Last week, we urged you to reflect on the loss of several local residents tragically killed while biking or walking in the greater New Orleans area. The message went out the very same week when the City of New Orleans released their update to the city’s Complete Streets policy, the policy that guides how all local streets are designed and constructed.
Thanks to you, dozens and dozens of public comments were read supporting a data-driven, equity-focused Complete Streets policy. Councilmember Palmer pressed the administration on the need for a clear definition of Equity and how it will be achieved and an accountable Exemptions process. In response, Dan Jatres with the mayor’s Office of Transportation promised to clarify the language concerning these two issues.
Councilmember Giarrusso asked for greater commitment to a robust community engagement process.
Another issue the Coalition wants to see in Complete Streets policy: an empowered Working Group. The Office of Transportation did not commit to following the recommendations of a newly created Complete Streets Working Group, which would include community stakeholders. As we said last week, the power of a strong policy in building our streets for all people directly relates to how involved and invested people are in the process. We hope the City will insist on an empowered working group.
At the same Council meeting last week, the City also proposed the creation of a Slow Zone on French Quarter interior streets. Yesterday, the City Council approved the program. This is great news! Hopefully the reduced speeds will reduce the rate and severity of crashes within the Quarter.
As we monitor the effectiveness of the French Quarter Slow Zone, we also hope it can prove to be a model for reducing speeding in other parts of the city.
As we work together with the City of New Orleans to implement a strong data-driven, equity-focused Complete Streets policy, we are appreciative of the progress Mayor Cantrell, her team, and the City Council are making on our local streets for the people of New Orleans and the region.
We’ll keep you up to date with the latest on the progress New Orleans is making in building streets safe, accessible, and sustainable for all.