Claiborne Corridor Ambassador Training Kicks Off!
Successful start to training program to engage more residents in safe street design and transportation planning
Last night, the first meeting of the Claiborne Corridor Ambassadors training convened at the Bike Easy office. It was a powerful kickoff to a program with great promise for the future of transportation in New Orleans. I was smiling wide my whole ride home, inspired by the enthusiasm, knowledge, and vision of everyone involved.
I can’t wait for Keith Holt, Bike Easy’s Community Education Manager who is leading the program, to introduce this effort and for some of the Ambassadors to introduce themselves to everyone at the Community Listening Session on Walking, Biking, and Taking Transit in the Claiborne Corridor. The event will be held Monday, January 18 from 12:30 to 2pm at the Central City Renaissance Alliance, 1631 O. C. Haley Blvd., Fourth Floor (more details on Facebook event page).
The Claiborne Corridor Ambassadors Program, which may be renamed soon by the Ambassadors themselves, begins with a 10-week training program in active transportation basics, community outreach, street design, and advocacy. During the training, which began last night, Ambassadors will actively build and apply their community expertise and use skills from the training to develop a demonstration project or campaign. Once Ambassadors determine a community-driven effort to make it easier for all people to get around, we’ll work together to implement it!
The stories from the first Ambassadors tonight were inspiring, and they rooted the work of building New Orleans streets for people and livable communities in a deep history of how those streets have been used. Paulette told of skating on Alvar Street in the Desire neighborhood as a kid and her family walking from Poland to Canal on different neighborhood streets. Tyronne explained the fun and difficulties of biking downtown to uptown in ‘69. Leonetta described the grassroots process that created the public support to develop the impressive Lafitte Greenway. Even more inspiring were the Ambassadors ideas for the future . . . the momentum to continue improving transportation options in the Corridor is high!
Keith facilitated an engaging discussion that ranged from mobility challenges and solutions in the Claiborne Corridor to group norms and ideas for demonstration projects. The conversation laid the foundation for the overall training program, and everyone is looking forward to getting into more details – next week’s session is a walking and biking audit at two intersections in Central City.
Ambassadors were each nominated by one of the Claiborne Corridor Ambassadors Program’s Partner Organizations, and the program actively aims to help elevate the voices of those in low-income and communities of colors that are so often left out of the transportation planning conversation. Funded by the Foundation for Louisiana TOGETHER Initiative, this effort is a partnership of Bike Easy, Broadmoor Improvement Association, Friends of Lafitte Greenway, Historic Faubourg Treme Association, Jericho Road, Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans, Neighborhoods Partnership Network, NEWCITY Neighborhood Partnership, RIDE New Orleans , and others. It is truly a community-driven team effort.
Please come out this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, January 18 to share your ideas for improving street design for walking, biking, and taking transit in the Claiborne Corridor! The discussion will help inform the efforts of the Ambassadors as they implement community-driven campaigns to build streets in New Orleans that create great places to live and provide safe and accessible transportation options to all people.
Judging from last night, it will be an inspiring conversation.