Urban Conservancy and the Lafitte Greenway

Learn how the UC was involved in the beginnings of the Greenway.

Beginnings: UC and the Greenway

The UC played a vital role in outreach and awareness raising by providing human and financial capital for the Lafitte Greenway from 2007 until 2014, when the Friends of Lafitte Greenway hired its first staff person, a full-time Executive Director.

The UC actively participated in the revitalization of the Lafitte Greenway by assisting in successful grantseeking from sources including the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Hash House Harriers, Merrell Shoes, and the Coca Cola Foundation.

We added critical organizational capacity as a member of the Lafitte Greenway Steering Advisory Committee during that time, and community-building assistance throughout the planning process by creating and managing the Greenway Gazette, an online newsletter.

As part of our outreach and awareness raising efforts, the UC conceived of a series of identifying structures or “kiosks” along the route of the future Greenway to serve as visual cues to the public of the planned greenway and provide information to the public about the greenway’s history and upcoming public meetings.  We contracted with a design team, identified and secured funding sources and building materials, and managed volunteer builds along the Greenway.


The Lafitte Greenway is a 2.6-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail and green corridor, opening in New Orleans in summer 2015 that will connect neighborhoods from Armstrong Park to City Park. The City of New Orleans broke ground on the $9.1 million project in March of 2014, beginning a one-year construction process. The Lafitte Greenway transforms one of the city’s most historic transportation corridors–originally a canal connecting to Bayou St. John to the edge of the French Quarter, and later a railroad right-of-way that has sat vacant since the mid-twentieth century–into a multi-use transportation corridor and linear park.

The Lafitte Greenway extends from the intersection of N. Alexander and St. Louis streets in Mid-City to Basin Street and St. Louis Street in Tremé, blocks from the French Quarter. The Greenway will include a 12-foot asphalt path for cyclists and pedestrians, new recreation fields, green space, and landscaping improvements including over 500 shade trees, native plant meadows, bioswales and stormwater retention features. The path will be fully lit with LED energy-efficient trail lighting, and will include curb extensions, signalized high visibility crosswalks, Americans with Disabilites Act-compliant curb ramps at sidewalk corners, environmental remediation, a crushed stone walking path, and a bicycle and pedestrian roundabout. –from The Lafitte Greenway


UC’s Greenway Kiosks

Greenway Green Rooms Invite Walkers to Think, Share, and Engage

Friends of the Lafitte Corridor hosted their annual “Hike the Lafitte Corridor” guided tour of the mostly-disused rail and transportation pathway connecting Lakeview to French Quarter on Saturday, April 14th.

Over 100 hikers participated in Saturday’s walk and joined in a discussion of the corridor’s past, present, and future significance as the site of New Orleans’ own Greenway.

Representatives from The Urban Conservancy were on-site at the group’s Jeff Davis Parkway and N. Galvez greenway green rooms to discuss the purpose of the repurposed structures: to inform, engage, and remind residents of the importance of the impending Greenway. Read The Times-Picayune’s story.

Photos credit Chris Granger at The Times-Picayune.


 

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Features Lafitte Greenway in their Case Study: Urban Pathways to Healthy Neighborhoods

Nation-wide pedestrian and cyclist advocacy group, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, makes walking and biking their priority. Building ped-friendly and bike-accessible paths means building better neighborhoods, says Rails-to-Trails. Read an excerpt of their Case Study, and walk tall as they shine the spotlight on our own N. Galvez Kiosk along the Lafitte Corridor.


 

MLK Day Unites Service-Minded Community Members at the N. Galvez Kiosk

Monday, January 16th marked Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. In honor of his memory, service organizations like City Year New Orleans lead community betterment projects throughout New Orleans.
Our second kiosk installation, located at N. Galvez and Lafitte Streets, enjoyed the benefits of volunteers joining hands in pursuit of a single goal. With help from City Year New Orleans and Cargill volunteers, the kiosk’s final panel was installed (complete with artwork from local students and residents) and the welcome banner rolled out.

The Greenway also got a little facelift, as volunteers rolled up their sleeves and took up their trash bags, clearing the area of litter and debris. The kiosk is turning into quite the attraction, so stay tuned for upcoming coverage from WGNO, or check it out for yourself!


