Connect The Crescent – Protected Bikeway Demonstration in Downtown New Orleans
Bike Easy, the City of New Orleans, community partners, and 100+ volunteers show the potential of protected bikeways
Connect The Crescent, a 3-month transportation network demonstration, made traveling to and through downtown New Orleans safer and easier for people biking, walking, and riding the bus. At its heart was 2.5 miles of protected bikeways, which create physical separation between people biking and driving, and are proven to be effective in improving safety and increasing ridership across the country and in countless cities across the globe. Every resident in New Orleans deserves safe, accessible, low-cost transportation options. With increased options comes the benefit of healthier communities and increased economic activity.
Bike Easy and a range of community partners worked with the City of New Orleans in a collaboration of public and private partners powered by over 200 residents volunteering their time and financed exclusively through grants, sponsorships, and in-kind donations. Mobilizing a coalition and raising thousands of dollars for a temporary demonstration can seem counter-intuitive, but putting regular citizens and private funding in the lead gave New Orleans the opportunity to test whether quickly and affordably renovating streets could help meet a series of transportation improvement goals.
New Orleans residents often say they would bike to work or around town with their family, but sharing the road with cars and trucks is too dangerous. Connect The Crescent aimed to address the issue of safety so more individuals and families feel comfortable biking in the city. This should apply to all neighborhoods — Uptown, Mid-City, Algiers, Lakeview, Gentilly, the 9th Ward, New Orleans East, as well as communities in Jefferson and St. Bernard Parishes.
Bike ridership increased 20 – 84% over baseline numbers during demonstration
Helmet usage increased
Illegal sidewalk/wrong-way riding decreased
New Orleans’ bicyclists are demographically diverse, especially in areas underserved by infrastructure
Vehicle speeds – Median speeds held steady – Max speeds dropped up to 26%
Crashes and safety – 12% fewer crashes on Baronne Street during demonstration compared to rest of city
Vehicle travel time on Baronne – no change during off-peak; increases only at peak hour
Reduction in illegal lane usage on Baronne
Transit ridership and on-time performance – OTP improved, ridership went up on segment of corridor impacted
Business and Resident surveys – Online, intercept, and canvassing
85% of bicyclists rated their experience as improved
50% of pedestrians rated experience as improved, 50% as “about the same”
76% of everyday drivers support the project or say safety was improved
57% of businesses surveyed were neutral about the installations. Of those who indicated an opinion, 73% were positive
87% (719 of 826 respondents) of residents were supportive of the project overall; majority would like to see changes made permanent (or tweaked to make them even better!)
“As a mother of two who is far more reliant on her car than she’d like to be, I’m strongly in support of making the city safer and more amenable to travel by bike, foot and transit!”