It was a couple of weekends ago when at the site of last years’ horrific Endymion night crash the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association and the Krewe of Red Beans memorialized those whose lives were lost. Together they organized a bike safety neighborhood festival, Tour de Bean. In doing so they reclaimed the site of the crash, a picturesque stretch of Esplanade Avenue along Fortier Park to be together, remember, and listen to each other about making needed changes so people can travel to and through their neighborhood safely. As host to one of the nation’s largest multi-day festivals in Jazz Fest, as well as being a main thoroughfare from downtown New Orleans to City Park which hosts several other large scale festivals, the residents of Faubourg St. John, a.k.a. “the bayou”, know all too well the transportation challenges that come at certain times of year, year after year.
In the map of the neighborhood above, take a look at the plan debuted at Tour de Bean devised by members of FSJNA and Bike Uneasy. What you see is a thoughtful approach to limiting and controlling the flow of cars into the neighborhood, corridors designated only for people biking and walking, and large scale bike valet parking areas. With this plan presented and backed up by neighborhood residents, we’re hopeful that City leaders in the mayor’s office, DPW, and in the NOPD take this safety concern seriously and we see such a plan implemented for this year’s 51st annual Jazz Fest.
This approach to grassroots planning at the neighborhood level holds great potential for every neighborhood across greater New Orleans. Making change is hard work, and the hardest part is almost always local opposition. If you have an idea for how to make your streets and public places better or safer, get busy organizing your neighbors. Anything is possible when people coalesce around a needed change.
Thanks to the Krewe of Red Beans, FSJNA, Dashing Bicycles, and Bike Uneasy for all you’re doing to make New Orleans streets safe for all and for honoring the memory of Sharree Walls and David Hynes.