 

Sec. of Interior Gives Greenlight to Lafitte Greenway

Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, met with Friends of Lafitte Corridor, public officials, and interested citizens on Wednesday, December 14 to extend the Obama Administration’s support and prioritized commitment to the Greenway. The Corridor is one of seven park projects the Administration has chosen to take on via its Urban Waters Federal Partnership program dedicated to revitalizing urban waterways in under-served communities. Check out the full story in the Gambit, or for more immediate gratification, check out the picture below.

 


 

Rails-To-Trails Conservancy Offers a Blueprint for Greenway Success

The national non-profit organization, Rails-To-Trails Conservancy recently compiled a “Blueprint for Bringing the Lafitte Corridor to Fruition.” Under their Urban Pathways Initiative, the RTC shares their findings about how best to connect neighborhoods to healthy living.


 

The Greenway Gets Another Green Room

Built with the help of friends, FOLCs, and FutureProof over the weekend, the Greenway got its second Green Room at the intersection of N. Galvez and Lafitte in the Treme. The Green Rooms offer way-finding services along the Lafitte Corridor, as well as information specific to each site providing a brief history of the area and shining the spotlight on nearby local businesses.

From ground-breaking:

To ground-making:

Wise guidance has also been provided by the national non-profit organization, Rails-To-Trails Conservancy. The RTC has recently compiled a “Blueprint for Bringing the Lafitte Corridor to Fruition.”


 

Green Rooms a Go!

Greenway awareness gains steam as more citizens become involved and offer their time, efforts, and enthusiasm toward ensuring the Corridor comes together. Two informational kiosks have been successfully installed using repurposed materials, helping hands, and professional know-how from our friends at FutureProof.
The first Green Room, erected in April, can be found at the intersection of Jeff Davis and Lafitte Street:

Volunteers take a break after installing information panel in Lafitte Corridor. Photo courtesy of the Urban Conservancy.
Volunteers take a break after installing information panel in Lafitte Corridor. Photo courtesy of the Urban Conservancy.

 

You can visit our second Green Room, built over the first weekend in November, at N. Galvez and Lafitte Street in the neutral ground:

Photo courtesy J.O. Evans III

The Urban Conservancy is proud to promote Greenway progress!


As we gear up for some greenway planning here in New Orleans, we asked our friends at the Rails to Trails Conservancy to provide some examples of urban pathways from around the nation. Here’s what they had to say. Developing shared-use pathways and promoting their use can help urban communities address problems of obesity, congestion and scarcity of open space.


Referred to by many names–the Lafitte Corridor, the Lafitte Greenway, the Old Carondelet Basin, the Carondelet Walk, etc.–this strip of land connecting the French Quarter with Bayou St. John and Lake Pontchartrain has a long history of linking various neighborhoods and could once again serve the city as an inviting and uniting public park. Watch why Kelly Pack of the Rails to Trails Conservancy and Peter Hickman of the Mid-City Volleyball Group support the Lafitte Greenway project.


 

Greenway “Green Rooms” in 2011

With funding and technical support secured by The Urban Conservancy from The Rails to Trails Conservancy, the New Orleans Hash House Harriers, Massey’s Professional Outfitters and Merrell Shoes, local sustainable design firm FutureProof is designing innovative way-finding kiosks for the Lafitte Greenway (see renderings). The kiosks will be constructed barn-raising style starting in early Spring 2011. Stay tuned for opportunities to get your hands dirty and meet some fellow greenway enthusiasts. Sign up to receive The Greenway Gazette, the monthly e-newsletter keeping you updated on events, volunteer opportunities, and developments along the Greenway throughout the year.

Watch volunteer Trishell Joffrion of the Louisiana Himalaya Association tell about helping out with the first kiosk build on April 15 and 16, 2011.

Map of the Lafitte Greenway

This is a map of the corridor area from Basin Street to North Carrollton Avenue produced by the University of Missouri at Kansas City Urban Planning Department.

