Bicycle Vending on Esplanade Could Get Love in Triangles if Machines Scaled Down

photos courtesy Google Street View

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade


Bike Share Update – Transportation Committee 2.22.17


Recently, Robert Thompson, a long time Faubourg St. John resident, highlighted the new Bike Share program promoted by the City of New Orleans. You can read more about Robert’s concerns and the proposed plan in the link below:
Robert’s concern, one shared by many neighbors, is the possible placement of long bicycle vending machines in or around neighborhood parks. I began to think about where I would put bicycle vending machines on Esplanade if I wanted to maximize use and profit potential. It certainly would not be in parks.

What about placing smaller units in areas that do not take up any existing vehicle parking or use neighborhood park land? Many of Faubourg St. John’s parks are maintained by Faubourg St. John neighbors.

Commercial bicycle vending machines in commercial areas would get more exposure and therefore use. Since the vendor operator has refused to meet with Robert and other concerned neighbors, it gives more credence to Robert’s concern that the goal may be to place large vending machines in neighborhood parks.

Scaling down the size of the machines to fit on the following City-owned properties could get more support from neighbors:

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade
The triangle of land on the corner of Esplanade and Ponce de Leon is City-owned land.

This triangle of City-owned land would be perfect for a small bicycle vending machine. It’s next to the popular Cafe Degas and just steps from some of Faubourg St. John’s most frequented businesses. However, placing a bicycle vending machine here would take more thought and planning as the area has been landscaped by Cafe Degas and it is unlikely neighbors would want that disturbed. Click on the photo for a closer look at the City-owned land next to Cafe Degas.

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade
The triangle of land on Esplanade at Grand Route St. John is City-owned land.

This triangle of City-owned land at the corner of Esplanade and Grand Route Saint John is currently used as a bus stop. Bicycle vending machines located here would be an “impulse buy” and very convenient for those who may have been considering taking the bus but don’t want to wait for it to arrive. Click on the photo for a closer look at the bus stop shaded by a large oak tree.

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade
This lot at the intersection of LePage and Esplanade is City-owned land.

I suggested earlier that the vendor may want to consider smaller vending machines for areas along Esplanade. Here is a swath of City-owned land that could accommodate a larger bicycle vending machine. Click on the photo for a closer look at the area on Esplanade that could accommodate a larger bicycle vending machine.

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade
This triangle of City-owned land is across the street from a school and next to a coffee shop.

What better place for a bicycle vending machine than next to a coffee shop and across from a school? This area on Esplanade at Desoto is perfectly suited for this purpose.
Click on the photo for a closer look at the area by CC’s Coffee that could be used for a bicycle vending machine.


Bicycle Vending on Esplanade
Area at the corner of Broad and Esplanade.

This location is in the middle of an area surrounded by successful businesses frequented by many patrons. A bicycle vending machine located here would have the potential for much use. Click on the photo for a closer look at the area on Esplanade at Broad.

This has been an opinion piece by Charlie London

Update March 5, 2017:
Robert Thompson suggested that the area on Esplanade next to the Rent-a-Center on Broad would be a viable alternative to placing a bicycle vending machine in a park
Click on the photo for a closer look:

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade

The placement of bike sharing machines will be discussed at the neighborhood association meeting this Tuesday, March 7th.

The meeting will be held in the Black Gold room at the Fair Grounds at 6:30 pm
The Fair Ground is located at 1751 Gentilly Blvd in New Orleans.
The Black Gold room is at the rear of the facility.


