Posted by Heather Haylett on July 16, 2018 in Advocacy
A Complete Streets Ambassador’s Perspective
Complete Streets are accessible and safe for all users. To implement designs and projects that make your neighborhood a better place to live, apply to become a Complete Streets Ambassador today. The training will teach basic organizing skills and provides support for community residents to pursue a project within their community, as well as to work together as a team on a larger Bike Easy led project.
Application deadline: Friday, July 20th
Training dates: Saturday & Sunday August 4th & 5th
Posted by Robert Henig Bell on July 15, 2018 in Advocacy
Making busy Gentilly streets safer for walking & biking and showcasing how we can better live with water at home and in the neighborhood
Gentilly is a bedrock of the New Orleans community, a wide swath of middle and working class neighborhoods located between downtown and Lake Pontchartrain. Compared to much of the city, lots here tend to have a little more room for front yards, and the streets are often wide, busy roadways. Unfortunately, Gentilly’s wide avenues tend to be quite dangerous to cross, including roads such as Elysian Fields, Franklin, St. Anthony, and Paris Avenues.
To improve safety and community health, Bike Easy is temporarily remaking two busy intersections in the neighborhood — Elysian Fields at Mirabeau Avenue and Saint Anthony at Mirabeau. Staff and volunteers will install elements to calm vehicular traffic including high-visibility crosswalks, curb extending bumpouts, and vertical flex-posts to better protect people walking across the street.
At Saint Anthony and Mirabeau Avenue, local artist Saegan Swanson and volunteers will paint a mural within the intersection as a beautifying, traffic-calming technique. This is a tried-and-true community improvement activity as practiced in other cities’ Paint the Pavement programs.
At Elysian Fields Avenue Bike Easy staff, local residents, and volunteers will install a mock rain garden to demonstrate how we can better live with water and to illustrate Gentilly’s unique position in the city’s stormwater management network. Trees, soil, water-wicking materials, and more will be featured for roughly a month. Tulane’s Small Center, Urban Conservancy, and other community partners are providing information at these sites about projects underway in the neighborhood to manage stormwater. Walking and biking tours will be available for residents and students during the life of the installation (follow Bike Easy for information).
The Gentilly Crossings installations will be up for two months from the end of July until the end of September. We hope by making these streets safer, more local families will be able to take advantage by walking and biking within the neighborhood and to great local amenities such as City Park and the lakefront.
Bike MS, a campaign put on by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, raises money and awareness towards a world free of MS. “Dat’s How We Roll” is a two-day cycling event in which participants bike 150 miles through the countryside of Louisiana and Mississippi. The ride begins in Hammond and rolls to Percy Quin State Park in McComb, Mississippi where participants will spend the night before biking back to Hammond to finish the ride.
This year the event will be held October 6-7th. The ride will begin and end at Southeastern Louisiana University. Participants must be at least 12 years of age and raise a minimum of $275. For more information and resources visit the event webpage.
Bike MS: Louisiana Recommended Rides
To prepare for the upcoming Bike MS ride, Bike Easy will once again be supporting riders with our weekly recommended rides. Each Sunday morning we will be set-up at various locations around Louisiana to greet team and individual riders at the beginning of a pre-marked route. Increasing in mileage each week, these rides will help participants get ready for the Bike MS event in October. Support vehicles and staff will be on hand to assist riders, promote safety, and provide refreshments at each event.
Each participant in Bike MS: Dat’s How We Roll 2018 receives a free Bike Easy membership with their registration. After registering you should receive an email with the code to claim that free membership. That membership provides additional insurance to you and your bicycle during covered events, as well as promoting cycling advocacy!
Posted by Heather Haylett on July 11, 2018 in Advocacy
Over the last year, all throughout greater New Orleans, we’ve seen great momentum in making our streets built to share. And it would not have been possible without the contributions of Bike Easy’s Complete Streets Ambassadors
These Ambassadors are local residents, like you, who want to improve biking and walking in their community by advocating for it — to neighborhood associations, at community events, and directly to elected officials. Create change in your community by applying to be a Complete Streets Ambassador.