2013 Hike the Lafitte Corridor: the last Hike before construction begins?

On Saturday, May 18th, Friends of Lafitte Corridor (FOLC) hosted its ninth annual Hike of the Lafitte Corridor, a free, annual event that walks participants through the history of the area soon to become the Lafitte Greenway. Approximately 60 participants were led by Greenway Ambassadors along the 3.1 mile stretch of land from Congo Square to Delgado Community College, learning about historical landmarks and about plans for the future pedestrian- and bike-friendly Greenway. Numerous other organizations also took part in the event: Bike Easy provided free bike valet services to hikers, participants were treated to a half-way stop at the Bayou St. John with music by Warren Easton High School bandmates and free po’boys from Parkway Bakery & Tavern, and the hike ended with more music and refreshments at Bud’s Broiler on City Park Avenue.

A group of Hike participants walk along the only part of the railway still in operation (approx. N. St. Patrick & St. Louis Streets).

The annual Hike is tied closely to FOLC’s own history: the first “hike” took place in early 2005 with FOLC co-founder Bart Everson and friends, who, when walking along the Corridor, saw officials removing rail ties from the railway that ran the length of the Lafitte Corridor–and got the idea for a rails-to-trails project along the near-defunct railway. Within the next year FOLC was created and advocacy for such a plan began to gain traction. The Hike continues to serve as an educational, advocacy-focused community event, with FOLC Greenway Ambassadors leading as guides in both the history and future of the area. This year’s Hike came at a crucial time: right in the midst of City approval of design plans. If projected City timelines hold true, it will be the last Hike event before the ground-breaking of the long-awaited Greenway in the late Fall.

The Lafitte Corridor is 3.1-mile area along a former shipping canal and railway that once connected the historic French Quarter to Bayou St. John and beyond. After years of discussion and advocacy, the design plans to turn this mostly defunct and empty area into a bike path and park–a Greenway–are finalized and with the City for final review and approval, with construction slated to begin later in 2013. Funding comes primarily from Disaster Recovery Community Development Block Grant (D-CDBG) money, and the current amount slated for the direct costs of the project is projected to be enough for just the basics: the trail, landscaping, and some signage. With further support and funds, it is hoped to turn this into a truly great public space for New Orleanians to enjoy for many generations.

Warren Easton High School bandmates played at a lunch stop on the Bayou St. John while hikers munched on free po-boys courtesy of Parkway.
Warren Easton High School bandmates played at a lunch stop on the Bayou St. John while hikers munched on free po-boys courtesy of Parkway.

The Hike the Lafitte Corridor event brought together numerous likeminded community organizations and was made possible thanks to our generous community sponsors: Bud’s Broiler, Faubourg Lafitte, Louisiana Himalayan Association, Parkway Bakery & Tavern, Sojourner Truth Neighborhood Center and Stirling Properties. Special thanks are also due to Massey’s, Coca-Cola, People United for Armstrong Park, Bike Easy, and Urban Conservancy.

The Hike ended at Bud's Broiler on City Park Avenue, which provided more free music and refreshments to hikers.
The Hike ended at Bud’s Broiler on City Park Avenue, which provided more free music and refreshments to hikers.

Photo and content credit to Annalisa Kelly from the Friends of the Lafitte Greenway.


 

Greenway Construction Status Updates

6/5/15
Placement of the asphalt portion of the Lafitte Greenway bicycle and pedestrian path is 100% complete in Areas 2, 3, 4, and 5. The path in Area 1 is 80% complete. The path in Area 6 will be concrete and is 95% complete. The Department of Public Works construction contractor, Durr Heavy Construction, has completed installing most of the trail lighting fixtures in Areas 2, 3, and 4, and continues installation of trail lighting in Area 5. Lighting wiring will be installed toward the end of the project construction, when the project is ready for public use.

The overall project is about 94% complete and scheduled to be fully open to the public in summer 2015. This schedule is weather dependent.

Tree planting is 75% complete project-wide. Landscaping work will continue through July. Any trees not planting by the end of July will be planted in late October and November.

Area 1 (N. Alexander St. to N. Carrollton Ave.)

Concrete work is substantially complete, with only the median work at the N. Carrollton streetcar station left to be completed. Beginning Monday, June 8, the left lane of N Carrollton at St Louis will be closed for construction. DPW has converted St. Louis St. between N. Carrollton Ave. and N. Solomon St. to one-way in the lakebound operation. Please obey the new one-way signage.

Area 2 (N. Carrollton Ave. to Jefferson Davis Pkwy)

Street repairs are complete.

