Word on the Street

A blog about bikes and the Big Easy

CALL FOR BOARD MEMBERS: 2019-2021 Term

Posted by Heather Haylett on September 17, 2018 in Membership

Help make biking better by guiding and building our organization

Founded in 2003, Bike Easy (formerly the Metro Bicycle Coalition) is a small nonprofit based in New Orleans. We are a fast growing, grassroots organization hard at work making sure that riding a bike is easy, safe, and fun for everyone in Greater New Orleans.

Bike Easy is a volunteer-driven organization guided by a board of directors and energized by the participation of our ever-growing community of members. Through hands-on outreach, advocacy before government agencies and collaboration with diverse local organizations we’re helping to make bicycling an integral part of New Orleans life.

We advocate for bikable and walkable neighborhoods, produce community events like Bicycle Second Lines and host Bike Valet to engage diverse audiences and encourage bicycle riders, new and experienced. We also empower community advocates and foster confident bicycling through our education programs.

During your 3-year tenure the organization has big plans to:

  • Expand programming and advocacy campaigns
  • Implement the 2017-2020 strategic plan
  • Increase our membership and revenue, building a sustainable organization

As a rapidly growing organization, we need your expertise and support. You’ll be working with our Executive Director and the rest of our active board, to help shape the next 20 years of this dynamic and innovative nonprofit.

In order to join our team, we ask that you are willing to work as a team and share ideas openly.

Additionally, we seek candidates with any of the following attributes:

  • Networking and connections within the community, especially in low-wealth and communities of color that have traditionally been left out of transportation planning and advocacy
  • Ability and desire to be part of our fundraising and development strategy, including seeking sponsorships and other sources of general operations/unrestricted funding
  • Public engagement, fundraising, finance/accounting, political strategy, human resource and/or management experience

Bike Easy is committed to improving the diversity of the bicycle movement and building greater social equity through our work, and we are looking for board members representing a broad range of backgrounds and communities across the New Orleans region. We encourage all interested persons to apply for this position regardless of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, sex, age, or political affiliation.

Availability: Our 11 board members serve on rotating terms. This three-year appointment begins January 1, 2019.

Commitment Details: Includes about 10 hours per month on tasks such as attending monthly board meetings, participation on a committee or task force, fundraising responsibilities, bringing your networking resources and becoming a champion of our shared cause.

Benefits: We are an all-volunteer board. Give back to the community while gaining excellent experience working hand-in-hand with like-minded folks. Become familiar with current urban planning issues in Greater New Orleans and network with local civic leaders.

Applications are due Monday, October 1 at 5 P.M. To apply for this position, please submit resume or equivalent and a short intro letter to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Please Share! Do you know somebody who would be a good candidate? Send them this announcement. We are looking for board members representing a broad range of backgrounds and communities across the New Orleans region.

Big Changes in the Streets

Posted by Dan Favre on September 17, 2018 in Advocacy

Contact your elected officials to support Connect The Crescent

Baronne Street is looking beautiful! Thanks to the support of well over 100 volunteers, our many sponsors and partners, and the community enthusiasm, Connect The Crescent is well underway. Can you do one or two things to help keep the momentum high?

  1. Please take a moment today to let the Mayor and City Council know that you support the improved mobility options being demonstrated by Connect The Crescent, and
  2. Stop by to support the local businesses on Baronne Street and let them know how much you appreciate the new street design.

Streets built to share support economic development, public health, and livability, but unfortunately, the changes we’re demonstrating have upset a few politically powerful people.

Since the majority of the feedback we’ve gotten so far has been overwhelmingly positive, I want to make sure the supportive messages are also getting to our elected officials and decision-makers.

Can you take a moment today to email Mayor Cantrell and the City Council today to let them know why you support Connect The Crescent and improved mobility options for all the people of New Orleans?

It’s easy! You can just cut and paste the email addresses below, and then send a note explaining why you want better conditions for walking and biking. A personal note with your own views and feelings is most impactful, and I put some prompts and ideas to get you started below.

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Making a phone call can be even more impactful, especially if you’ve got a relationship with your Councilmember. You can find their office phone numbers here.

