FLASH CLEAN – City Beautifiers strike neighborhood eyesore
Esplanade public right of way returns to “civilized” levels. Fire hydrant discovered! Planted shrubs uncovered! Trash removed, all thanks to volunteer efforts.
At 10 a.m., on Saturday, October 28, 2017, Robert Thompson led the charge for a FLASH-CLEAN! Neighbors met in front of the old Circle K-Half Shell (3101 Esplanade) and mowed, trimmed and cleaned the right-of-way on Esplanade. Robert said he was tired of visitors seeing this mess. Many hands made quick work. Robert brought supplies and tools as did the neighbors who participated. The City Beautiful Committee struck and the area is much nicer now.
Three major exceptions are City Park , which is regulated by a unique state agency of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism operated by the non-profit City Park Improvement Association (CPIA), and Audubon Park and Woldenberg Park along the downtown riverfront, regulated by The Audubon Commission, which was established by State Act in 1914 to maintain and develop Audubon Park.
Click here to download a PDF of the Parks and Greenspaces by Jurisdiction Map.
Let me preface this post by saying this is NOT an April Fool’s joke.
The yellow Americans with Disabilities Act mat on the corner of Esplanade and Mystery is causing injuries.
One man tripped over the mat sticking up at Esplanade and Mystery and literally fell flat on his face which bloodied his nose and caused him to lose his glasses. Karen at Terranova’s said an ambulance was called.
A woman wearing sandals caught her toe in the protruding mat and she bled profusely leaving blood on the corner.
Trucks delivering to Canseco’s warehouse door on Mystery Street appear to be sitting on and rolling over the ADA mat on the corner of Esplanade at Mystery Street.
Click on the photo above to get a better view of the large crack above the Americans with Disabilities Act mat at the corner of Esplanade and Mystery Streets. The crack does not appear to be one caused by settling but by a large amount of weight pressing on the area.
Large bollards on either side of the mat could alleviate the problem of trucks rolling over and sitting on the ADA mat on the corner of Esplanade and Mystery Streets.
Please call 311 if you believe that this is a situation that should be immediately repaired. I have called but, there is strength in numbers. This really should be repaired right away.
Much of the threat to pedestrians comes from speeding cars. Fortunately, you’ve got plenty of ways to encourage drivers to slow down. Take action!
Spread the word. Neighborhood websites, e-newsletters, Facebook Pages and twitter are all great ways to reach out.
Use yard signs to remind drivers to slow down. Pick up signs at DRIVE LIKE YOUR KIDS LIVE HERE — or use plywood or laminated poster-board to create your own. Keep it simple. Short messages and big letters work best.
Set the pace. Driving at or below the speed limit forces others to do the same.
Park your car in the street, and ask your neighbors to do the same. Narrow travel lanes prompt drivers to slow down.
Install radar signs that show drivers how fast they’re going.
Reduce speed limits. If the speed limit where you live is over 30 mph, ask transportation agencies to change it.
Take back your street. Walk, ride a bicycle, sit on the front porch — and put some toys in your front yard. Reminding motorists that streets are for people encourages them to slow down.
How a Dutch neighborhood pioneered an innovation now sweeping the globe
TRAFFIC CALMING HAS SWEPT THE WORLD over the past 20 years. It’s based on the rather simple idea that cars and trucks don’t have exclusive ownership of our streets. Streets are shared public space also belonging to people on foot and bicycles, in baby strollers and wheelchairs. Reminding motorists of this fact, traffic calming uses design features such as narrowing roads or elevating crosswalks to slow traffic and assert pedestrian’s right to cross the street.
This idea has altered the literal landscape of urban life in the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Germany and Australia as people move about their cities with more ease and pleasure—and it’s now taking off in other parts of the world.
THE ORIGINS OF THIS INGENIOUS IDEA CAN BE TRACED TO DELFT, NETHERLANDS, where residents of one neighborhood were fed up with cars racing along their streets, endangering children, pets and peace of mind. One evening they decided to do something about it by dragging old couches, planters and other objects out into the roadway and positioning them in such a way that cars could pass but would have to slow down. Police soon arrived on the scene and had to admit that this project, although clearly illegal, was a really good idea. Soon, the city itself was installing similar measures called woonerfs (Dutch for “living yards”) on streets plagued by unruly motorists.
