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.

###

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.

Traffic safety campaign features KidsWalk Coalition

American Traffic Solutions have teamed up with partners in New Orleans to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding and red-light running. The campaign not only explains the dangers to vulnerable populations (bicyclists, walkers and children), but also how the camera systems work to reduce injuries and fatalities.

Featured in the video is Dr. Kathryn Parker, director of KidsWalk Coalition and assistant director of The Prevention Research Center at Tulane University, who states, “Traffic cameras really do reduce speeding and collisions in schools zones and thereby improve safety for children and families walking in school zones.” Also featured in the video is partner Jamie Wine, executive Director of Bike Easy, Lt. Anthony Micheu, New Orleans Policy Department, and Deputy Chief Ken Bouvier, New Orleans EMS.

New bike lanes open in New Orleans

More bike lanes have been added to New Orleans’ growing network, and the latest addition was officially opened on June 24 at a ribbon-cutting ceremony complete with media outlets, bike advocates and local politicians, such as New Orleans Cityphoto 2 photo 3 photo 4 Councilwoman Susan Guidry and New Orleans Deputy Mayor Cedric Grant.

The $5 million project included installing bike lanes on Esplanade Avenue from Moss Street to North Claiborne Avenue and on City Park Avenue from Canal Boulevard to Orleans Avenue. The project also included handicap ramps, repaving, curb repairs and other work.

Staff from the KidsWalk Coalition, and the coalition members, worked with government officials to research various options of upgrades for this project.

The road work is part of Paths to Progress, a $90 million government program for road work in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. Paths to Progress is a collaborative effort between the Federal Highway Administration, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, New Orleans Regional Planning Commission, City of New Orleans, Jefferson Parish and the City of Kenner.

For more information about Paths to Progress, visit www.pavinglaroads.com.

Pedestrian-friendly cities tend to be less obese

The June issue of Governing magazine reinforces what KidsWalk has always argued: bike lanes and sidewalks are related to lower obesity rates in cities. The article explains that commuters are more likely to walk or bike where safe spaces for pedestrians are available.  Additionally, areas where pedestrian commuting is common tend to have lower obesity rates than other areas.

For the purpose of this article, census information and data from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study were analyzed to see if there is a relationship between pedestrian activity and obesity rates in cities. Governing found a strong correlation between the percentage of regular walkers and bikers and the percentage of people who are neither obese nor overweight in the 126 cities analyzed.

As obesity becomes an increasingly important issue for health officials and policymakers, Governing recommends promoting open space infrastructure in urban environments as an effective prevention method. The article also suggests that healthcare savings can balance costs associated with supporting such infrastructure.

Governing advises educating and encouraging young people to safely walk and bike to promote health from an early age.  Initiatives such as those supported by the KidsWalk Coalition, that target childhood obesity reduction through active living, are critical to the health of today’s youth and tomorrow’s adults.

For the full article, please visit: Governing Magazine

 Interested in commuting and health research? You might also like: Healthy Commuting Habits 

Sunday Times-Picayune features review of bicycling progress in New Orleans

Current status of New Orleans bikeways

Did you see this weekend’s coverage in the Time-Picayune of all the great things going on in New Orleans for bicyclists?  Check it out to learn what local organizations have been up to, including the Tulane Prevention Research Center, Bike Easy, Where Ya’ Rack?, Plan B and NolaCycle.