The best messages are short and sweet, personalized, and specific. Here are some talking points to help get you started:

  • I ride my bike /walk regularly to …. [explain your riding/walking habits], and I support streets built to share because…
  • I love the safe feeling of riding on the new protected bikeways on Baronne Street and at the end of the Lafitte Greenway!
  • I appreciate being able to reach destinations downtown, like local businesses, by bicycle, public transit, and walking.
  • Thanks for supporting streets built to share that are safe and accessible to everyone, no matter how they get around.
  • Improved mobility options create economic, public health, equity, and livability benefits for our city.
  • I’ve really enjoyed riding, walking, and driving on the finished sections of the temporary network – the Baronne / OC Haley corridor connection, the Lafitte Greenway – French Quarter connection, and the Algiers Ferry connection on Canal / Tchoupitoulas. And it’s been fun spending time at local businesses on Baronne, eating and drinking and watching all the happy people go by on the new two-way protected bikeway. The number of folks who have stopped to offer compliments and thanks for the work has also been really inspiring!

Let’s make sure our elected officials and the businesses on Baronne are also feeling the love. Thanks for sharing your support and appreciation with them, just like you have with us.

These are exciting times. Thanks for taking the ride with us!

Lessons Learned in Portland, OR

Posted by David Meza on September 14, 2018 in Advocacy

David visits Portland, a city with many transportation solutions, for a conference on improving bike share.

I spent last week in Portland, Oregon attending the “Moving Forward Together” conference. The conference was co-hosted by the North American Bikeshare Association and the Better Bike Share Partnership, the holders of the grant supporting our work in Blue Bikes For All. It was really great to spend time in a city with so much bicycle infrastructure and multimodal options. Touring the area and taking part in the conference really gave me a strong feeling of hope towards what we can do in New Orleans to become more accommodating to all road users and focus on serving underrepresented groups and neighborhoods.

Streets for All

I began the conference with a multimodal workshop. Participants were taken on a tour of city, highlighting the various facilities in and around downtown Portland. We began by walking through downtown, noting the various signage for public transit, pedestrians, and bicyclists throughout the dense urban landscape. I was especially impressed to note that all road users played their role with little exception: Cars stopped before crosswalks at interchanges, most all pedestrians crossed at the crosswalk and waited for their signal, and bicyclists rode with traffic – even holding their position behind vehicles instead of passing on the side.

The tour really highlighted the attention to multimodal transportation in the city. We took a bus which provided designated areas and hooks for passengers to store their bicycles. From there we transferred to a free streetcar which dropped us off near the Tilikum Crossing, a new bridge exclusively for bicycle, pedestrian, scooter, and public transit. Before going on the bridge we walked towards the university center. We walked along a dual-running bicycle track painted in a vibrant green with clearly marked pedestrian and bicycle lanes. These paths were separated from the motor traffic with concrete barricades.

When we arrived in the university center we prepared to take an air-tram to the top of a large peak, housing the medical district. The group was given a talk about the history and functionality of the tram. At least that’s what I gathered the talk was about, I was distracted by a permanent bicycle valet which is provided for tram users. As that’s one of my roles at Bike Easy, I wanted to gather more information on the valet.

Talking to the supervisor of the valet I found: They park an average of 4,000 bicycles a day, they offer tune-ups and flat fixes, ticket/receipts are processed through university RFID cards, and they started a bike share system for the university prior to BikeTown (the Portland bike share company) which they continue to offer. It was truly inspiring to see such a large operation. The program is overseen by only one person at most times with some overlap to service the bicycles in need, if a bike is not going to be able to get repaired that day, the technician alerts the customer prior to their return.

After taking the tram up and back down, the group got on BikeTown bikes (free passes provided to all convention attendees) and proceeded back to the Tilikum Crossing. We crossed the river and road along the river trail, stopping to observe “Adaptive BikeTown” a contracted service to provide bike share to differently abled individuals as well as younger riders and groups through variations on traditional bicycles.

Our tour continued along until the path took us on the river. A floating path sits on top of the river itself, telescoping ramps on either end expand or contract based on the water level. It was truly a great piece of engineering and a nice place to get away from the rest of the city.

We concluded our tour returning to the downtown side of the river via a pedestrian and bicycle path which ran alongside, but protected from, motor traffic. We rode back to our hotel in a “pop-up” protected bike lane running down one of the main streets in the city. This project, called Better Naito, took one lane of traffic away from motorists to add a two-way cycle track and a pedestrian path. Though initially just a one-time installment for a downtown festival, it has since gained so much public support it lasts throughout the summer months and will be re-installed next year.

