Complete Street Rally Success

Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012

UPDATE:

Wednesday, 11/21/12
Rally was fantastic, 150 supporters showed during the 3 hour event on Decatur at Washington Artillery Park. Mock bike lanes provided by Neighborland was fantastic help on logistics, getting the word out and building mock bicycle lanes (which the carriages took to quickly). Staff pumped up the crowd with great chants, and the vibe was very positive with many supportive honks, good discussions and outpouring of petition support. We have delivered 910 signatures: 727 from online and 183 from print as well as 5 letters of support to the City. Cross your fingers and sign the petition if you haven’t yet.

Media Coverage
WGNO
WDSU (not posted online yet)
NolaVie
NOLA Defender

Bike Easy letter to the City 11/21/12:

RE: Decatur Bike Lane Public Support – 910 signatures, 6 letters of support in 5 days

Dear Mr. Jernigan —

We continue to seek a safer layout for pedestrian, bicycle, transit and mobility impaired for Decatur Street by the inclusion of bicycle lanes in the striping plan.

PUBLIC INPUT
Significant public support that exists for bicycle lanes for the entire length of the Decatur Street overlay. Despite DPW’s claims of lack of public input, Bike Easy has gathered significant public input in a very short time frame.

The City has been planning for the Superbowl for over 1 year, which is more than adequate time to gather public input and conduct a legitimate traffic study that looks not solely at delay for cars, but also at safety and comfort of the heaviest users of this street: pedestrians, bicycles and transit riders.

This issue demonstrates why the City needs legitimate and appropriate public engagement and analysis to support its own complete streets policy. Advocacy for complete streets is growing, this is not just a bicyclist issue, it’s a quality of life issue. It’s a public safety issue.

CONGESTION
Concerns of congestion are misguided. In the 2 hours of each day when congestion is a problem in all of the downtown core, not just Decatur: you’re planning for only 8% of the time the road is being used. Meanwhile, safety improvements save lives 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Speed over safety is misguided. If you want to tackle congestion, address light timing on Canal, not volume on Decatur.

Pubic interest and support in this issue can also be gauged by the strong media response. TV crews from WGNO and WDSU attended our rally on 11/20/12. This issue was also mentioned on WWL and WWOZ. Nolavie.com and NOLAdefender.com both ran stories on this issue. The Times-Picayune also picked up an op-ed on this topic earlier in the month.

The following support was collected in 5 days from 11/16/12 to 11/21/12

Petition Signatures (attached):
727 signatures and comments from our online petition
183 physical signatures

Letters of support (attached):
French Quarter Business Association
New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau
Tulane Prevention Research Center
University of New Orleans Transportation Institute
Ellen Soll, Sustainable Transportation Advisory Committee
Ride New Orleans

Bike Lane Rally 11/20/12 (photos)
Approx 150 participants over 3 hours

In light of the strong public support for bicycle lanes on Decatur, We request your department to re-evaluate your decision to include three blocks of bicycle lanes from St. Peter to St. Louis and instead include bicycle lanes for the full length of the project.

Sincerely,

Jamie Wine, Executive Director
Bike Easy

Thursday, 11.15.12: Rally is back on – Tuesday, 11.20.12 at Washington Artillery Park (across from Jackson Square) 3pm – 6pm.

The City of New Orleans has failed to produce a design that takes into account the safety of its citizens. The current design is inadequate to address the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians in the Quarter. Bike Easy is holding a rally and asking you to sign our petition which will be delivered to the Mayor after the rally on Tuesday.

Tuesday, 11.6.12: Rally Is Postponed. Details on Facebook.
Rally is cancelled, but Bike Easy is on the case. The Mayor’s office has assured us that the final designs are not complete, and that bicycle facilities are still part of the discussion.

Monday, 11.5.12: Decatur/N. Peters Scheduled Rolling closures for milling operations to begin starting at Canal working towards Dumaine

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Original story:

The City of New Orleans is designing Decatur Street as an incomplete, unsafe street. DPW is missing an opportunity to follow its own Complete Streets Policy to make Decatur Street from Canal to Elysian Fields safer for all users.

What can you do?

Call Department of Public Works (504) 658-8000 and say “I bike Decatur” we need bicycle lanes for the whole stretch, to make the road safer for all residents and visitors. Email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to report you phone call and what they tell you.

Poor Design

The design, as it stands, is a fast, wide thoroughfare designed for automobiles only, designed outside the historic consideration and existing traffic patterns for the French Quarter. It also ignores the high bicycle crash rate and high usage by bicycle riders (UNO Studies 2004-2008). It also ignores public sentiment collected at environmental scoping meetings. Most damning is that DPW is ignoring a study (requested by the City) that showed the benefit for traffic flow of all users, in a design that incorporates bicycle lanes.

It is irresponsible to build this street as designed. The City should redesign the street to follow its own Complete Streets Policy (adopted 12/2011) and design Decatur to match safety, convenience and public desires of all users. Time is of the essence, once concrete is poured for medians, the alignment of lanes cannot be changed. A redesign is simple, cheap and easy way to use public money to benefit all users of Decatur Street.

Open Letter to the Landrieu Administration

Dear Mayor Landrieu and Deputy Mayor Grant:

Bike Easy is concerned about safety and level-of-service issues with the design plans on Decatur. We seek adjustments to the current overlay and striping plan.

We requested changes last week through the Department of Public Works, but have not yet received a response. As milling and overlay of this street is imminent, we’re seeking your assistance in making changes to this street design plan.

ACTION REQUESTED FROM CITY OF NEW ORLEANS
Utilizing public input, and the traffic study commission by the City — include bicycle lanes for the full length of the project. Such a treatment would adhere to the city’s Complete Streets Policy, increase safety and improve level of service on the road.

Key Points:

  • Traffic Study found that Decatur, with full length bike lanes, improved service for all vehicles, including cars and trucks
  • Public sentiment strongly requested such facilities in the environmental scoping meetings
  • Time is of the essence – once concrete is poured for the pedestrian islands the design will eliminate any chance of installing bicycle facilities at all.

The case for bicycle lanes on Decatur:

  • High Bicycle Traffic Levels – Bicycle and pedestrian traffic increased on Decatur 19.6% and 30.6% respectively from 2010 to 2011 according to UNO’s study. (UNO Count Report for 2010-2011). This makes the Decatur corridor one of the heaviest traveled (by bicycles) in their study.
  • Improved Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety – Decatur at Jackson Square is at the center of a crash cluster. Dedicated bicycle lanes help reduce crashes and can help solve the crash cluster. UNO Crash Report for 2006-2008
  • Demonstrating Complete Streets in Action: The only place in New Orleans where vehicles, trucks, buses, ferries, pedicabs, pedestrians, carriages, taxies and bicycles already co-habit. Design it that way and let’s make it safer for all users.
  • Signaling that New Orleans is Bicycle Friendly to the world: At the heart of the city, a bicycle facility on this route would signal to the world that New Orleans is bicycle friendly.

This is a chance to make an positive change that will last a generation. Please redesign these plans with public sentiment, the New Orleans Complete Streets Policy and all users’ safety in mind.

Sincerely,

Jamie Wine, Executive Director, Bike Easy

What can you do?

Call Department of Public Works (504) 658-8000 and say “I bike Decatur” we need bicycle lanes for the whole stretch, to make the road safer for all residents and visitors. Email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to report you phone call and what they tell you.

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