The Ambassador program teaches basic organizing skills and provides support for community residents to pursue a project within their community, as well as to work together as a team on a larger Bike Easy led project.
This past spring, Ambassadors helped plan and install a pop-up protected bikeway in Kenner, met with New Orleans and Jefferson Parish council-members, and garnered growing support for biking from local businesses and organizations.
Bike Easy is now looking for our next class of Ambassadors. The program begins with a two-day weekend training on August 4th and 5th. Apply by next Friday, July 20th!
Posted by Heather Haylett on July 10, 2018 in Events
Our TrailNation Project
This ambitious project seeks to connect large and small communities by land and water beginning at the “toe of the boot.” By linking existing and future trails and greenways together, the goal is to create a continuous all-ages and all-abilities walk and bike network for recreation, transportation, and tourism that stretches more than 100 miles between the Mississippi state line and the Louisiana state capitol, Baton Rouge.
The Louisiana Bootlace Trail Network is envisioned as a way to connect people to places such as nature and large and small cities. It is one where trails (both off street and on street) are embraced as a vital part of how we celebrate our unique geography and future prosperity. This vision was born out of the hard work that folks have committed to individual trails in their communities and the idea that good trails should be connected to more people.
The concept was developed in coordination with folks who joined forces earlier this year one evening at a bar to envision the future of trails in the New Orleans region. The “bootlace” network is a way of seeing the potential of Louisiana, as a boot-shaped state, tying together the existing trail network with other new and exciting trail concepts that benefit more people. As we tie together the bootlaces from the bottom up, we expect to see more people using trails as a way of life. This means a healthy and happy future for Southeast Louisiana.
Lead organizations or agencies involved in this work.
New Orleans Regional Planning Commission
Friends of Lafitte Greenway
City of New Orleans
Existing trails and connection of The Louisiana Bootlace Trail Network
South Shore Lakefront Connection
BR Downtown Greenway
MRT East Bank
Florida Parishes Rail with Trail Bicycle Superhighway
The Tammany Trace Manchac Greenway
Tangi Trail New Orleans to Slidell Connection
St. Bernard MRT Eastbank Connection
MRT West Bank
Some trails already have champions and others are waiting to be adopted by the next generation of trail champions!
Posted by Virginia Brisley on July 6, 2018 in Advocacy
Summary of an economic analysis of biking from Bike Baton Rouge
Our friends at Bike Baton Rouge have produced a compelling report that details the various economic benefits of bicycling and therefore making a strong case for continued investment in bicycle infrastructure for their city. The Economic Benefits of Bicycling in Baton Rouge quantifies the value of bicycle infrastructure for Baton Rouge and the value of an individual riding a bike. The bottom line of the report is: bike infrastructure adds value to a city and people riding bikes add value to a city.
The analysis of per mile infrastructure investments, including costs and savings, can also apply to our region. Economic, health, and social benefits can all be realized by individuals as well as by the community at large when on and off street bicycle facilities are built. As the cost of living in New Orleans continues to rise, biking proves to be an economical choice for transportation and will continue to be a viable option for many folks in our region.
Costs from congestion, emissions, and parking impact all road users and can drastically be decreased by prioritizing bike trips. Moreover, Bike Baton Rouge quantifies the health benefit of biking, something we all know intuitively, by demonstrating that overall cost to public health for individuals and the broader community are over $1 per car mile. Other key findings from the report include – a) car trips cost over 300% more per mile to the individual and the community (i.e. wear and tear on the road) as compared to bike trips; b) replacing short car trips (2 miles or less) with bike trips will save individuals over $2,000 annually; and c) both on and off street bike facilities significantly reduce the overall cost of maintaining roadways.
