Photo: Chris Granger
From the Times-Picayune (Dan is once again interviewed – he’s such a rock star. I think all the female journalists at T-P have a crush on him. Only thing that explains how often he gets quoted.)
“The long-awaited Wisner bike path officially opens today, one of three projects completed this year that double the miles of cycling trails in New Orleans.
And there’s more to come.
The 4.7-mile hybrid path — which stretches from Lafitte Street at North Jefferson Davis Parkway, along the Bayou St. John side of City Park, to Beauregard Avenue and Lakeshore Drive — will be followed by three other bike projects.
By November of next year, bike lanes, such as those on St. Claude Avenue, will probably likely be completed on Harrison Avenue, from Marconi Drive to Wisner Boulevard; on Robert E. Lee Boulevard, from St. Bernard Avenue to Paris Avenue; and on Louisiana Avenue, from St. Charles Avenue to Magazine Street, said Robert Mendoza, the city’s director of public works.
The growth of bike lanes, shared lanes and bike paths in New Orleans increases the odds that the city will be able to obtain more federal money to create infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, said Dan Jatres, program manager for the Regional Planning Commission’s Greater New Orleans Pedestrian and Bicycle Program.
“Wisner — a north-south path — is another down payment on the future for an interconnected system,” said Jatres, who said that the University of New Orleans, the Regional Planning Commission and the Department of Public Works are collaborating to obtain money via a federal transportation bill.
The federal government provided 95 percent of the financing for the $1.4 million Wisner project, and a Wisner foundation grant provided the remaining 5 percent.
The hybrid path includes a mix of 10-foot-wide concrete paths and existing roads marked with bicycle symbols and bike-route signs. A 1.7-mile concrete path has been placed between Wisner Boulevard and the bayou from Milton Street to Robert E. Lee Boulevard. And a two-block concrete section has been built between Esplanade Avenue and West Moss Street.
The streets with signs and symbols that inform motorists they are sharing a lane with cyclists include Moss, Lelong Drive, Golf Drive, Zachary Taylor Drive, Beauregard and Lakeshore Drive. Some of those streets wind through City Park.
And for much of the ride, cyclists will be able to travel from Lake Pontchartrain to City Park without having to deal with regular traffic,” said Bao Vu, a project manager for the city’s Department of Public Works.
The Wisner project, as Mayor Ray Nagin sees it, “will greatly enhance the quality of life for our youth and families.”
With the exception of a limited stretch alongside the south end of Bayou St. John, the Wisner path connects the Xavier community with the lakefront, with the South Jefferson Davis Parkway path covering part of the route. The new project enhances recreational opportunities, creating a safe place for walkers, bikers and runners, Nagin said.
With the addition of Wisner, the city now has 19.8 miles of cycling infrastructure, including 2.6 miles of bike lanes, 10.3 miles of bike paths separated from city streets and 6.9 miles of shared lanes, said Jatres, who will gather with others today at 10:30 a.m. at the corner of Harrison Avenue and Wisner Boulevard in City Park to celebrate the opening of the Wisner trail.” By Leslie Williams.