Area 3 (N. Jefferson Davis Pkwy to N. Broad St.)

The Jefferson Davis intersection asphalt restoration will begin soon. Workers will be removing the abandoned railroad tracks. Please note the N. Lopez St. pedestrian bridge is now closed pending the planned future construction of a replacement bridge. Please use alternate routes.

Area 4 (N. Broad St. to N. Galvez St.)

Workers will mobilize this month to begin widening the N. Broad St. median. This will follow the Broad/Lafitte Streetscape project’s reduction of lanes on N Broad St from three travel lanes in each direction to two travel lanes in each direction with a bike lane. The N. Rocheblave St. pedestrian path is now closed and will remain closed for the duration of construction in Area 4. Workers have begun construction on the new, paved N. Rocheblave St. walk. Please use N. Galvez or N. Broad streets during construction and avoid entering the construction site. To sign up to receive regular updates on the status of the Broad/Lafitte Streetscape project, please contact Cheryn Robles at crobles@nola.gov.

Area 5 (N. Galvez St. to N. Claiborne Ave.)

Work at the N. Prieur crossing is in progress. N. Prieur is closed to traffic from St. Louis St. to Lafitte Ave. The contractor has begun placing the Carondelet Walk crushed stone walking path, which will run along Lafitte Ave between N. Claiborne Ave and N. Galvez St.

Area 6 (N. Claiborne Ave. to Basin St.)

Durr Heavy Construction continues work in the City-owned parking lot to prepare the pavement for the asphalt path. Trail lighting installation is in progress.

Please use caution when driving, bicycling or walking near active construction sites. Traffic cones, construction fencing and safety signage are in place to keep everyone safe. Please respect the signage and fencing – do not enter active construction sites.

Thank you for your continued patience.

*****

4/30/2015
Placement of the asphalt portion of the Lafitte Greenway bicycle and pedestrian path is 100% complete in Areas 2, 3, 4, and 5. The path in Area 1 is 80% complete. The path in Area 6 will be concrete and is 50% complete. The Department of Public Works construction contractor, Durr Heavy Construction, has completed installing most of the trail lighting fixtures in Areas 2, 3, and 4, and continues installation of trail lighting in Area 5. Lighting wiring will be installed toward the end of the project construction, when the project is ready for public use.

The overall project is about 92% complete and scheduled to be fully open to the public in summer 2015. This schedule is weather dependent.

Tree planting is 75% complete project-wide. Landscaping work will continue through April.

Area 1 (N. Alexander St. to N. Carrollton Ave.)

Concrete work is substantially complete, with only the median work at the N. Carrollton streetcar station left to be completed. DPW has converted St. Louis St. between N. Carrollton Ave. and N. Solomon St. to one-way lakebound operation. Please obey the new one-way signage.

Area 2 (N. Carrollton Ave. to Jefferson Davis Pkwy)

Tree planting is in progress.

Area 3 (N. Jefferson Davis Pkwy to N. Broad St.)

Please note the N. Lopez St. pedestrian bridge is now closed pending the planned future construction of a replacement bridge. Please use alternate routes.

Area 4 (N. Broad St. to N. Galvez St.)

Tree planting is in progress. The N. Rocheblave St. pedestrian path is now closed and will remain closed for the duration of construction in Area 4. A new, paved N. Rocheblave St. walk will be constructed as part of this project. Please use N. Galvez or N. Broad streets during construction and avoid entering the construction site. Please use the temporary walking paths on N. Galvez St. during sidewalk construction.

Area 5 (N. Galvez St. to N. Claiborne Ave.)

Work at the N. Prieur crossing is in progress. N. Prieur is closed to traffic from St. Louis St. to Lafitte Ave. The contractor has begun placing the Carondelet Walk crushed stone walking path, which will run along Lafitte Ave between N. Claiborne Ave and N. Galvez St.

Area 6 (N. Claiborne Ave. to Basin St.)

Durr Heavy Construction continues work in the City-owned parking lot to prepare the pavement for the asphalt path. Trail lighting installation is in progress.

Please use caution when driving, bicycling or walking near active construction sites. Traffic cones, construction fencing and safety signage are in place to keep everyone safe. Please respect the signage and fencing – do not enter active construction sites.