(Photo: Jason Paris | CC)
A public meeting is scheduled for Aug. 17 and will give New Orleans residents an opportunity to give input on pedestrianization concepts for the French Quarter.
The meeting is virtual and will be held by video conference using Zoom from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The meeting is hosted by New Orleans City Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer, whose district includes the French Quarter.
Click here to join the meeting. Meeting ID is 99052390624 and the password is 192217. Due to the expected high number of participants, questions will only be allowed through the Zoom chat feature and text messages. Questions and feedback can be submitted in advance to email@example.com.
Using the COVID-19 shutdowns as an opportunity to explore the idea, Mayor LaToya Cantrell launched a team in May to research concepts of reducing traffic in the French Quarter and making the neighborhood more pedestrian friendly.
Cantrell surveyed more than 2,000 French Quarter residents as part of the process and created a webpage that provides information pedestrianization and a general timeline for public engagement.
Additionally, Palmer requested her staff to seek input from various French Quarter resident and business associations.
“Fewer cars means a reduction of air and noise pollution, it means more people walking and bicycling, and it opens up opportunities to introduce street furniture and landscaping—all things that can help to create a healthier lifestyle and environment while preserving the cultural fabric of the neighborhood,” Cantrell said.
fewer cars means a reduction of air and noise pollution, it means more people walking and bicycling, and it opens up opportunities to introduce street furniture and landscaping – all things that can help to create a healthier lifestyle and environment while preserving the cultural fabric of the neighborhood,”
Concepts include reducing vehicular speeds to 15 mph on interior streets and 20 mph on perimeter roads, creating protected bike lanes on North Rampart Street, prohibiting curbside parking and a “civic spine” that would add a permanent pedestrian mall down the entire length of Orleans Street.
In addition, proposals include several portions of the French Quarter, and Frenchmen Street, that would be closed for vehicular traffic after a certain time.
One proposal would close streets from Iberville to Conti and from Bourbon to the river after 5 p.m., although Bienville Street would remain open for emergency traffic, and would allow businesses, such as restaurants, to expand to the curbside.
The city-proposed concepts can be viewed here.
The Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates on Aug. 1 released an analysis of the proposed concepts.
Calling it “inappropriate,” VCPORA opposed civic spine proposal over concerns that it would split the French Quarter in two and restrict residential access.
“Though residents do not expect to park in front of their homes, for parking is already scarce, access is necessary to accommodate those who are mobility challenged, for unloading heavy items and deliveries and for the continual maintenance of centuries-old buildings,” according to VCPORA.
The VCPORA’s full analysis of the concepts can be read here.