Voice Your Support for Complete Streets in Jefferson Parish

Posted by Heather Haylett on May 8, 2018 in Advocacy

Call the parish council to voice your support for passing a Complete Streets policy!

Jefferson Parish residents, we need you to speak up! Now is an important time to show you care about safe, accessible biking and walking. Please call 504-608-3461 or email to voice your support for the passing of a Complete Streets policy in Jefferson Parish! Phone call script below.

There is a growing culture of riding in Jefferson Parish. This is made especially evident by the hundreds of riders who show up to the Gretna social ride every Friday night with lights and music, the spandex-clad riders cruising the levee at dawn, and the families teaching their kids how to ride on the weekends. From the conversations we have with the bikers of Jefferson parish, however, there is room for improvement. It is nearly impossible to cross the Parish going from lake to river, with I-10 and train tracks as serious obstacles. The parish lacks any permanent fully safe and accessible on-road bike infrastructure, and bikers are forced to jostle for space on roads with high-speeded limits. Cities around Jefferson Parish are pursuing individual projects to improve safety for bikers, but we need to ensure that those projects are done within a larger vision that truly serves the needs of bikers.

Jefferson Parish should adopt a Complete Streets policy to make sure the parish prioritizes street designs that are safe for bikers of all ages and abilities, and creates walking, biking, and transit networks that connect us to our jobs, parks, schools, grocery stores, and churches. It would also ensure that the parish focuses on areas of greatest danger and those that have seen historic lack of investment to improve health equity and quality of life in the places that need it most. All councilmembers understand the need for better and safer bike infrastructure and many have pursued projects in their districts to install bike lanes and crosswalks. A Complete Streets policy would help unify these projects into a more cohesive vision and ensure that expectations and outcomes for each have a set of agreed upon standards and performance measures. This ensures that creating safe and accessible bike infrastructure is not left solely to the discretion of those in elected office, but is institutionalized within a parish department with the ability to plan long-term.

Over the past year, Bike Easy has been working to connect to the people, organizations, and businesses that support safe and accessible biking across Jefferson Parish. We’ve found that supporters and coalition members care about this cause for economic, health equity, quality-of-life, and environmental reasons, among many others. Currently, 23 organizations and businesses have signed on to Bike Easy’s letter of support for Complete Streets for Jefferson Parish and 679 parish residents, both Eastbank and Westbank, have signed a petition for the parish to pass such a policy.

Bike Easy and our members of the Jefferson Parish Complete Streets Coalition have been meeting regularly with the parish council to see how we can continue to make streets safe and accessible for bikers of all ages and abilities for generations to come. Our Complete Streets Ambassadors, as well as our partners at the American Heart Association, have discussed Complete Streets policy one-on-one with all five parish council-members and two at-large council-members. All have expressed support for safe and accessible biking across the parish, and Councilwoman Jennifer Van Vrancken of District 5 has taken on a leading role as our policy champion. Councilwoman Van Vrancken invited Bike Easy to present on our Complete Streets for Health Equity report as well as our work across the region to the entire parish council a few months ago.

The parish has started to coordinate the process of updating their comprehensive plan, a major planning document that determines community goals and aspirations in terms of community development, and Bike Easy will work to ensure that complete streets are included in that plan. Prior to the comprehensive plan, however, we need to show broad support from Jefferson Parish residents to pass a Complete Streets policy. Councilmembers say they need to hear more from our supporters and partners, so let’s show them that we support safer and more accessible biking and walking!

Right now, Jefferson Parish residents are calling in to the parish council to voice their support for passing a complete streets policy that would prioritize street designs that are safe for bikers of all ages and abilities, and create walking, biking, and transit networks that connect us to our jobs, parks, schools, grocery stores, and churches. Please call 504-608-3461 to be connected directly to a councilmember and voice your support for passing a Complete Streets policy! All talking points are included in the beginning of the call, and you can find instructions and a script below.

Email a Parish Council Member now to urge them to pass a Complete Streets policy.

Phone call script.

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