|A sharrow in the right travel lane heading to the French Quarter|
of Orleans Ave. in New Orleans
New Orleans is ranked #22 on Bicycling magazine's 50 top cities for bicycling in the U.S. The magazine ranked the city 43 in 2012. Number one this year was New York City.
The rankings boost for New Orleans is attributed to the expansion of the city's bicycle network from about five miles to nearly 100 miles since Hurricane Katrina nine years ago, the magazine editors say in a blurb in the October 2014 edition of the magazine.
(To give the bike lane miles a little context, true there were probably only about five miles of bona fide separate bicycling paths in the city August 2005. But most of the "nearly 100" miles of bike lanes touted now consists of many traffic lanes of busy streets stenciled with "sharrows," a quick and dirty way to boost bike lane mileage. Counted as bike lanes now are busy city arteries such as City Park Ave. leading from under an Interstate interchange to Delgado Community College and east bound Orleans Ave. a four-lane street leading to the French Quarter.)
Other bicycle infrastructure improvements over the past year are in reality more significant. Esplanade Ave. from City Park nearly two miles to Claiborne Ave. was resurfaced and restriped converting the narrow four-lane into one wider traffic lane and one bike lane in each direction. This has become the main route used by cyclists traveling from the French Quarter to Lakeview and City Park.
The completition of the bike path along Lake Pontchartrain in Jefferson Parish, after about 30 years of partial closings because of levee and pumping station construction is a boon to riders who like the scenic views of the lake the 12 mile ride (one-way) affords.
(While that path is not in New Orleans it is very popular with riders from New Orleans who ride it regularly and its existence contributes much to the cycling climate of the area.)
To be completed next year is the Lafitte Corridor multi-use path and playground, from near N. Carrollton Ave. to Basin St. Construction of the path part of the development is well underway with the blacktop down in some sections.
|A view of the path under construction in the Lafitte Corridor in New Orleans taken 09-11-2014. The view is looking southwest towards N. Carrollton Ave. from N. Scott St. Rouses is on the left.|