The City of New Orleans, in conjunction with Social Bicycles Inc. (SoBi), announced it will extend the preview of the City’s bike share program through March 31. 
During the extended preview, residents and visitors can sign-up and use one of the 35 bicycles to ride between seven temporary stations setup in Iberville, Downtown and Central City. Two additional bicycle racks will be available to end a ride or find a bike. 
“Bike share is the City’s newest and most convenient form of public transportation,” said Councilmember Jared C. Brossett, City Council Transportation and Airport Committee Chairperson. “It’s a network of bicycles and automated kiosks that allows users to arrange public transportation on their schedule. I am pleased that the City is extending the bike share preview to allow more users the opportunity to experience and embrace this service.”
During the extended preview period, riders can pay $15 to enjoy a 60 minute trip every day through March 31. The hourly rate is $8 per hour, pro-rated by the minute. Sign up using either the website or by downloading the Social Bicycles app for iPhones and Android phones. There will also be greeters at various stations to help people signup and get started biking.
To allow more residents to participate in the preview, two bike stations will be relocated on March 1. Find a bike at anyone of the listed preview stations:
  • Basin Street & Bienville Street (near Magnolia Yoga Studio)
  • 501 Loyola Ave. (Near Hyatt)
  • Lafayette Square at Magazine Street
  • Decatur Street & Bienville Street (Through Feb. 28)
  • Baronne Street & Common Street (Near the Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel)
  • Decatur Street & Barracks Street (near U.S. Mint through Feb. 28)
  • Magazine Street & Erato Street (Beginning March 1)
  • Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard & Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (Beginning March 1)
  • 1000 Tchoupitoulas St. (near Cochon Restaurant)
  • 219 Loyola Ave. (Library Main Branch – existing bike racks)
  • Polymnia Street & St. Charles Avenue (near Avenue Pub – existing bike racks)
The full program, launching this fall, will consist of 70 stations with 700 bicycles and a guaranteed minimum future expansion of 90 stations with 900 bicycles. 100 percent of the bike share program will be privately financed through sponsorships, advertisements, and rental fees.
The fees for bike rental are:
  • Monthly Pass: $15 for unlimited trips up to 1 hour of riding a day (hourly rate thereafter).You can take as many trips as desired that all together add up to 60 minutes. For example, a 15-minute ride to work in the morning, a 5-minute ride for lunch; a 30 minute ride home with a quick stop to pick up some food totals 50 minutes for the day
  • Low-Income Pass: $1.67 per month ($20 per year) for unlimited trips up to 1 hour of riding a day (hourly rate thereafter)
  • Pay-as-you-go: $8 per hour of riding (pro-rated)
New Orleans has been growing rapidly as a bicycling city. The city was recognized as a bicycle friendly community in the Fall of 2014 by the League of American Bicyclists.
Last month, New Orleans was selected by People for Bikes as one of ten cities to participate in their Big Jump Project to reimage bicycle infrastructure.
For more information, please visit
For additional information on the preview and the full program, please visit

March 7, 2017 statement from Dwight Norton:

In advance of tonight’s neighborhood association meeting, I wanted to provide a written response to some of the information/inquiries that have been raised thus far by those included here and I hope you will share with all other neighbors as well. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss further and address any and all concerns. I have also attached the status update presentation I gave to the City Council transportation committee for reference and will add this and additional materials to the website:

First of all as an introduction, I am the City’s point person and project manager for bike share implementation as one of my jobs in improving transportation more holistically and efficiently for a more resilient and equitable city. Through a very open and public selection process last summer (link), the City awarded a 5-year exclusive use agreement to the best proposal, led by Social Bicycles, Inc. (SoBi) for 700 bicycles and 70 stations in phase 1.

1. Station selection process has only just begun and will be a public process. Many concerns have been voiced about the determination of the station locations. This process has always and continues to be an open one, designed for public participation. The oft referenced feasibility study was conducted in 2014 and merely serves as a reference point for our current efforts. It in no way is deterministic on station locations and furthermore was never intended as such. The maps are labelled as “conceptual” and do in fact have an unfortunately obscure disclaimer “Note: Station locations are roughly assigned to illustrate optimal station spacing…” The process for station location identification, which will be further discussed tonight, is as follows:
· January – April: introductions at neighborhood association meetings (I have completed 14 to date)
· March: potential candidate sites being developed by SoBi/City based on best practices and stated City goals (see #4)
· March 27 – April 11: Public workshops with maps for station siting recommendations/feedback
o Bayou St John/Mid City workshop is tentatively scheduled for April 3 at 630p
· April/May: online voting for station locations
· June: draft map of 70 stations incorporating public input
· August: final map
· October: launch

