Jul 212014
 
(map via NORTA)

The restored Line 90 is shown in blue, and the Leonidas line is shown in Green. (map via NORTA)

The New Orleans RTA plans to restore Carrollton Bus Line 90 this fall, which runs from the intersection of South Claiborne through Mid-City and City Park to reach Gentilly, as part of a series of service changes announced as transit advocates question the slow return of bus lines and the agency’s finances. Continue reading »

Jul 212014
 

Owen Courreges

Keeping your eye on the road matters.  Sometimes it just prevents you from being a jerk, other times it can save somebody’s life.

Case in point: Earlier this past week I was going down Oak Street looking for a parking space on the street. When I saw one, I immediately hand signaled (my car is 63 years old and lacks turn signals) and slowed next to the spot. A white SUV was approaching behind me from the intersection, so I held the hand-signal for a few seconds, believing that the SUV would see the signal and leave me sufficient space. Continue reading »

Jul 012014
 
Derrick "Doc" Simmons,  from the Original C.T.C. Steppers Social and Pleasure Club,  dances on top of a Carrollton Avenue bus shelter during the Original Pigeon Town Steppers second line in 2011. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Derrick “Doc” Simmons, from the Original C.T.C. Steppers Social and Pleasure Club, dances on top of a Carrollton Avenue bus shelter during the Original Pigeon Town Steppers second line in 2011. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority will discuss increasing service on bus routes throughout the city, including restoring route 90 in Carrollton, at a series of community open houses in Broadmoor and Carrollton starting next week. Continue reading »

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Jun 302014
 
Audubon Park's Shelter 11, near St. Charles Avenue, was recently renovated with private donations, and the park is asking the city to pay for similar renovations to the bathroom complexes on The Fly. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Audubon Park’s Shelter 11, near St. Charles Avenue, was recently renovated with private donations, and the park is asking the city to pay for similar renovations to the bathroom complexes on The Fly. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The city of New Orleans’ $12.5 million plan to repave the uppermost end of Magazine Street next year answers a major standing request from the Audubon Commission, but Audubon leaders are still requesting an additional $3.6 million in upgrades to the riverfront park known as “The Fly.” Continue reading »

May 262014
 

Owen Courreges

A common practice amongst subordinates is to intentionally include extraneous steps in a plan to give a meddling boss something to change.  This way, the plan remains exactly the same, but the boss feels as though he’s made a contribution and the subordinate can point out that he compromised.  It goes like this:

PEON:   Here’s what my plan is: We’ll design the product, build a prototype, dispose of toxic waste in the executive washroom, and then launch the product.

BOSS:    Whoa! That third step is a problem. I don’t think we should dispose of toxic waste in the executive washroom.  That could harm our corporate executives.

PEON:   Hmmm… I’m still not sure about abandoning Step 3, but I see what you’re saying and value your guidance.  I’ll scrap Step 3.

BOSS:    Great!  Let’s move forward.

It was this kind of scenario that comes to mind when the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center makes its pitch to expand its facilities into the Lower Garden District as part of a public/private partnership. Continue reading »

May 182014
 
The Tesla Model S (via teslamotors.com)

The Tesla Model S (via teslamotors.com)

It’s tough to say what is most surprising about the Tesla Model S all-electric sedan – the radical design changes that ensue when an auto maker replaces the gas engine with state-of-the-art energy efficiency, or the fact that the vehicle isn’t confined to some Silicon Valley, Tom Swift future fantasy at all. A small but dedicated group of Tesla owners is quickly growing here in New Orleans, and Tesla Motors is in the process of creating a new infrastructure to support them across the oil-and-gas-loving Gulf Coast.

“The car really feels like the future,” said Matt Wisdom, the CEO of New Orleans-based technology company TurboSquid and one of the first Tesla owners in the area. “It’s not that they’ve built a relatively expensive car. It’s that they’ve figured out how it’s going to be. I have no question things are going to migrate this way.” Continue reading »

May 122014
 

Owen Courreges

Uptown New Orleans is renowned for its urban green space. Some of it consists of public parks, places, and neutral grounds, but most of it is private – yards and gardens abutting buildings. These spaces aren’t only aesthetically pleasing, but also help manage storm runoff and reduce the need for drainage infrastructure.

However, Uptown also plays host to numerous apartment buildings whose owners want to provide the amenity of off-street parking. Where space is lacking for a proper parking lot, these owners would prefer to just pave over everything.

And sometimes, they do just that. Continue reading »

Apr 282014
 

Owen Courreges

Elk Place has seen better days, and poor transit planning is the most obvious culprit.  Near the intersection with Canal, transit users wait alongside derelict and ill-maintained structures with inadequate shelter and seating.  Drivers buzz by as throngs brave the elements to make their connections.

This is what happens when over 20 transit lines converge at one location, with over 5,000 riders boarding and disembarking streetcars and buses.

It’s a notorious disgrace.  The immediate area has been slow to redevelop.  The sidewalks are difficult to navigate and litter is an ongoing problem.  Not only have transit users suffered – local businesses and property owners are dissatisfied as well. Continue reading »

Apr 152014
 
At least two sections of the Newcomb Boulevard fence have been removed as of Tuesday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

At least two sections of the Newcomb Boulevard fence have been removed as of Tuesday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

At least two sections of the controversial Newcomb Boulevard fence were removed Tuesday morning, and city officials say the intersection will re-open to two-way traffic in about a week. Continue reading »

Apr 142014
 

Owen Courreges

An interesting column appeared last month in the Winston-Salem Journal  entitled “About that Desire for Streetcars.”  Winston-Salem (famous for being the headquarters of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco) is moving forward with a contentious $179 million boondoggle to build a streetcar line through downtown.  And apparently New Orleans’ streetcar system is being cited as an exemplar.

The column, which was written by the aptly-named John Railey, takes the form of a parody of the Tennessee Williams masterpiece “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

“What we really need is a real streetcar line, like the one we had in New Orleans,” says the thickly satirized protagonist. “Such a streetcar line would be worth any cost. It’s just silly that some critics say we should first spruce up and expand the city bus lines. Silly taxpayers, being so pettily pessimistic about the streetcar line prospect.” Continue reading »

Apr 022014
 
Pedestrians pass by the Newcomb Boulevard fence in early February. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

Pedestrians pass by the Newcomb Boulevard fence in early February. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

Opponents of the controversial Newcomb Boulevard fence have won a preliminary round in the fight over the street’s future, as city planners are recommending against its sale and closure to the public. Continue reading »