More bike racks will be installed in the French Quarter to help de-clutter sidewalks and promote cycling, thanks to a New Orleans City Council proposal that will involve staff members from the Tulane Prevention Research Center.
The Prevention Research Center is partnering with the Department of Public Works on the “Where Ya’ Rack?” bike rack campaign to bring back racks to the French Quarter in New Orleans. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)
The council recently approved a pilot project to put “Where Ya’ Rack?”
bike racks on sidewalks immediately surrounding the Old U.S. Mint on Esplanade Avenue for four months. The council also directed the Department of Public Works to evaluate the pilot program and create a plan for installing on-street bike corrals throughout the Quarter during the same four-month period.
Bike corrals are typically installed at street corners, either in place of a parking space or within no-parking zones.
“Installing bike corrals at street corners not only keeps sidewalks open for pedestrians, but it also improves sightlines for pedestrians who want to cross the street,” says Naomi Doerner of the KidsWalk Coalition, a local partnership led by the Prevention Research Center
. She will help work on the plan with the city.
The compromise came after a lengthy discussion about the Young Leadership Council’s application to install “Where Ya’Rack?” bike racks on sidewalks in the Quarter. Opponents, mostly property owners, said they support the use of bicycles but feared installing racks on sidewalks would be visually unappealing and hinder people from walking on sidewalks easily.
Quarter cyclists frequently lock their bikes to sign posts or building columns, something documented in a report
by New Orleans cycling organization Bike Easy
. The Prevention Research Center provided technical support on that report, which was released last spring.
Isobel Healy, the report’s author and Tulane PRC staff member, said, “There needs to be collaboration with the city, bicyclists and French Quarter business owners and residents to come up with a solution that works for everyone.”
Naomi King Englar is communications and training coordinator for the Prevention Research Center at Tulane University.