Transportation for Livable Communities releases 2014 Voters Guide for the New Orleans City Council and Mayoral Elections

For Immediate Release, 1/15/14

Media Contact: Rachel Heiligman, 504-345-8360, rachel@rideneworleans.org

NEW ORLEANS – Transportation for Livable Communities, a coalition of New Orleans transportation, public health, environmental and community-based organizations, today announced the release of its 2014 Voters Guide for City Council and Mayoral candidates in the February 1st election.

The document provides voters with candidate positions on several issues related to sustainable, safe, affordable and healthy transportation. Questionnaire topics include:

  • public transit and the RTA’s financial outlook
  • infrastructure and programs for pedestrian and bicycle safety
  • neighborhood parks and green spaces
  • implementing the city’s Complete Streets ordinance
  • transportation needs for all New Orleans residents, especially seniors, people with disabilities and low-income families

The guide is also an outlet for candidates to give voters their opinions about specific transportation equity issues, which are often under-represented in elections and political debates.

In New Orleans, 19 percent of households don’t have access to a vehicle, and transportation is the second highest expenditure for families – so for many New Orleans residents having sustainable, safe, affordable and healthy transportation is vital in order to access jobs and critical services.

More information about the Transportation for Livable Communities Voters Guide is available online at www.transportationforlivablecommunities.org. Click here for a copy of the Transportation for Livable Communities Voter’s Guide.

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About the Transportation for Livable Communities Questionnaire & Voter’s Guide:

The candidate questionnaire and voter’s guide was drafted by a diverse coalition of organizations advocating for equitable access to sustainable, safe, affordable, and healthy transportation choices in all New Orleans neighborhoods. Member organizations include: Bike Easy, Friends of the Lafitte Corridor, KidsWalk Coalition at Tulane University, Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, Merritt C. Becker Jr. Transportation Institute at the University of New Orleans, Stay Local/Urban Conservancy, Ride New Orleans, Sierra Club, and the Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association.

Breakfast roundtable draws dozens to advocate for a healthy zoning ordinance

Creating safe pedestrian routes, reaching out to non-English speaking communities and limiting fast-food restaurants around schools and day cares were among other suggestions discussed at the KidsWalk Coalition’s Breakfast Roundtable with the New Orleans City Planning Commission Thursday, Sept. 8, held at Mike’s on the Avenue in downtown New Orleans.
The presentation and question-and-answer event informed roughly 40 local public health professionals, planners and community advocates of how to give input on the city’s new Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance draft. Currently, the city is updating the four-decades old law, which regulates land uses and forms throughout the city.


“Feedback is necessary to give the city direction on what the community wants,” said Kate Parker-Karst, director of the KidsWalk Coalition.

“None of this is going to get any traction without more community input,” said Parker-Karst.
Groups and individuals have the chance to submit feedback to the City Planning Commission up to October 31. The first draft of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance is available for review with two more drafts expected before going to the New Orleans City Council for final adoption in late 2012, said Paul Cramer, city planning administrator.
“We want your input,” Cramer said.
Cramer said planners are focusing on encouraging sustainable communities and rebuilding and preserving neighborhoods. The law would foster walking by allowing mixed-use districts where retail shops are convenient for residents. Bicycling would be promoted by requiring developments to provide public bike racks and requiring new and renovated hospitals, universities, government offices and other facilities to offer showers for cyclists. Community gardens and urban agricultural ventures, including those that sell their produce, would also be defined and permitted under the draft ordinance.

Public comments may be emailed to the CPC office at cpcinfo@nola.gov. Please type “CZO Draft” into the subject line.

RSVP for Breakfast Roundtable with the City Planning Commission

Can good zoning make us healthier? It may not be the first policy we think of when we talk about creating healthy environments, but zoning can regulate neighborhood walkability, the distance between schools and fast food restaurants and liquor stores, bicycle parking and locations of parks, farmers markets and community gardens. This year, the City Planning Commission is rewriting the City’s zoning code for the first time in 40 years, and we have a chance to make sure it encourages healthy eating and active living.

To learn more, please join us Thursday September 8 at Mike’s on the Avenue for the next KidsWalk Coalition Breakfast Roundtable, featuring Paul Cramer and Christopher Mills of the New Orleans City Planning Commission. Paul and Chris will offer a look at regulations in the draft Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance and take your questions.

What: KidsWalk Coalition Breakfast Roundtable featuring the New Orleans City Planning Commission
Where: Mike’s on the Avenue, 628 St. Charles Ave
When: Thursday, September 8, 8am-9:30am

This event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited, so please RSVP to kidswalk@tulane.edu.

Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) is now available for review online

On July 28th, Mayor Landrieu announced that a draft of the first Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) for the city of New Orleans, since 1970, is now available for public review and comment online. The much anticipated zoning ordinance is a key tool in shaping our built environment and implementing land use policies in the City’s adopted Master Plan, as it will establish standards for buildings, site design, parking, and landscape, as well as where new developments like homes and businesses can be located.

This new policy can have a significant impact on public health and obesity prevention in New Orleans. The CZO can regulate neighborhood walkability, permitted distances of fast food restaurants from our schools, bicycle parking and locations for groceries, farmers markets and urban gardens.

View the draft ordinance at www.nolamasterplan.org

Warning: The draft CZO, like many zoning documents, is a long and dry read! That’s why the KidsWalk Coalition will conduct a thorough analysis of the CZO’s regulations impacting public health and active transportation, offer a summary to New Orleans community members, and make recommendations for improvements to the City Planning Commission. Stay tuned for updates.

In the meantime, you can learn more about the impact of zoning policies at Healthy planning, Health Communities.

Stepping to School presented to City Council

The word is getting out! On  May 24th representatives of the KidsWalk Coalition presented the report Stepping to School to the New Orleans City Council Transportation Committee. Coalition Director Kathryn Parker-Karst and Sara Massey, Executive Director of Communities in Schools shared the study’s findings and recommendations with Committee Chair Kristin Gisleson Palmer.

Recommendations include prioritizing sidewalk and crosswalk maintenance at the most at risk school neighborhoods in New Orleans; creating a sidewalk maintenance program in collaboration with neighborhood associations; making the new Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) walk- and bike-friendly; inspecting sidewalks through Code enforcement; and adopting and funding a city-wide “Complete Streets” policy.

Check out the presentation online and see Councilmember Palmer’s feedback for helping make New Orleans streets safer for pedestrians.