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.

Streets will transform into playground at New Orleans’ Play Streets

Easy Streets picFor one day, a few New Orleans streets will come alive with people walking, cycling, dancing and playing games, all free of cars and exhaust. That’s the goal of Play Streets Ciclovia on Oct. 26.

Other Play Streets events have been held and are planned for parks and playgrounds. But this first-of-its-kind event on Oct. 26 will bring people together in the street from 9 a.m. to noon to walk and talk, get moving and feel good. Other cities across the world have created similar street-based events, also called Open Streets or Ciclovias. There’s no start or finish line, and it will be free to the public.

The plan is to close the lake-bound traffic lanes of Esplanade Avenue from N. Claiborne Avenue to Bayou Road, and Bayou Road from Esplanade Avenue to N. Broad Street. Then event partners will repurpose the street space for people to walk, ride, dance and play. The goal is to take this type of open streets event to different parts of the city in the future, so more neighborhoods can experience it.

“It is about rejuvenating New Orleans,” says Jamie Wine, executive director of Bike Easy, a local bike-advocacy group and lead coordinator of the event. “It’s about creating a city that people want to work and live in and be healthy.”

Potential activities include dance classes, sports games, Double Dutch, biking and walking groups, cooking demonstrations and fresh food.

“When we show that streets can serve more than just cars and trucks, we can reimagine streets as these great places for walking, biking and staying healthy,” says Naomi Doerner, program manager for the KidsWalk Coalition at the Tulane Prevention Research Center.

“And by creating safe spaces for physical activity, we are helping make the healthy choice the easy choice.”

Play Streets Ciclovia is looking for more program partners to lead, organize and create wellness activities, and also educate the participants of Play Streets. The goal is to have more than 50 program partners for the day of the event and help lead the way for subsequent future events across the city. Sponsors include American Traffic Solutions, Bike Easy, New Orleans Health Department, Louisiana Public Health Institute, Partnership for a Healthier America’s Play Streets program and the KidsWalk Coalition at the Tulane Prevention Research Center.

KidsWalk Breakfast Roundtable July 30

Active and Ready to Learn: Transportation’s Role in Creating Healthy and Academic Ready Students

Tulane University’s Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives and KidsWalk Coalition at the Tulane Prevention Research Center are proud to co-sponsor a free breakfast roundtable discussion about the role transportation plays in the health and academic readiness of New Orleans’ school-age children. Please join us for breakfast and to contribute to an important conversation about creating social change through transportation for better health and academic readiness outcomes for our city’s youth.
When: Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
Where: Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation, 2035 Washington Avenue, Suite 105, New Orleans, LA 70125
Speakers:
Kathryn Parker, Ph.D., Director, KidsWalk Coalition at the Tulane Prevention Research Center
Debra Vaughan, Director of Research, Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives
Shalanda Cole, MBA, Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
Mark Jernigan, LTC. (Ret.), Director, City of New Orleans Department of Public Works
Cyndi Nguyen, Executive Director, Vietnamese Initiatives for Economic Training
Sophia Griffies, Development Specialist, Audubon Charter School
*Space is limited. RSVP required by Noon Monday, July 29, 2013 via eventbrite or phone at 504-658-8045.
Special thanks to Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation for the use of its space. This event is possible through generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Active Living by Design, Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities program.

TODAY: Youth Run New Orleans seminar at the PRC

Cultivating Character, Community and Wellness through Structured Youth Development

March 30th, 2012
Noon to 1 p.m.
Room 1210, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, 1440 Canal St.

“Cultivating Character, Community and Wellness through Structured Youth Development” is the first seminar in the
spring 2012 Prevention Research Center series, sponsored by a Usdin Family Endowment to Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Seminar presenters are Alex Lebow Andre Fiegler, co-founders of KidsWalk Coalition member Youth Run New Orleans. Attendees will learn strategies to developing and sustaining youth wellness programs. Attendees will learn about developing and sustaining youth programs that promote physical fitness and other values, such as leadership and civic responsibility.

The seminar is free and open to the public. Light lunch will be provided.

For information, contact Naomi King at nking2@tulane.edu or 504.988.7410.

KidsWalk event brings advocates and NORD Commission and Foundation leadership to the table

Recreation moved indoors on a rainy spring day as the KidsWalk Coalition hosted its latest Breakfast Roundtable Series event with the New Orleans Recreation Development (NORD) Commission and Foundation. Building outstanding facilities, partnering with community groups to provide programs, and leveraging private investment were discussed at the event held Thursday, March 22 at Mike’s on the Avenue in downtown New Orleans.

Vic Richard speaks to Roundtable attendees

The roundtable discussion and question-and-answer event gave over 30 local community and children’s’ advocates and public health professionals the chance to directly from NORD Commission Executive Director Vic Richard and NORD Foundation Executive Director Annie LaRock. It was the first time the two new executives have spoken together to the public.

“With the new Commission and Foundation, the way New Orleans manages recreation is changing so quickly,” said Kate Parker-Karst, director of the KidsWalk Coalition. “It is critical that the Commission engages the community as it restores recreation facilities,” said Parker-Karst.

“Our goal is not to recreate what we had,” said Richard, as he laid out the Commission’s vision for both passive and active opportunities for recreation in New Orleans neighborhoods. Richard described among the Commission’s new initiatives is a NORD “teen council” modeled off an advisory group in Philadelphia, where he previously served as Commissioner of Recreation.

In response to questions from attendees, Richard and LaRock explained that permanent bathrooms won’t be installed at all NORD facilities but will be at so-called “active sites,” such as ballfields. When asked about the management of the Lafitte Greenway, a 3.1-mile stretch of public land set aside for recreational development, they said it remains to be determined by the City administration. Richard and LaRock also said communities would be offered opportunities to participate in NORD program and facility planning when projects are initiated.

The Breakfast Roundtable Series offers advocates and professionals the opportunity to connect with leaders making New Orleans a healthier, more active city. Previous speakers have included Dr. Karen DeSalvo and the City Planning Commission. Is there a local leader you would like to see at the next Roundtable? Let us know!