Beginnings: UC and the Lafitte 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 in partnership with the University of Missouri- Kansas City’s Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design and later, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC). The UC supported early efforts by securing funding from sources including the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Hash House Harriers, Massey’s Professional Outfitters, Merrell Shoes, and through the RTC, from the Kresge Foundation 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 providing staff for outreach to businesses and residents within the Lafitte Corridor and 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’s website
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 Lafitte 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.
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:
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.