A letter from our Executive Director

So last week I sent you a short email… Today I’m sending you a long one, but it is so good and full of such great news that you’ll be happy you read it till the end!

If you’ve been around me for the last few years, chances are that you’ve heard me talk about the Purple Way.  What began as an idea lead by the Krewe of Red Beans and other local advocates for safety in response to the Endymion crash on Esplanade Ave in 2019 that impacted our community so deeply, is still on our minds.  The early stages of the Purple Way included a safety campaign along Esplanade in 2020 with a series of posters meant to create awareness and the first Tour de Bean: a celebration along a closed block of Esplanade Ave meant to help envision what it would be like to have separate infrastructure for folks walking, biking, and rolling to Carnival and Festivals.  Then the pandemic happened and momentum was lost.

Nevertheless, a little over 2 years ago Devin de Wulf and I began talking about ways to partner again and the Purple Way came up.  I am honored that he trusted us to continue to grow this idea, and in partnership with Patrick Urbine (Community Engagement Manager for Blue Krewe/Blue Bikes), and Phillip Kiefer we began meeting monthly and figuring out ways to make the Purple Way a reality.  Along the way we re-engaged some of the folks that were behind the origins of this concept, collected data around Carnival and Festivals, and learned best practices through programs like the America Walks Fellowship to be able to better advocate for change.  Listening to concerns and being open to ideas has helped along the way, which leads us to today!

In partnership with the Friends of the Lafitte Greenway and Blue Bikes, Bike Easy is proud to officially launch the Purple Way: your safe and festive way to walk, bike & roll!  We hope this guide with suggested routes, and a hub for all the things that you’ll need to navigate safely this Mardi Gras season will be useful!  We also hope that the more information we put out about how to safely navigate through Carnival and Festivals will help highlight the importance of offering safe – and protected – infrastructure for us all.  The long term dream of this campaign is to have the Purple Ways (actual protected infrastructure) all around our city for folks to safely get around.

If you were part of the initial conversations, or would like to be part of this conversation going forward, please reply this email!  Change takes time, and it really takes a village.

In the meantime, help us promote this campaign by sharing in your own circles and checking some of our upcoming events meant to make it easier for us all to have a great experience getting around this season:

  • Sunday, January 21st – 9:00 am to 11:00 – Safety Sunday Cleanup on Basin and Lafitte Greenway – Read more about it here!
  • Monday, January 29th – 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm – Biking Mardi Gras Workshop & Community Ride – Read more about it here!
  • Thursday, February 1st – 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm – Get Your Bike in Gear for Mardi Gras! Bike Safety & Maintenance Workshop –  Read more about here!

Last, but not least, we will be doing an activation with more information about the Purple Way on Saturday, February 3rd on St Charles near Philip Street.  Come by to say hello, and learn more about our campaign and how you can be more involved.  And yes – I will have a limited amount of Purple Way stickers for you to have!  Oh! And of course we will circulate our Mardi Gras Survey again this year – Stay tuned!

In Service,

Allene La Spina