Reports like this economic analysis and the Complete Streets for Health Equity Report produced by Bike Easy demonstrate the quantifiable need and benefit of prioritizing streets built to share with all modes, in all communities. The current momentum for public investment around our region is exciting. This includes the recent announcement from Mayor Cantrell about creating a New Orleans Mayor’s Office of Transportation, St Bernard Parish breaking ground on the first of many bikeway connections throughout the Parish, and Jefferson Parish pursuing initiatives developed in their Bicycle Master Plan. Throughout the stages of this progress, Bike Easy is committed to advocating for complete and safe streets built for everyone in our region.
Have you been seeing lots of blue bikes around town but not sure how they work? Blue Bikes are a great new public transportation option for getting around New Orleans in a way that is healthy, fun and affordable.
How It Works
Register – Choose your plan and sign up for a Blue Bikes New Orleans membership through the website or mobile app. Release – Enter your 6-digit account number and 4-digit PIN into the keypad on the back of the bike to unlock it. Ride – Place the U-lock in the holster before you take off. To make a quick stop, press the “HOLD” button and lock the bike to a rack. Return – To end a ride, just lock your bike to any Blue Bikes station. Or, lock it at any public bike rack for a $1 fee.
Different pricing options are available to suit the type of riding you want to do. You can choose pay-as-you-go for 13 cents a minute, or $15 for a monthly membership ($10/month for university students). A reduced fare is also offered for New Orleanians who quality for EBT cards – $20 for an hour of riding every day for the whole year.
Some extra tips for using Blue Bikes safety and considerately
Follow the rules of the road.
As vehicles on the road, cyclists have all the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of automobiles. Cyclists must obey traffic signals, ride in the road in the same direction as traffic, and ride as near to the right as practicable. Communicate with other users of the road.
Be predictable. Use hand signals when you are turning or stopping. Travel in a straight line without weaving in between cars. Lock it properly!
You can lock them anywhere, but please be considerate how and where you’re leaving the bikes. Locking to the handrail of a ramp or leaving it in the middle of the sidewalk is not only a precarious place to leave the bike, but is inconsiderate for pedestrians that need to use that space. If no bicycle rack is available at your destination, lock the bike to a sign post or another secure structure that is not blocking a sidewalk or entryway.
Our Executive Director recently returned from a bicycle study tour in the Netherlands
My new Dutch friend responded as I described my job as a bicycle advocate. For young folks in the Netherlands, safe bicycling is just an afterthought. You wouldn’t wish someone a safe ride as you part ways because you know everyone will have a safe ride home – the whole city is designed around it.
But I learned recently that it hasn’t always been a bicycle paradise in Amsterdam and other Dutch cities. Early this month, I was on the “Citybuilders Bicycle Study Tour” in the Netherlands, organized by our friends at People for Bikes, where we learned the story of how the Netherlands decided to make bicycling a key piece of their mobility system.
After World War II, like in most of the Western world, the Netherlands embraced the personal automobile. Historic structures were downed to expand roads, beautiful downtown plazas became parking lots, and by the 1960’s, traffic congestion and parked cars filled the roadways. People, especially children, also started dying in crashes, and the Dutch people refused to accept the carnage on the streets. Major protests by the “Stop Child Murder” organization and other groups, along with sustained political engagement, made the government shift their focus and investments in infrastructure.
Over the next few decades, cities in the Netherlands transformed its mobility system to the point where 27% of trips in the entire country are taken by bicycle, with rates going above 40% in some cities!
The story inspires me to continue building the grassroots movement for equitable mobility here in New Orleans! We may have a long way to go, but with the right strategies, political engagement, and community support, we can create our own, unique way of ensuring everyone can easily and safely get around Greater New Orleans.
