City Celebrates Opening Of Lafitte Greenway Bicycle And Pedestrian Path
NEW ORLEANS – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined City Councilmembers, City Officials, and community stakeholders to celebrate the opening of the $9.1 million Lafitte Greenway Bicycle and Pedestrian Path. Stretching 2.6 miles, the Lafitte Greenway Bicycle and Pedestrian Path is a multi-use trail and linear park connecting six historic neighborhoods from the French Quarter to Bayou St. John and Mid-City. The Lafitte Greenway corridor is bounded by Basin Street, Lafitte Street, St. Louis Street and North Alexander Street. Before being converted to a railroad right-of-way, the corridor was the site of the Carondelet Canal that brought ships from Lake Pontchartrain and Bayou St. John to the historic French Quarter.
“The Lafitte Greenway is a truly transformational project that will spur community revitalization in the heart of New Orleans,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “By converting this former industrial railway into a recreational green space, we are promoting not only healthy lifestyles, but also connecting neighborhoods in an entirely new way. As one of my administration’s committed capital projects, the Lafitte Greenway is another sign of the city we are working every day to build.”
The Lafitte Greenway Bicycle and Pedestrian Path includes a 12-foot wide asphalt path for bicyclists and pedestrians, new recreation fields and green space, landscaping improvements with over 500 trees, native meadows, rain gardens, trail lighting, storm water retention features, curb extensions, signal-enhanced high visibility crosswalks, ADA-compliant curb ramps at sidewalk corners, environmental remediation and a crushed stone walking path. A bicycle/ pedestrian roundabout links the Lafitte Greenway with the Jefferson Davis Parkway and Wisner Bike Trails. At this time, the Lafitte Greenway Bicycle and Pedestrian Path is managed by the City of New Orleans. The City is working with The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit dedicated to conservation, on a long-range management structure to ensure the Lafitte Greenway’s operation and security. The Trust for Public Land was also a partner in the development of the Lafitte Greenway by acquiring and donating property for the project. With assistance from the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, an innovative federal union comprised of 14 agencies, the City is receiving technical support to promote the Lafitte Greenway’s long-term viability.
Because of heavy rains in the spring and summer of this year, the recreation fields and greenspace adjacent to the Lafitte Greenway Bicycle and Pedestrian Path remain closed to the public as grass and meadow plantings continue to establish. Because of the growing season in New Orleans, these areas may not be fully established until late spring 2016. The City is monitoring its contractor, Durr Construction, as it maintains the fields and landscaping during this period. The City requests that the public stay on the multi-use trail and avoid walking on the grassy areas during this period. Until the City fully opens the Lafitte Greenway’s recreation fields and green space, no official activities or events will be permitted.
District A Councilmember Susan G. Guidry said, “Proposed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Lafitte Greenway is truly a transformative development for New Orleans. Connecting historic neighborhoods through four Council districts, the Greenway establishes a new corridor for transportation, health, neighborhood business, and community development in the heart of our city. Coming into office, I identified the Greenway as my top priority project, and I have been proud to work with the community leaders, particularly the Friends of Lafitte Greenway, whose tireless advocacy, planning, and community-building efforts have made this day a reality. The Greenway’s potential is immense, and today’s grand opening is only the beginning. I look forward to continuing to work to make the Greenway the best it can be as amenities, programming and community partnerships are established in the months and years to come.”
District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell said, “The opening of the Lafitte Greenway signifies another milestone for the city’s transportation infrastructure. As we move forward, we must also encourage our residents to actively learn and understand vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian safety.”
With the completion of the Lafitte Greenway Bicycle and Pedestrian Path, New Orleans now has 100 miles of designated bikeways. The Lafitte Greenway Bicycle and Pedestrian Path connects to bikeways in the French Quarter and Central Business District via the Basin Street/ Loyola Avenue bikeway. It also crosses existing and future bikeways on North Galvez Street, North Broad Street, and North Jefferson Davis Parkway. Before Hurricane Katrina, there were only five miles.
The Lafitte Greenway Bicycle and Pedestrian Path is part of the Lafitte Corridor Revitalization Plan, which was developed by the New Orleans City Planning Commission in conjunction with the City’s Department of Public Works. The Lafitte Greenway Bicycle and Pedestrian Path was designed by Design Workshop and constructed by Durr Heavy Construction. Diedonne Enterprises, A&A Enterprises, Metro Service Group, Traffic Solutions, Balthazar Electrik, Contractor’s Source, RLH Investments LLC and Twin Shores served as DBEs on the project. Funding for this $9.1 million project comes from Disaster Community Development Block Grants and Louisiana Recreational Trails Grants.
Cedric Grant, Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, said, “The Lafitte Greenway has been highly anticipated for many years and today’s ribbon cutting is validation of the extensive input from neighborhood and civic groups. This is more than just a green space; it is another important multi-modal transportation option that will serve as a gathering place for the entire city. This public investment will encourage further redevelopment from Bayou St. John to the French Quarter.”
Pat Forbes, Executive Director of the State of Louisiana Office of Community Development, said, “The City’s decision to invest disaster recovery funds in the Lafitte Greenway is already paying off in so many ways, and will continue to do so for many years. It has transformed a once-blighted industrial corridor into an amenity for residents and businesses in the Treme and Mid-City neighborhoods, it’s already spurring commercial projects, and it holds rainwater during storms, reducing run-off and flooding. Recreation, economic stimulus and resilience: it perfectly fits our mission to recover safer, stronger and smarter than before.”