Just as the repaving of Freret Street comes to an end, the city is planning to return to the commercial corridor’s much-maligned corner bumpouts and sidewalks from November until the spring.
The streetscape project — which is completely separate from the ongoing repaving scheduled to be finished by Nov. 4 — will install concrete ramps in the brick bumpouts and curb extensions, plus bicycle racks, decorative iron trash cans, crosswalk markings and “shared bicycle way markings,” new trees, new street-name tiles and repairs to damaged sidewalks, according to a fact sheet city officials sent to Freret businesses.
It will begin Nov. 4 on the riverside block between Jefferson and Valmont, work its way down to Napoleon one block at a time, and then back up to Jefferson on the lakeside of the street, according to a schedule in the fact sheet. Each block is scheduled to take only eight days — if weather and other conditions permit — with a projected completion on March 11, the project timeline states.
A public meeting about the project is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday (Oct. 28) at Holy Rosary Academy (Freret at Jena).
Kellie Grengs of The New Freret business and property owners’ association has requested that the meeting be postponed for a week to allow more residents and business owners time to plan to attend, but there has been no response from city officials to Uptown Messenger on Grengs’ request.
The sidewalk and streetscape project has been fraught with delays and frustration since at least 2011. Residents objected to the bumpouts from the beginning, and the work itself stalled in front of several new restaurants as they were opening in 2012.
By contrast, the repaving project through the Paths to Progress has gotten rave reviews from business owners. It took barely a month to strip and repave the eight-block commercial section of Freret, and workers are now finishing the details.
“These guys didn’t waste any time. They did a fabulous job,” said Thomas Kehoe of Kehoe Automotive on Friday. “Somebody should send them a thank-you note.”