2. No paving any public parks, particularly small neighborhood ones. There is no budget or intent to pave over any green space for bike share stations. Despite the suggestion, the only possible exception would be in the case where there is a significant destination, connection transit or other protected bike infrastructure, technical problems with on-street alternatives, and strong community support. As an example, the very large neutral ground of Jeff Davis and Canal has a separated bike path, streetcar, active commercial and street flooding at the curb. Parks that will be considered would require other sounding destinations and excess paved area. An example is the large paved area off to the side of the entrance of Armstrong Park, set well back from the sidewalk, and across the street from a streetcar stop. Mr. London’s article recommending paved space adjacent to commercial nodes along Esplanade is exactly in line with best practices and our placement thinking: connect to local destinations: where would you as residents want a station to make it useful. This will be validated/refined at our aforementioned workshops.

3. Station size will be right-sized to meet demand and are more efficient use of public space. While stations have been referenced as “vending machines”, transit stations is a more appropriate analogy – they take up some public space and are gateways for accessing the system, including transaction. Most stations will not have a dedicated kiosk – our agreement with SoBi only includes 10 which will be strategically placed in areas with lots of pedestrian activity. There will be either a small or large panel based on residential or commercial nature of the area with wayfinding information and, in the case of large panels only, limited advertising – analogous to a bus station. Regarding the number of racks at a station, again the 2014 Feasibility Study is a reference and in our opinion inappropriate for recommendations on Esplanade. As noted by Mr. London, stations in neighborhoods are typically much smaller than in downtown core and busier commercial areas. The goal will be to anticipate demand and provide sufficient racks so bikes do not end up parked on poles. This may need to be adjust over time as the neighborhood finds the service increasingly desirable. Nearly all sites will be existing paved surface on street or sidewalks where space allows. Private space may be used only where the location is highly desirable and the land is publically available 24/7 (e.g. plaza outside a downtown high rise).

4. Station convenience is essential to a successful, equitable bike share program. The convenience of bike share, and thus is usefulness, is based directly on stations being evenly distributed. You should not have to walk more than 3 or so blocks to get to station. If so, it become far less convenient and people will not use it. When these basics are respected, not only does it prevent limited usage and thus financial insolvency (e.g. Seattle), it also has demonstrated people start driving less. In fact 25-52% less (study link; also click here and here for more information on best practices). Here again we deviate sharply from the 2014 Feasibility Study. Being a few blocks from a station means the stations will 4 to 7 blocks apart. Also remember it is a stated goal that we use bike share as a means to provide convenient, more reliable and cheaper alternatives to access jobs and other opportunities for improving lives. Cutting down on people’s transportation costs and travel time is shown consistently to be one of the biggest enablers of upward mobility (more time to raise kids, go back to school etc.). This clear evidence is what drives our equity goals as applied to transportation. We want to ensure access to bike share service extends as far as possible without compromising usability/sustainability.

5. Designing the system for residents knowing tourists will use it. In major tourist cities the world over, bike share does not compromise benefits to residents. Like any good transit system, if it is designed for residents, tourists will use as well. If it is design for tourists only they will use it. The City will ensure the system is designed for residents through two means: 1) station location process and 2) the pricing plans. For station locations, the previous section discusses how residents will inform that process. On the later, a higher cost $8 per hour plan subsidizes the significantly lower cost $15 per month plan (3 months equals one parking ticket!). There is also a $1.67 per month (or $20 per year) low income plan. In addition, the low income program will allow any residents to participate with or without credit card so that we can ensure the 12.5% unbanked (and 25.5% underbanked) members of our community have every opportunity to participate. And from a purely economic perspective, at $8 per hour, longer bike trips for touring or recreation will still make more sense on a rented or personal bike. In addition, the monthly passes are limited to 60 minutes of pedal time, which is a lot if you just think about it as transportation, but not very much if you plan on sightseeing. Bike share a one-way transportation system meant to get you from station A to station B and the pricing reflects that.

6. For-profit vendor model has historic precedent and is a win-win for residents. There have been several references and concerns that the model the City has chosen represents a commercialization of the city. First and foremost bike share is a transit system. Yes, it will be provided by a private entity, but it’s important to remember the service is still public and works very differently than rental. It is also worth remembering our beloved streetcars were all originally built and operated by private companies and only municipalized once labor costs and automobile adoption made service unable to break even. By using a 100% privately financed model, the vendor assumes financial risk for its performance – this is a great thing. This means all of the incentive for great customer service, excellent maintenance and marketing to attract users all falls on the vendor. Given the city’s limited resources for a major capital investment and ongoing costs, this structure is a great example of true public-private partnership for public benefit.

