb-side, parking-protected bike lanes are tried and tested to  bring more safety and less stress to our streets because everyone knows where they’re supposed to be.

We’re very excited at the thought of so many New Orleanians who will soon be able to bike safely and comfortably through downtown. But we know from experience that a few, loud voices are likely to push back against these changes. Will you sign our petition in support of these improvements to ensure City officials know there’s grassroots support for complete streets in the CBD?

O’Keefe Avenue

At the time of this post, O’Keefe Avenue does have a bike lane, however it is unprotected. This can lead to confusion for both people driving and biking, resulting in people driving in the bike lane and people biking in the driving lanes. Even with this bike lane, in recent years O’Keefe has been the site of 421 crashes, 12 involving people walking and 12 involving people biking. It’s past time for a redesign!

The City’s improvements will create a new parking-protected bike lane, along with a buffer zone between parked cars and people biking to reduce car door crashes. This infrastructure will also create more peace on the road by giving everyone their own piece of the road.

If you support these improvements, then please sign our petition in support of Complete Streets in the CBD by clicking here.

Now, let’s head up to Canal Street, take a right on N. Rampart and zoom over to the 7th Ward and other downriver neighborhoods, including Gentilly, St. Roch, Faubourg St. John, and Mid-City. These streets connect many residential areas of New Orleans to the French Quarter, the CBD, and the Marigny and Bywater. They will be instrumental in the City’s plans to expand the low-stress  network so residents can safely ride from the Mississippi River all the way to Lake Pontchartrain.

You can view the City’s deck that lays out all of the designs for Complete Streets improvements coming to the 7th Ward and adjacent neighborhoods here. In the meeting, the City laid out plans for: 

  • Bienville Street (N. Jefferson Davis Parkway to N. Carrollton Avenue)
  • Franklin Avenue (St. Claude Avenue to I-610), 
  • Gentilly Blvd (N. Broad Street to New Orleans Street), 
  • N. Galvez Street (Orleans Avenue to Franklin Avenue), 
  • N. Miro Street (Franklin Avenue to Orleans Avenue), 
  • Paris Avenue (I-610 to Filmore Avenue), 
  • St. Bernard Avenue (N. Rampart Street to Gentilly Blvd), 
  • Ursulines Avenue (N. Claiborne Avenue to Hagan Avenue).

Let’s take a look at a couple of the highlights from the “downriver” set of Complete Streets improvements.

Franklin Avenue

A main thoroughfare for many New Orleanians, Franklin Avenue is about to receive significant improvements. Currently, Franklin has no bike lanes on the river side of the Franklin Ave Overpass. Between 2014 and 2018, there were 814 crashes, 14 involving people biking, and 21 involving people walking.

While talking with residents on Franklin, it’s clear to us that too many people speed down this street, contributing to the high number of crashes. The City’s plans include adding parking-protected bike lanes and removing one lane of vehicular traffic in both directions. These changes will serve to calm traffic while allowing everyone using this busy street to commute with more safety and less stress.

St. Bernard Avenue

Out of all the streets slated for improvement, St. Bernard Avenue unfortunately has the highest number of crashes between 2014 and 2018 – 896 – with 24 involving people biking, 23 involving people walking. As a highly used corridor with many complicated intersections, the people traveling, living, and working on St. Bernard desperately need Complete Streets improvements.

The proposed improvements will turn St. Bernard’s bike lane into a parking protected bike lane, with a buffer zone to prevent car door crashes. For such a busy street with many businesses on it, these improvements will ensure that everyone who walks, bikes, drives or takes public transit on St. Bernard can do so with more safety and less stress and support their local businesses.