This is a past Event

St. Claude Bridge Safety

CSED Grassroots Committee Tackles Safety Issue


Thu, Aug 16, 2012
11:30 – 11:30 am


CSED Office






The St. Claude Avenue Bridge, which spans the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal and connects the Upper and Lower Ninth Wards, is a missing link in city and regional bicycle access. The Bridge poses a serious hazard to bicyclists and pedestrians, as people crossing by bicycle and foot are unnecessarily vulnerable to accidents and crime.

The St. Claude Avenue Bridge is the only reasonable option for residents of the Lower 9th Ward and outer Parishes without cars to get across the Industrial Canal to the core of the city. But because commerce, jobs, and amenities are concentrated on the Upper 9th Ward side of the Industrial Canal, many residents cross regularly to go to work, buy groceries, or go to the doctor.

46% of residents who live within a five-mile radius of the bridge don’t own cars, compared with 32% citywide.

The bridge is a key missing link for bicycle access between bicycle lanes on St. Claude Avenue on both sides of the bridge, and on the Mississippi River Trail. It is a barrier not only between neighborhoods but also limits inter-regional and inter-parish transit and economic opportunity.


In the spring of 2012, the St. Claude Bridge Safety and Access Committee partnered with students at the University of New Orleans in their Masters of Urban and Regional Planning program to study existing conditions on the bridge and propose recommendations. The study offers immediate fixes as well as larger infrastructural improvement, concluding that “Improving accommodations for bicyclists and pedestrians across the St. Claude Avenue Bridge would increase public health, safety, and equity.”


Residents have identified basic measures that should be taken immediately to begin to address problems of safety, access and equity. These are stop- gap measures that require relatively little financial investment and no significant structural modification of the bridge.

  • Lane Striping
  • Add more prominent shared-lane markings to the right lane of the bridge in both directions
  • Signage
  • Add new signs that clearly indicate to bicyclists and drivers that the right lane of the bridge is a shared lane that may be fully- occupied by cyclists, and signs advertising state law that requires drivers to maintain a three-foot buffer between their vehicles and bicyclists.
  • Lighting
  • Add new pedestrian-scale lighting along the bridge to increase safety
  • Railings Replace or retrofit railings on stairs and walkways to bring them up to code
  • Change Truck Routes
  • Modify truck routes to end conflicts between freight and non-motorized transit in shared lanes
  • Enforce Bridge Speed Limit
  • Work with law enforcement to enforce the speed limit and laws giving cyclists three feet of space


The Retrofit Alternative entails expanding and improving the pedestrian path across the St. Claude Bridge to more efficiently and safely accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians. The improvement includes lengthening and widening paths, installing new lighting, and providing ADA-compliant ramp access. The report by UNO. identifies case studies, estimates costs, and identifies potential funding sources.

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This Event is part of Bike Easy’s Advocacy Project.

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