It’s more than just the amazing bicycle infrastructure though (more on that below). Mobility in the Netherlands is approached holistically within the urban fabric and in incorporated into how cities are more generally organized. In Utrecht, over 40% of the people who take the train each day ride their bike to the station (and there’s a 6,000 bicycle parking garage!). In Amsterdam, on average people can bike to 3.5 transit stops, giving them many options of routes. Grocery stores, ATMs, and other quotidienne destinations are distributed through neighborhoods making them easy for people walking and biking to reach, rather than clustered on major corridors designed for cars. As we move towards a more livable and equitable New Orleans, we’ve got to stay focused on the whole picture and how all of our systems interact.
That bicycle infrastructure though! The Dutch have created an incredible system, undergirded by national standards and executed on the local level. A few of the infrastructure highlights include:
All roads over 30 kilometers per hour (around 21mph) have dedicated, protected bicycle infrastructure
All bicycle infrastructure, including shared 30kph roads, are painted. If it’s red, you know to expect people on bikes
Slow, shared roads are separated from the faster roads with raised sidewalks. The gently sloped vertical bump signals a clear shift from one type of road to another.
There are dedicated bicycle traffic signals everywhere!
“Flow” streets move cars, buses, transit. “Exchange” streets have stores / places people are going, parking / changing from driver to pedestrian, people biking, and much more overlap of modes. Flow and exchange streets never mix.
The concept of “bicycle permeability” or making it easy for people biking to get places as directly as possible, means that on many slow, exchange streets, people riding are allowed to go against traffic.
Of course, there are many key differences between the the Netherlands and the US, Amsterdam and New Orleans. The Netherlands have no domestic car industry, a rather homogenous population, different societal values around taxation and government support. I don’t think we’ll turn New Orleans into Amsterdam, nor should we, but myself and other members of the New Orleans delegation on the trip are excited to implement many of these ideas and lessons!
On the trip, organized as part of People for Bikes’ The Big Jump Project, we also learned from US peers, as there were people on the trip from Austin, Memphis, Fort Collins, Providence, and Tuscon. All the cities are from the 10 cities that were competitively selected to participate in The Big Jump Project, a 3-year program in which People for Bikes provides support and assistance to develop the network of protected bikeways to help more people get riding. We’re glad to be in that number, and we’re excited to keep learning and working towards safe, easy, and fun bicycling for everyone!
“Dank je!” (Dutch for “thank you”) to all the People for Bikes staff, fellow study tour participants, and the many locals who shared their knowledge and experiences.
I’m excited to be back in New Orleans with renewed vigor for improving mobility to improve livability and equity in our region! Join the movement today by becoming a Bike Easy Member.
Posted by Heather Haylett on June 27, 2018 in Advocacy
A difficult, if not impossible, task.
Unfortunately, official bike registration with NOPD in New Orleans is often difficult and sometimes impossible. Bike Easy believes that this requirement should be abandoned.
As of now, however, you must, by law, have your bike registered in New Orleans if you are a New Orleans resident.
There are two ways the New Orleans Police Department allows the registration of bikes.
1. Purchase a new bike at a bike shop and have them register the bike.
2. Register your bike by providing a notarized affidavit proving ownership of the bike, a registration application (provided by NOPD) and a $3 money order. There is no evident on-going process for NOPD to intake these items and issue a registration sticker.
In the past, Bike Easy has partnered with NOPD to host registration events, but after an NOPD reorganization, we have been unable to re-establish that effort. Over the years, various Bike Easy members have put considerable effort into getting their bicycle registered outside of special events only to be misinformed and misdirected by various people at the NOPD and City Hall, resulting in the inability to actually register the bicycle. We are now once again attempting to clarify this process, and we will let you know as soon as we learn more.
Bike Easy’s Smart Biking class offers participants a chance to dive into the essentials for being safe and confident while riding on the road.
Topics include choosing and fitting a bike, principles of traffic law, basic maintenance, bike handling, hazard avoidance, group riding and more. Participants in last week’s class had the opportunity to practice their skills on bike on the road, taking turns leading the class in a group ride.
Bike Easy received great feedback, with participants inviting friends and family to take the course in the future, and some participants planning to continue their bike safety education by going on to become League Certified Instructors.