Thank you and look forward to discussing tonight and beyond,

Dwight Norton
Urban Mobility Coordinator
City of New Orleans | Office of Resilience & Sustainability
1300 Perdido Street | New Orleans, LA 701116
Office: 504.658.7677


Bike Share Update – Transportation Committee 2.22.17


Faubourg St. John Neighbor Making a Difference


Congratulations to Faubourg St. John neighbor Oliver Wise for working every day to make city government more efficient for the residents of New Orleans

• Innovation: Launched the City of New Orleans’ first performance management and data analytics office with the mission to use data to set goals, track performance, and drive results across City government

• Analytics: Launched NOLAlytics, an initiative to leverage data science and behavioral economics to improve results to New Orleans residents
• Strategy: Spearheaded development of a City-wide strategic framework articulating organizational goals, objectives, and strategies
• Performance management: Built an enterprise-wide performance management system to track achievement of goals outlined in City’s strategic framework

City of New Orleans Earns Highest Honor in Performance Management for Third Time
The City of New Orleans announced that it has received a Certificate of Excellence for superior performance management efforts from the International City/County Management Association’s (ICMA) Center for Performance Analytics™. The certificate program assesses a local government’s performance management program and encourages analysis of results by comparing to peers and gauging performance over time.

Of the 52 jurisdictions honored overall, New Orleans is among the 34 receiving the Certificate of Excellence – the highest level award. Certificates are awarded at the levels of Achievement, Distinction and Excellence. The City received a Certificate of Distinction from ICMA’s Center for Performance Analytics™ for its work in performance management in 2013, and a Certificate of Excellence from ICMA’s Center for Performance Analytics™ for superior performance management efforts in 2014 and 2015.

“Upon taking office in 2010, we made a commitment to dramatically improve the accountability, transparency and performance of city government by setting goals and tracking our progress so that our residents could hold us accountable like never before,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “I want to thank the International City/County Management Association for this honor and for recognizing the City of New Orleans as a leader in performance management.”

In January 2011, Mayor Landrieu created the Office of Performance and Accountability (OPA) to implement a performance management system for the City, where the analysis of data is used to promote better results and to demonstrate the public’s return on investment for their tax dollars. OPA coordinates the development of the City’s strategic framework, uses performance measures to track progress towards the goals in the strategic framework, reports the results in ResultsNOLA reports and STAT meetings, and reviews results to understand what’s working, what’s not, and to identify solutions for improvement.

“Our goal is to promote better City services through data-driven management decision-making and accountability to deliver results for our residents,” said Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin. “Once again, our aggressive work is being recognized on a national stage.”

“It is an honor to receive the International City/County Management Association’s Certificate of Excellence as validation of our hard work,” said Oliver Wise, Director of OPA. “We are working every day to make city government more efficient for the residents of New Orleans.”

Performance management aids in cost reduction, program prioritization, and quality improvement. It also encourages accountability and transparency.

“The certificate program recognizes communities that have demonstrated leadership in continuous improvement and community engagement using performance analysis,” said ICMA Executive Director Robert J. O’Neill, Jr. “Performance analysis is an integral component of professional local government management, and jurisdictions meeting the certificate qualifications serve as examples for other governments to follow.”

Criteria for the Certificate of Excellence include:

  • Reporting of performance data to the public through budgets, newsletters, and/or information provided to elected officials
  • Data verification efforts to ensure data reliability
  • Staff training
  • Use of performance data in strategic planning and operational decision-making
  • Sharing of performance measurement knowledge with other local governments through presentations, site visits, and other networking
  • Commitment to tracking and reporting to the public key outcomes
  • Surveying of the both residents and local government employees
  • Effective and timely reporting.