The Importance of Equity in Bike Share

The rest of the week was filled with many panels, workshops, and booths from various vendors/groups. With the big leaps in E-bikes and rental scooters they certainly had a presence, I was glad to see however that the concentration was mostly focused on equity. I believe bike share can be a great resource for everyone, but only if the practices are such that they truly are made available to everyone. Without working towards equity, bike share will always be viewed as a white-collar luxury. With that in mind, it was great to see the various programs in place around the world focused on providing bike share to the people most in need of affordable transportations and making sure it works to suit their needs.

G.A.R.E. (Government Alliance for Race and Equity) headlined a lot of the remaining workshops. They provided a “racial equity toolkit” which allows individuals and organizations to put any of their practices or programs through to ensure they are serving and incorporating equity in all facets. They also provided strategies to address “dog whistles” and opposition to equity work after asking those under the Better Bike Share Partnership gran what they’d most find valuable. I found that spoke wonders to the opposition faced around the country and was very happy to see an approach which did not try to handle such issues with “kid gloves”.

It was truly a great experience and very encouraging to see so many people from minority groups providing their insight and experience, always with a theme of looking forward and the necessity of better practices in the future. However, I couldn’t help but think the whole time of the setting I was in. Portland is a predominantly white city (73% according to my research) and one with a lot of displacement of minority groups. Their bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure seem to go up with little or no opposition. Simply put, it’s a different world than New Orleans and there is no place I’d rather be than New Orleans. I realize that we have a much larger uphill battle (though much fewer hills) but there is no place I’d rather be working on it and nobody I’d sooner work for than the great people of New Orleans.

nola.com - One-third of New Orleans cyclists are black, but they face the most bike charges in…

Posted by Heather Haylett on September 11, 2018 in Advocacy

By Chelsea Brasted .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

The conditions for biking are improving in and around New Orleans, but we risk sustaining some of our worst inequities if we don’t do more to make sure black neighborhoods and families can safely participate in the joy of biking around their city. Along with data that shows crashes are concentrated in low-income and communities of color, the reality reflected in these statistics is unacceptable and must be fixed if we’re going to be a better New Orleans moving forward.
- Dan Favre, Executive Director

One-third of New Orleans cyclists are black, but they face the most bike charges in traffic court

By Chelsea Brasted .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

This story was originally posted on nola.com

When Kevin Louis was ticketed for various infractions while biking to a corner store to pick up a pack of cigarettes earlier this year, he got angry, especially after realizing the ticket was going to cost him nearly $1,000 in fines.

But he was also angry because, he thought, this wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t been a black man.

It’s impossible to confirm that in Louis’ exact circumstances — he told me, after all, he was doing all of the things he got ticketed for by police — but court records show his hunch wasn’t misled.

Those $157 fines for not having your bike registered should soon be a thing of the past.

Black people comprise about two-thirds of those who faced charges for bike infractions in Traffic Court between 2016 and July 2018. While that lines up with the demographics of New Orleans’ population, it represents an oversized share of who actually rides bikes here. In a 2015 Regional Planning Commission report, just about one-third of city cyclists were identified as black.

The discrepancy is one other cities have noticed, as well. Eight of 10 ticketed cyclists in Tampa Bay, Fla., are black, according to a 2015 Tampa Bay Times report. In Chicago, where black people comprise about a third of the city’s population, majority black neighborhoods were hit with more than half of all bike tickets, according to the Chicago Tribune earlier this year. That report came after, a year earlier, the same reporter showed seven of the top 10 areas for bike tickets were in black neighborhoods. Similar reports have come out of Minneapolis and New York City.

As a Bike Easy analysis shows, biking around New Orleans is already dangerous: black cyclists comprise 46.9 percent of bike fatalities and 47.6 percent of injuries.

At least some things could be changing, albeit slightly. One of the fines Louis faces — the requirement for bike registration — might soon come off the city’s books as preparations are made for the coming herd of electric scooters. He was one of just 33 people who ended up with that charge. Twenty of them were black.

Any discrepancy in the data about which cyclists get ticketed in New Orleans is not surprising to Kevin Louis. “I already knew that,” he said Monday (Sept. 10). He thanked me for putting numbers to his impression of things, but it was a pyrrhic victory, at best. “At least I can say it with confidence,” he said.