One can only imagine the response of city officials if these neighbors had meekly come to city hall to propose the idea of partially blocking the streets; they would have been hooted right out of the building. But by taking direct action, they saved their neighborhood and changed the face of cities around the world.
Robert Thompson has been on a mission. The once neglected Capdevielle Place has received much love and attention from neighbors rallied by Robert.
Today, roses and palms became the stars of Capdevielle Place in the round centerpiece of the pocket park. Check out the photos and a statement from Robert Thompson below:
“Things are coming together at Capdevielle Place. A vision from the get-go, rehabbing of the bed in Capdevielle Park, seemed like an impossible dream. After many ideas, much sweat equity, cooperation from a committed Parkways staff, a generous gift (more later on that), and some professional help, a major improvement was born. Not everything we had wished for may have happened yet, but the best decisions from the plants people in charge developed the current implementation with resources available. I hope everyone agrees this is a win!
Thanks are due so many and I intend to let all know who made this possible soon.
Their generosity and work made this happen, and now we City Beautifiers must keep up with watering and weeding this gift.”
Here are some photos:
Paul Capdevielle (1842-1922)
Paul Capdevielle, the forty-second Mayor was of French descent. He was born in New Orleans, January 15, 1842. His father, Augustin Capdevielle, was born in France, but settled in New Orleans in 1825, becoming a prominent merchant in the commission business and active in politics. It was from his father’s interest in politics that young Paul inherited his interest in governmental affairs. His mother, Virginia Bertrand, was born in New Orleans in 1816.
Paul Capdevielle was educated at the Jesuit’s College in New Orleans from which he was graduated in 1861. He served with credit in the War between the States, enlisting in the New Orleans Guard Regiment of Infantry, but in 1862 joined Boone’s Louisiana Artillery, and was wounded at Port Hudson.
After the close of the war he returned to civil life, taking up the first employment that offered itself, studied law in April 1868 was graduated from Louisiana State University. In 1892, he gave up law to accept the presidency of the Merchant’s Insurance Company. He served as its President for sixteen years, until it was liquidated and sold.
His political history began in 1877 when he was appointed to the School Board. Later he was a member of the Orleans Levee Board, a Commissioner of Prisons and Asylums and Chairman of the Finance Committee of the drainage commission. Mr. Capdevielle was an outstanding figure in Louisiana politics from the time of his election as Mayor of New Orleans in 1899. He was appointed auditor of Public Accounts in 1904, and re-elected three times, and held this office up to the time of his death. He survived the political storms attending the fall of the state administrations, the last in 1920, when Governor Parker was swept into office.
The Flower administration was a turning point in the history of New Orleans. It closed one epoch and opened another. With it began the period of commercial prosperity which extends into the present time.
Mayor Capdevielle’s administration was noted for two events, both inseparably connected with the beginning of New Orleans’ industrial development; the installation of the modern sewerage system and the organization of the Public Belt Railroad. The Board of Port Commissioners also began to function actively during this period.
City Park stands as a monument to his energy and civic spirit. The upbuilding of the park was his constant care, and he served continuously as President of the City Park Improvement Association for more than two decades, holding the office at the time of his death.
The new administration went into office May 9, 1900, at the beginning of the twentieth century when a wave of prosperity passed over the country and was felt in New Orleans. Mayor Capdevielle in his inaugural address spoke of the drainage system about to be constructed and stated if the city desired to have its own electric light plant it could do so without great additional cost by using the power house of the drainage system.
The contract to erect a modern jail, to be called the House of Detention, was awarded for $112,800 and the site of the old Marine Hospital, on Tulane Avenue and Broad Street, was selected.
The Clay statue, being in the way of safe operations of the street cars, was removed from Canal Street to the Lafayette Square on January 12, 1901. The consolidation of various street railways into one corporation under the name of the New Orleans Railways Company was an important factor of the years 1901-1902.