About ICMA

ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, advances professional local government worldwide. The organization’s mission is to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional management to build better communities.  ICMA identifies leading practices to address the needs of local governments and professionals serving communities globally – providing services, research, publications, data and information, peer and results-oriented assistance, and training and professional development to thousands of city, town, and county leaders and other individuals and organizations throughout the world. The management decisions made by ICMA’s members affect millions of people living in thousands of communities, ranging in size from small towns to large metropolitan areas.

About the Center for Performance Analytics

ICMA’s Center for Performance Analytics is dedicated to helping local governments use performance information to better the lives of the people they serve.  The Center encourages the use and public reporting of comparative performance data in a positive, continuous-learning environment in order to foster organizational cultures that deliver results that matter.  For more information on the center, please visit external link.



You’re invited to Coffee With Cops this Saturday

The NOPD and McDonald’s restaurant owners from the Greater New Orleans region are teaming up to bring together police officers and the community they serve. Come out to participating locations on Saturday, June 4, 2016 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Meet the officers who serve in your neighborhood and enjoy a free cup of coffee.

Participating McDonald’s locations:
1918 North Broad Street
•3443 South Carrollton Avenue
•3250 General DeGaulle Drive
•10001 Interstate 10 Service Road


Until the late 1700s, New Orleans was ruled by militaries. When crime reached high levels in the 1790s, Spanish Colonial Governor Baron de Carondelet called for the creation of a police force. Throughout the years it changed hands, structures and names. There was the Guard Deville (City Watch), various militia groups, and by 1817, more than four dozen officers patrolled four separate police districts. By 1852, it had grown to include a police chief, a group of 12 commanding officers and more than 300 policemen. The Civil War caused disruptions in the department, and it was reorganized and purged numerous times through the rest of the decade.

The early 1900s brought in mechanization and a motor patrol wagon, motorcycles, and seven horse-drawn patrol wagons. In 1915 the department had 520 policemen and by the late-20s, was battling bombings, fights, shootings and assaults. In 1922, it was recognized as the only police department in the nation equipped for first aid in all of its bureaus. Modernization continued as the city fought an increase in crime while battling gambling and the mob.

Controlling crowds of more than a half million people during Mardi Gras, the N.O.P.D. is noted as having some of the best crowd control skills of any police department in the world. For more information, visit the NOPD’s web site at


Persistence Pays at Local Bus Stop

Robert Thompson writes:
It took over a year and a half, but a problem existing for more than a decade is no longer. Thanks to Cheryn Robles, Community Outreach Manager, Department of Public Works, a sidewalk hazard and eyesore at the Esplanade and Crete bus stop has been repaired. It may be a small step, but eliminating the chance an elderly transit rider would trip and fall is a worthwhile project. Here are the before and after pictures:


Many thanks to Robert Thompson for continuing to follow up on this safety issue!

article below by Charlie London

Some folks lament about how they’ve called and called some nameless person about an issue they are having with the City. Don’t be that guy.

Call 311 but don’t expect the City to drop everything because you have a pothole or other City service issue. There is a serious backlog. So, call 311 or report the issue online at the link below:

Mark the issue on your calendar two months later then call 311 and follow up. Yes, I said YOU need to follow up. After all, aren’t YOU the one who wants the issue taken care of?

NOLA-311-smallNew Orleans and City services are getting better. I’ve had excellent response from the City on a number of issues. However, there is not a pot of gold for the City to keep dipping from and there are plenty of issues that need attention all over New Orleans.

While there are always those who will gripe, moan and complain that they didn’t get what they wanted when they wanted it, there is no quick-fix solution. You have to call 311 about problems you notice and you have to follow up on the issue. There is no City employee running around in a pickup truck looking for streetlights that are out, potholes that need filling or storm drains that need to be pumped out. The City needs you to work WITH them and call 311 whenever you see something that needs to be taken care of… and follow up.

Call 311 and wait patiently. You can do this.



photos by Charlie London

Sarah Bertrand from the LSU Ag Center was one of many Leader Against Litter taking part in the "Green-Up" on the Lafitte Greenway.
Sarah Bertrand from the LSU Ag Center was one of many Leaders Against Litter taking part in the “Green-Up” on the Lafitte Greenway.