How this was reported: NOPD data on citations for cyclists and their demographics was not available. Instead, we used charges as reported by New Orleans Municipal and Traffic Court that included the keywords bike and bicycle. Those that were applied to automotive drivers were removed from the count. One outlier — charges for a bike helmet law, which doesn’t exactly apply to adults — amounted to nearly 800 charges. Local lawyer Charles Thomas, who chairs Bike Easy’s Policy and Design Committee, noted this was likely due to original charges being pleaded down from other bike infractions. Notably, the data changed little when this outlier was removed. With it, black riders account for 64 percent of 1,016 charges and white riders, 30 percent. Without it, black people represent 63 percent of 252 total charges and white people, 32 percent.

Weekly Update - September 11th (Video)

Posted by Heather Haylett on September 11, 2018 in Advocacy

News for the week.

Connect the Crescent work continues on! Rain delays are due to the ground needing 24-hour time for the temporary striping to stick. We are beyond grateful for volunteers and their enthusiastic flexibility! We still need help making this protected bikeway demonstration a reality. Sign up to volunteer at http://www.connectthecrescent.com. Share your pictures by tagging @Connect the Crescent and using #connectthecrescent.

Connect the Crescent Installation Begins

Posted by Dan Favre on September 8, 2018 in Advocacy

Over 50 volunteers started improving Baronne Street on Saturday, Sept 8

What an amazing day!! Bike Easy and partners, with support from the City of New Orleans, began work today to improve the configuration of Baronne Street as part of Connect The Crescent, a 3-month demonstration of improved mobility options. Nearly 50 volunteers came out to install the demonstration to show how Baronne Street can be transformed to safely and equitably serve everyone who travels in New Orleans by converting its buffered bike lane into a fully protected corridor, giving both people biking and people driving peace of mind (and their own space) on the road. It was inspiring to see so many people come together and get their hands dirty working to improve mobility, safety, and quality-of-life.

Some of the temporary materials for the “pop-up” demonstration require dry pavement for many hours before and after installation, and a portion of the installation has been delayed due to weather.

People are advised to continue using Baronne Street as before – parking on the curb on both sides of the street, the left lane for people in motor vehicles, and the right lane for people riding bicycles.

Depending on weather, changes will be completed over the coming days, and the reconfiguration will be instituted until mid-December. Once complete, the Baronne Street configuration will feature the same number of parking and motor vehicle lanes while adding a parking protected 2-way bikeway. For more details on the Baronne Street installation and redesign, visit http://www.connectthecrescent.com/the-network.

The public is encouraged to share feedback and ideas at http://www.connectthecrescent.com/contact or by emailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Connect the Crescent is still on!

Posted by Heather Haylett on September 6, 2018 in Events

Connect the Crescent installation begins September 8th!

Don’t worry, Connect the Crescent is still on! We’ve rescheduled installation, and still need your help. Sign up today for new shifts!

With the wet weather forecasts of last week and temporary materials that need dry pavement, we couldn’t risk creating new and amazing bike lanes that would just wash away. Installation will resume on Saturday, September 8th on Baronne St.

New Connect the Crescent installation dates are now scheduled with work extended to September 12th, 15th, and 16th. Its been a crazy whirlwind of rearrangements to accommodate the weather (and threat of weather). Thanks for bearing with us and for signing up for new shifts.

We’re so excited to get things rolling again and to get the network installed. This is a huge opportunity to showcase the benefits of safe and low-stress connections for everyone getting around New Orleans.

Help us Connect the Crescent!

If you have any questions or would like more information about the project and other ways you can be involved, please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Let’s Connect the Crescent together!

Whole Foods Market - FixIt Stations

Posted by Heather Haylett on September 4, 2018 in Bike-Friendly Businesses

Bike Easy and Whole Foods Market have teamed up to install 2 new public use repair stations!

Last year, Bike Easy teamed with Whole Foods Market to raise money for our organizations. Last September, shoppers were able to help support our local non-profit with 5% of sales going to Bike Easy. With a portion of these proceeds, we were able to purchase and install two new FixIt Stations to and install them in the region.

