As we get ready for the elections on November 13th, it is important to understand where future city leaders stand on the issue of Complete Streets, and how they expect to meet a need for more equitable transportation, smart and resilient infrastructure, and innovative uses of public space.
With that in mind, the New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition hosted a Candidate Forum at The Broadside on October 19th. It was an opportunity for candidates for the At-large positions in City Council to discuss their priorities on the issues surrounding our infrastructure, transportation systems, and everything Complete Streets.
The event was moderated by Nellie Catzen – Executive Director of the Committee for a Better New Orleans, and different members of the Coalition joined the candidates on stage to ask important questions related to their own organizations and priorities.
Each candidate had 2 minutes to answer each of the questions below:
- ‘Complete Streets’ comprises many different considerations of how people use the roadway, but above all, what it means is a commitment to prioritize people when building a street – all people. We live in a city known for being a place where you don’t need to own a car to get around and where many families can’t afford owning a car. Yet we know our sidewalks are crumbling, our transit system is inadequate, and biking can be quite dangerous. What are your priorities in making our transportation systems and streets safe and accessible for all New Orleanians? Asked by Nellie Catzen – Executive Director of the Committee for a Better New Orleans
Mayor Cantrell’s administration is committed to building 75 miles of connected, ‘low-stress’ bikeways in the neighborhoods in and around downtown New Orleans. Should the City continue to prioritize the safety of all road users by installing more protected bike lanes, the kind that physically separate people driving and people biking, across New Orleans? Asked by Barrie Black – Secretary/Board Member of Bike Easy
Reliable, effective transit is a must for many residents to have access to jobs, education and everything our city has to offer. But our transit system is unreliable with long waits for transfers and poor connections to many key destinations. We’ve started to see some change, including the recent approval by RTA of New Links, the plan to prioritize reduced travel time and expanded service for low income communities. New Links calls for high-frequency regional transit routes. Is that your priority when it comes to transit? What else is needed to make sure RTA serves our community’s needs? Asked by Courtney Jackson – Organizer and Storyteller of RIDE New Orleans
Equitable access to safe sidewalks, curb cuts, and other ADA improvements are essential for all residents and especially people with disabilities for access to jobs, education, recreation areas, etc… Do you support prioritizing use of city funds – tax revenues and bond funds – for sidewalk construction, repair, and ADA improvements? Asked by David Green – Advocate and Employee of Lighthouse Louisiana
In New Orleans we’re remarkably vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. There are simple methods we can adopt to become more resilient, like reducing impermeable surfaces and creating more green infrastructure. Yet we continue to try to pump every drop of stormwater out of the city with expensive, aging, inadequate gray infrastructure. Traditional construction practices often encourage this kind of runoff that leads directly to chronic flash flooding… Will you hold residential, commercial, and municipal entities accountable for reducing stormwater runoff by reducing impermeable surfaces (including parking requirements) and implementing green infrastructure? How so? Asked by Dana Eness – Executive Director of Urban Conservancy
If you missed The Candidate Forum, you can check our archived live stream here!
In addition to the questions asked that night, all the candidates for City Council and Mayor were asked to complete our complete streets questionnaire. Vie the questionnaire and their answers here!
And if you are planning on voting early, the following locations are open for early voting until November 6th:
- City Hall, 1300 Perdido St., Room 1W24
- LSU Health Sciences Center, 2020 Gravier St.
- Algiers courthouse, 225 Morgan St., Room 105
- New Orleans East voting machine warehouse, 8870 Chef Menteur Hwy.
- Lake Vista Community Center, 6500 Spanish Fort Blvd., 2nd floor meeting room
We hope you find these resources useful as we shape the future of New Orleans Complete Streets together.