New Orleans’ 2 Mile Pop-Up Bikeway

At last year’s conference one of our marquee sessions was “Cycling Cowboys” which told the story of Calgary’s near-instant and impressive downtown cycletrack network. When we heard that Bike Easy and the City of New Orleans were thinking about their own pop-up bikeway we knew just who to connect them with
Doing the thing all cyclists all dream of: making our own bike lane. Photo by Bike Easy
With some timely advice from the City of Calgary and Street Plans — and a lot of volunteer help — the 2-mile long St. Bernard Avenue project got underway. The can-do attitude of our 2018 host city has us impressed and leaves us wondering whether — hint hint — our next New Orleans pop-up story will be about a cycletrack network.
The Lafitte Greenway in New Orleans. Photo by the Friends of Lafitte Greenway
Is New Orleans bicycling’s next boomtown? PeopleForBikes thinks so and we think these facts add up to that conclusion: among major cities it has the 6th highest bike-to-work percentage; more than 100 miles of bike facilities have been added since 2005; this fall, a new bike share system will open in this city where people go for exotic and decadent experiences; the City’s climate action plan calls for a 50 percent increase in active transportation trips by 2030; and biking projects are increasingly being designed for multiple bottom lines (transportation, sustainability, and economic development).
Perhaps the city’s best example of a project with multiple bottom lines is the Lafitte Greenway. The 2.6 mile linear park features a high quality trail and it also incorporates green stormwater management, urban agriculture, art installations and places where people from diverse neighborhoods can encounter each other. This connector of people has proven to be both a popular destination and a vector for investment: in 2016 it had 250k visitors and it has leveraged more than $100M in private sector investment for the adjacent neighborhoods. Come to Walk/Bike/Places 2018 and experience for yourself what Dan Favre, Executive Director of Bike Easy and Local Host Committee Chair, calls the city’s biking ‘crown jewel.’