We worked with the City of Mandeville to install one of these stations at the Mandeville Trailhead of the Tammany Trace. The second was installed outside the Arabella Station Whole Foods, right along Magazine St. – visible and accessible for people riding around Uptown.

These stations come equipped with all the tools to make quick adjustments or repair a flat tire. They are also equipped with a heavy-duty air pump, complete with a pressure gauge to ensure your tires are always properly inflated.

To find more public use repair stations check out the “Bike FixIt Station” tab under our online map.

fixit

Connect the Crescent - News Release

Posted by Heather Haylett on August 31, 2018 in Events

For immediate release: August 30, 2018

Contact: Dan Favre, 504-321-1247, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Rob Henig Bell, 504-256-9673, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Connect the Crescent Installation Begins this Weekend

Three-month “pop-up” demonstration invites community engagement in creating streets built to share

New Orleans – Installation begins this Saturday on a “pop-up” roadway demonstration that will last for 3 months to engage the community in a conversation around how streets can be transformed safely, inexpensively and equitably for everyone in New Orleans.

Connect the Crescent, led by Bike Easy and a coalition of partners working with the City of New Orleans, will demonstrate a continuous, protected transportation network using temporary materials. The pop-up demonstration will consist of enhanced crosswalks, improved transit connections, and protected bikeways featuring barriers separating people biking from automobile traffic on routes leading to and through New Orleans’ French Quarter and Central Business District.

“People tell us all the time what they’d like to change about biking, walking, or riding the bus in New Orleans. This is an opportunity to experience real change on the ground, designed to improve transportation in and out of downtown, in a way that creates a conversation between residents and the City. Throughout this 3-month trial, people can weigh in on what is and what isn’t making their daily travel easier,” said Rob Henig Bell, Campaign Manager of Bike Easy and lead project organizer, “The end goal is to make our streets built to share for everyone biking, walking, driving, and riding public transit in every part of New Orleans.”

With a focus on equity, Bike Easy, the City of New Orleans, and other partners identified the downtown area as the focus area in order to improve job access for residents. Over 71,000 jobs are in downtown and the French Quarter, almost 40% of total jobs in the city. Over 50% of those jobs earn less than $40,000 a year. Access to the jobs and services in this area is critical to continuing to attract workforce, employers and visitors. The City of New Orleans through its participation in the People for Bikes Big Jump Project has committed to creating safer biking connections in this critical area that connects to all directions: Uptown, Central City, Mid-City, downriver, Algiers and beyond.

“As the City continues the good work of fulfilling its commitment to create more mobility options for all people in New Orleans, the information and community feedback gathered from this project will be crucial to informing permanent designs of streets that are safe and easy for all people – whether walking, biking, taking transit, or driving.”

Connect the Crescent is fully funded by grants and sponsorships, including support from Wend Ventures, AARP, People for Bikes, Cities of Service, Dero, the American Heart Association, University of New Orleans Transportation Institute, Louisiana Cancer Prevention and Control Programs, Asakura Robinson, Basin Street Station, District C Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer / Harrah’s Community Grant, the Downtown Development District, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Friends of Lafitte Greenway, Traffic Solutions, American Public Works Association – GNO Chapter, AECOM, HNTB, Command Construction, and Pavement Markings. The work is being coordinated with support from the City of New Orleans through its Office of Resilience and Sustainability and related departments.

Learn more about the demonstration project at http://www.connectthecrescent.com. The website also offers opportunities to volunteer, provide community feedback, and learn more about mobility opportunities in the City of New Orleans.

Connect the Crescent - Installation Volunteers Needed

Posted by Virginia Brisley on August 28, 2018 in Advocacy

Get involved with Connect the Crescent - one of the largest ‘pop-up’ demonstration projects in the country

Bike Easy’s mission is to make biking easy, safe, and fun for everyone in our region.  That’s why we are incredibly excited to work with the City of New Orleans to launch Connect the Crescent – a connected, ‘pop-up’ transportation network that will make it easier to bike and walk in and through Downtown New Orleans.

We need your help to make it happen!

Installation days are September 1, 2, 5, 8 & 11. We have a high need for volunteers on Sept 2, but can certainly use your help on the other dates also. Follow this link sign up for as many shifts as you’re able to work with us.

If you have any questions or would like more information about the project and other ways you can be involved, please contact Virginia.

Let’s Connect the Crescent together!

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