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New Orleans Gets Jazzed About Bike Funding

By Brighid O’Keane, Advocacy Advance Program Manager

Not many people think of New Orleans as a refuge from hurricanes, but it was the welcome location of the most recent Advocacy Advance Workshop The Advocacy Advance team flew down from D.C. in the wake of Sandy and biked with the workshop hosts around a city affected by the power of storms.

Despite – or because of – roads that are ripped up and unpaved, NOLA residents bike and walk the streets in flocks. New Orleans has the ninth highest bike commuter rate among large US cities. The New Orleans Regional Planning Commission (the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization – or “MPO”) has a Transportation Plan that aims to spend 10% of funds on bicycle and pedestrian facilities by 2040 – about $24 million per year. Maximizing available federal dollars are essential to meet that goal.

On November 1, sixty advocates, agency staff and elected officials came together to learn how to fund transportation infrastructure that is safe for all users. Joined by participants from Baton Rouge and Mississippi, discussion focused on bringing in more money with the new transportation bill to fund local biking and walking projects. The workshop was co-hosted by the New Orleans Regional Planning Commission (RPC) and the local advocacy organization Bike Easy.

“This Workshop provided a unique opportunity to bring together agency staff and the public to understand and highlight some exciting opportunities to take advantage of previously unused funding sources,” said Dan Jatres, Program Manager at the RPC.



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