Saturday, October 4, 2014
Lafitte Greenway (New Orleans, LA) progress report
The Lafitte Greenway Bicycle and Pedestrian Path, now under construction through the neighborhoods of Treme and Mid-City will open on schedule in the spring of 2015.
New Orleans Department of Public Works construction project manager Louis Haywood assured a small group attending a Lafitte Greenway Expo at the restored Carver Theatre in Treme recently, that the park and path, "will be open by Jazz Fest."
Construction on the project began in March of 2014.
The 2.6 mile asphalt path connects Basin Street bordering the French Quarter (New Orleans) with N. Alexander St. near N. Carrollton Ave. to the northwest. The path is 12 feet wide and most of it straight as an arrow. The project also includes new ball fields in Treme, grading and replanting of meadows, landscaping and tree planting.
The end of the path at N. Alexander St. is about three blocks from the south entrance to City Park on City Park Ave.
The trail will be lighted and open 24-hours. Security arrangements for the park and trail, which will open in about six months, are being discussed, Haywood said.
The trail intersects several four-lane streets. Haywood said drivers approaching those crosswalks will be warned of crossing pedestrians and cyclists by a state-of-the-art flashing light warning system similar to the flashing lights on emergency and police vehicles. Trail users activate the warning lights by pushing a button at the side of the trail. The lights come on immediately after the button is pushed. This system of warning lights debuted in Florida recently and were very effective in stopping automobile traffic, Haywood said.
The crosswalks will be striped with white "zebra stripes" much larger than those seen at crosswalks in the city now. Pedestrians have the right-of-way at crosswalks.
To facilitate traffic on the path which shares the right-of-way with St. Louis St. for a few blocks, St. Louis St. will become one-way lakebound from N. Carrollton Ave. to Soloman St.
Residents and commuters must stay off the path until it is officially opened as it will be an active construction site until that day and is dangerous, trail officials said. To keep sight-seers out, the pedestrian bridge at Lopez St has been closed. It will be replaced with a new bridge when the path and park open, Haywood said.
Plans for the Lafitte Corridor path call for it to be extended to Canal Blvd. in lower Lakeview. However that half-mile or so of right-of-way is still an active railroad spur and not now available for path development.
Opening the path next spring should make the city's growing number of bicycle commuters happy. New Orleans is ranked fifth in the nation in bicycle commuting, said Naomi Doerner, executive director of BikeEasy.org, a bicycle advocacy group in New Orleans. In the years between 2010 and 2012 bicycle commuting in the city increased 200 percent, she told the group at the expo.
For more information contact the Department of Public Works at (504) 658-8046 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Friends of Lafitte Corridor at www.folc-nola.org.