Keep New Orleans Beautiful along with City and community leaders took a pledge against litter today on the Lafitte Greenway. Volunteers did a “Green-Up” by picking up trash along the Lafitte Greenway in preparation for the Cleanest City Challenge (Judging is on March 23rd!).

Leaders Against Litter invite you to take part in the Cleanest City Challenge!
Leaders Against Litter invite you to take part in the Cleanest City Challenge!

Leaders Against Litter is an annual statewide Keep Louisiana Beautiful event that invites community leaders and elected officials to “lead the way” against litter. This initiative unites leaders throughout the state to raise awareness and to make a litter-free Louisiana a priority together to take pride in and cleanup their communities, and to inspire others to volunteer.

Keep New Orleans Beautiful along with City and community leaders took a pledge against litter today on the Lafitte Greenway.
Keep New Orleans Beautiful along with City and community leaders took a pledge against litter today on the Lafitte Greenway.


City Takes Quick Action

treedown2015dec18The tree in front of 3309 Grand Route Saint John has been dying for quite some time. Recently, small parts of the tree have been falling on cars parked under or near the tree. This morning, a large branch ended up in the street.

I called 311 and within 30 minutes, Chief Urban Forester Bob Richards with the City of New Orleansbobrichards-bw-2015dec18 drove up in a white City pickup truck. He hopped out, grabbed the chain saw he brought with him and within just a few minutes had the pieces of the large branch loaded up in the truck.

Bob said he’ll be sending in a work order for the rest of the tree since it is clearly dead and poses a hazard to citizens. Many thanks to 311 and Bob Richards for their quick action on this hazardous situation.

This situation drives home the importance of planting the correct tree between the sidewalk and the street.

Please consider the trees in the list below when considering a tree to plant between the sidewalk and the street:


The most important consideration in planting trees and shrubs is the planting depth. Don’t plant too deep! Plant all trees and shrubs about one inch above the surface of the existing soil. No dirt should be placed on top of the existing roots and nursery soil so as to not smother the root system. Mulch well, leaving a two inch gap around the caliper(s) of the plant.For the most efficient use of water, construct an earthen berm two to three inches high around the drip zone area of the plant after planting. Water in well after planting!


Want more information on what to plant between the sidewalk and the street?
Contact Parkway Partners at:
Phone: (504) 620-2224
Fax: (504) 620-2225

The Department of Parks and Parkways maintains all City trees. These include trees on public property such as neutral grounds and in parks, and trees between the sidewalk and street.

Employees at the Department of Parks and Parkways perform an enormous number of tasks to maintain and upgrade public green spaces, and to re-green and beautify New Orleans. These include:

Tree Trimming, Planting & Removal
Permitting Work on Public Trees
Mowing, Edging, Weeding, Trimming and Planting on Neutral Grounds
Maintaining equipment and facilities in Parkways parks
Annual Tree Sale
Work closely with neighborhood groups and volunteer groups both local and from out of town

The Parkways team consists of licensed arborists, licensed horticulturalists, golf course professionals, licensed landscape architects, grounds keeping specialists and the hard-working arboreal and grounds maintenance teams.


I am extremely grateful to the representative at 311 and to Bob Richards at Parks and Parkways for their quick action on the dead tree at 3309 Grand Route Saint John that was clearly posing a hazard to citizens.

Charlie London
Content Strategist for… |

City Sweeps Clean

photos and text by Charlie London

City Sweeps Clean April 21, 2015
City Sweeps Clean
April 21, 2015
I recently requested a street sweeper to be dispatched via 311 on Moss Street which runs on both sides of Bayou St. John. A few days later while heading to work early in the morning, I spotted a City of New Orleans street sweeper cleaning the area by the U.S. Post Office.

Many thanks to 311 and the Department of Sanitation for their combined efforts and the great job that resulted.

City Sweeps Clean on the Bayou April 21, 2015
City Sweeps Clean by the Bayou
April 21, 2015
Many thanks to the City of New Orleans for cleaning up Moss Street.
Many thanks to the City of New Orleans for cleaning up Moss Street.
311 does work. Many thanks to the City of New Orleans for cleaning up Moss Street.
311 does work.
Many thanks to the City of New Orleans for cleaning up Moss Street.