Data-Driven & Equity-Focused Complete Streets Policy – New Orleans City Council Resolution R-18-314

New Orleans City Council Resolution R-18-314

Supporting a Data-Driven & Equity-Focused Complete Streets Policy 

WHEREAS, this resolution expresses New Orleans City Council’s determination that the City of New Orleans’ Complete Streets policy create a comprehensive, integrated, and connected transportation network that balances access, mobility, health and safety needs for all residents, enabling all people in New Orleans to walk, bike, drive, and ride transit safely and affordably; to do so utilizing a system of performance measures that ensures equitable access to transportation options; to promote economic development; reduce the number of crashes and improve public safety; foster more livable communities; encourage healthy lifestyles; improve air quality; create accessible and efficient connections between home, school, work, recreation, places of worship, and retail destinations; promote geographic, socio-economic, and health equity; and develop a balanced ecology in our roadways for the sustainability and resilience of our communities; and

WHEREAS, Complete Streets may include facilities and amenities including but not limited to pedestrian safety improvements like sidewalks, crosswalks, curb extensions, and pedestrian signals; protected bike lanes, other low-stress bikeways, and bike parking facilities; transit shelters, signage, and improved pedestrian and bicycle access to transit stops and stations; Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible curb ramps and transit stops; traffic calming treatments like roundabouts and smaller lane widths; trees, landscaping, street lighting, and street furniture; and rain gardens, drains/sewerage facilities, pervious surfaces, and other stormwater management features; and

WHEREAS, the City’s current Complete Streets Policy (CAO Policy Memorandum #134) addresses some of the above, an update is needed to ensure implementation based on community needs and participation. An update should address policy goals as follows:

  1. Safety — Reduce hazards and prioritize safety for all people traveling in the public right of way, especially vulnerable people including persons with disabilities, children, seniors, people walking, and people bicycling. Ensure people using all modes of transportation can continue to use roadways safely during any construction or repair work;
  2. Connectivity — Increase the interconnectivity of walking, bicycling, transit, and freight transportation networks to create a comprehensive, efficient, and integrated regional system;
  3. Evaluation — Regular evaluation and reporting of performance measures including (but not limited to) the following: ridership, equity, safety, health outcomes, project selection, community participation, resilience, hours of staff training;
  4. Multi-Modal Accommodation — Give full consideration to accommodation of all people, be they people who walk, people with disabilities, people who bike, people who use transit, people who drive cars, children, seniors or people who operate public transportation, emergency vehicles, and commercial goods. Balance the needs of all people in planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation;
  5. Livable Communities — Foster livable communities and increase public health through vibrant, active, comfortable streetscapes that encourage more walking, bicycling, and transit use, and less driving. These streetscapes should complement current land use patterns and economic development. Prioritize mixed-used, transit-oriented development that takes into consideration the cultural context of the existing community to help guarantee affordable housing and a lack of displacement;
  6. Equity — Ensure equitable funding and implementation of complete streets projects by engaging with residents, locally owned businesses, and organizations in each community. Prioritize reliable transit infrastructure in low income neighborhoods, communities of color, and areas where people lack access to personal vehicles in order to connect all residents with jobs, nutritional foods, and services;
  7. Sustainability and Resiliency — Create a balanced street ecology through the use of green infrastructure including bio-swales, surface retention, pervious surfaces, planting trees and other practices referred to in the Urban Water Plan;
  8. Economic Development — Increase job access and workforce development by increasing affordable mobility options while improving retail performance and spurring private investment adjacent to Complete Streets. Assist new retail and private investment projects to comply with the Complete Streets approach;
  9. Coordination — Coordinate and communicate between stakeholders and other community members about the Complete Streets Program objectives and metrics; and

WHEREAS, the Council supports the City of New Orleans undertaking the following steps to ensure successful implementation of Complete Streets:

  • Establishing oversight of the implementation of Complete Streets policy, which should include members of various constituencies, including City Council, City Planning Commission, Department of Public Works, Sewerage and Water Board, New Orleans Police Department, New Orleans Fire Department, Regional Transit Authority, Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development, as well as representatives from walking, bicycling, disabled, youth and senior communities or any other organizations as deemed relevant. This committee should meet regularly and provide a written report to the Mayor evaluating progress and advising on implementation.
  • Maintaining a comprehensive inventory of the walking and bicycling infrastructure and prioritizing projects to eliminate gaps in walking and bicycling networks.
  • Reevaluating capital improvement and maintenance project prioritization annually to encourage implementation of walking and bicycling infrastructure.
  • Incorporating complete street principles into the comprehensive plan, zoning code and other plans and manual, rules, regulations and programs, including the Urban Water Plan and Safe Routes to School program.
  • Implementing and maintaining a Walking and Bicycling Transportation Plan and a Street Tree and Landscape Plan
  • Training all pertinent staff on the content of complete streets principles and best practices for implementing the policy.
  • Utilizing inter-departmental project coordination to promote the most responsible and efficient use of fiscal resources for activities that occur within the public right of way.
  • Creating and adopting a Complete Streets Design Manual to support implementation of this policy.
  • Actively seeking sources of appropriate funding to implement Complete Streets.

WHEREAS, it is the intent of this policy to foster partnerships with City and State agencies, citizens, businesses, advocacy groups and neighborhoods to implement complete streets; and

WHEREAS, a strong Complete Streets policy will allow more opportunities to receive funding for local complete streets projects from federal and state sources, based on the current federal and state criteria for funding projects.

WHEREAS, the City of New Orleans should develop and adopt departmental policies, design criteria, standards and guidelines based upon recognized best practices in street design, construction and operations including but not limited to the latest editions of American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Guide for Planning, Designing, and Operating Pedestrian Facilities; AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities; Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach; National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban StreetDesign Guide; U.S. Access Board Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines; Highway Capacity Manual and Highway Safety Manual; and

WHEREAS, the implementation of Complete Streets policy shall reflect the context and character of New Orleans neighborhoods’ built and natural environments while enhancing the appearance of such. The City of New Orleans shall consider methods of providing development flexibility within safe design parameters such as context-sensitive design solutions and shall attempt to employ all solutions consistent with and sensitive to the context of the project; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the New Orleans City Council hereby supports an update to the City of New Orleans Complete Streets Policy (Memorandum #134) based on the principles enumerated above and seeks their implementation at the earliest practicable time.

NO City Council Resolution R-18-314