On May 1, 1901, New Orleans was honored by the visit of the President of the United States, William McKinley, accompanied by Mrs. McKinley and Secretaries John Hay, Charles Emory Smith, and E. A. Hitchcock. He was received in the Cabildo by the Governor of Louisiana, attended by his staff in full uniform. The bells of the Cathedral of St. Louis announced the arrival of the President and his cabinet, escorted by Mayor Paul Capdevielle, and a committee of distinguished citizens. As the cortege entered the Supreme Court Hall, Chairman Zacharie announced in a loud voice “The President,” and the assembly arose and remained standing while the Chief Justice conducted the President to a seat of honor at his right on the Supreme Court Bench. The Governor of Louisiana took a seat on the left of the Chief Justice, and the Mayor of New Orleans the one on the right of the President, the Justices occupying seats immediately in the rear of the bench. Chairman Zacharie then conducted the members of the cabinet and their wives to places on the left of the dais, where a seat, filled with roses, had been reserved for Mrs. William McKinley, who, at the last moment, was too ill to attend.
In 1873, Paul Capdevielle married in New Orleans, Miss Emma Larue, who died several years ago. Three sons and two daughters blessed this union; the sons are Christian, Auguste and Paul, Jr., and the daughters are the Misses Edith and Yvonne Capdevielle.
Paul Capdevielle was found dead at his home in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, August 13, 1922, following a long illness, at the age of eighty years and six months and is buried in St. Louis Cemetery No. 2. Besides his children, a sister, Mrs. Virginia Buddecke and five grandchildren also survived.
Pedal Power Advocate Raises Concerns about Commericial Bicycle Rentals by Parks
by Robert Thompson
Bicycles are great, we need to encourage their use and I applaud movement toward expanded use.
However, the Bike Share program may not be the on-target program best suited to do this. Social Bicycles INC is a business that will be placing 70 bicycle docking stations around New Orleans.
Tourists will go up Esplanade to our beautiful City Park. Bring them on, BUT, do not destroy our Esplanade ridge parks and residential quality in the process. Two large bike docking stations (29 docks) and three medium sized (19 docks) show on a map in the city’s study for our stretch of Esplanade alone.
Where can you put five 70 foot long structures?
Fortier Park? The small space at N Gayoso? DeSoto or Capdevielle Parks at Crete? And two more locations?
The study recommends at one point putting these on park lands. That would be our few precious “pocket parks” on Esplanade. I doubt they’d put them in front of a residence in the parking lane, but maybe.
I feel this requires us to be alerted to the development. There may be spaces that can be recommended where there is no loss of green space, fire department access, even parking. But, if experiences in NYC are repeated here, residents will have the option to react only after this company installs its stations.
Below is a depiction of a 25 dock facility which is doubled-up in order to reduce length. My guess is ours can’t be doubled due to the narrowness of the Esplanade corridor so, they could be as long as 70 feet.
My record of support for cycling includes supporting the bike lanes and creating one of the first “guerilla” bike racks introduced to this neighborhood despite well considered opposition from friends and neighbors. These bike rental stations are really not serving the general public. They are business ventures and are poor trade offs for the loss of green space if they appear in or around our parks.
This has been an opinion piece by Robert Thompson
Robert Thompson attended the Transportation Meeting at City Council on February 22, 2017 and was granted a one minute opportunity to express his concerns over placement of the bike sharing facilities. The gentleman from the City promoting bike sharing said there would be opportunities in the future for public input. Robert said, “Full implementation of 70 stations is slated for end of the year. The discussion about bike vending stations cutting into the established business of the 10 or 12 ventures currently renting bikes to tourists may be off base to our neighborhood concerns about placement, vandalism and graffiti.”
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 https://nola.socialbicycles.com/ 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.
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: http://www.nola.gov/bike-share/
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,
Urban Mobility Coordinator
City of New Orleans | Office of Resilience & Sustainability
1300 Perdido Street | New Orleans, LA 701116
We are having a special fundraiser to benefit Le Chien Chat rescue founded by our dear friend and
neighbor Keane Colomb this Wednesday, November 30th
The precious little lives saved, the constant love and care, including very costly medical care,
given by this rescue year after year is simply amazing
Please join us tomorrow by having lunch or dinner at Santa Fe and help us make a difference
We shall be donating 20% of our proceeds, as well as the proceeds of our raffle to Le Chien Chat
who need our support