Accessible Mobility & Affordable Housing

Posted by Elon Glickman on August 18, 2020 in

Where we live and how we get around are fundamental to our daily lives. Taken together, the combined expense of housing and transportation amount to most families’ largest expenditures. To preserve the fabric of our community amid today’s economic realities, transportation options together with housing must be safe, accessible, and affordable. That’s why Bike Easy is asking the New Orleans City Council to support the Smart Housing Mix.

There are so many great places to ride a bike to in Greater New Orleans – City Park, on our way to work, or to a friend’s house, along the Mississippi River – but perhaps the most important is the place many of us bike to most often – home.

For over 15 years, Bike Easy has successfully advocated for more bike lanes in and around New Orleans. We believe deeply in the power of biking to help create a healthy, prosperous, resilient, and equitable future for all people of the region. But we know safe & accessible biking is only one part of a healthy, sustainable community. Over the years, we’ve come to understand the many other important, underlying issues are intertwined with biking — public health, our transit system, the environment, economic opportunity, racial justice, our sense of place and community, and the issue we want to highlight today: affordable housing.

Where we live and how we get around are fundamental to our daily lives. Taken together, the combined expense of housing and transportation amount to most families’ largest expenditures. To preserve the fabric of our community amid today’s economic realities, transportation options together with housing must be safe, accessible, and affordable. That’s why Bike Easy is asking the New Orleans City Council to support the Smart Housing Mix.

To help ensure that safe, accessible mobility for New Orleans is tied to available, affordable housing in New Orleans, please submit a public comment to the N.O. City Council in support of the Smart Housing Mix

But how does affordable housing relate to Bike Easy’s mission to make biking easy, safe, and fun for everyone in greater New Orleans? Through our work in the New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition and with municipal and parish governments, Bike Easy knows the deep connection between transportation and housing. Walking across a busy street or biking to school or work should be available for everyone regardless of age, ability, income, or zip code. Yet we know many lower-income, long-time residents have been and are continuing to be pushed to car dependent areas far from jobs and opportunity. We’re supporting affordable housing policies that will help long-time residents afford to remain in their homes and connected to their communities so that as we make progress for better biking and mobility, everyone in the community is around to enjoy it.

The struggle to find affordable housing has been building for years in communities across New Orleans and Jefferson Parish. We know the people who live here and make this place what it is will benefit from more transportation options and safe bike infrastructure, but only if they can remain here and avoid being displaced by the complex economic and social forces that define gentrification. Long-time residents, both renters and homeowners, continue to find themselves priced out of neighborhoods and into lower rent areas in the suburbs, out of the region entirely, or in some cases rendered homeless. We believe progress can be made with policies like the Smart Housing Mix aimed at ensuring affordable housing for the city’s low-income residents.

Learn more about the Smart Housing Mix to create affordable housing in New Orleans and join Bike Easy in support!
Dueling crises brought about by the pandemic — widespread loss of incomes and the need to stay safe at home — have only intensified the urgency to take action to ensure the creation of affordable housing in New Orleans alongside safe, accessible, affordable mobility options.

All these reasons are why Bike Easy is supporting the Smart Housing Mix. We hope you stand with us in support at this week’s New Orleans City Council meeting, this Thursday, August 20th.

Championed by HousingNola, a fellow member of the New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition, the Smart Housing Mix is a policy that tackles the availability of affordable housing with a mix of incentives and regulations to create hundreds and eventually thousands of new, affordable homes in the heart of New Orleans where most jobs and community resources are located. The New Orleans City Council is in the process of determining precisely which parts of the city to designate as requiring 10% or 5% of new units to be made affordable.

A key part of the Smart Housing Mix is to develop affordable housing in transit-oriented areas. This is critically important because as many as 1 in 5 New Orleans households don’t have regular access to an automobile. Along the Lafitte Greenway, Canal Street, and on other corridors residents can take advantage of multiple transit lines, low-stress bike routes, shaded walking paths, and, in the Lafitte Greenway’s case, less flood risk due to robust green infrastructure.

Progress is underway for low-stress, connected biking and walking in New Orleans. We must not forget how streets connect us to our jobs, to our homes, and our communities. Safe, accessible mobility for New Orleans must be tied to available, affordable housing in New Orleans.

See Recent Posts or all posts in the Blog Archives

RSS

Connect With Us