The streetscape project that caused Freret Street businesses so much pain in 2012 will be repeated this fall as the city rebuilds each of those “bumpout” corners, but officials promise a quicker and smoother process this time around.
The project was intended to beautify the commercial corridor similar to Oak Street and make the street more pedestrian-friendly with large, rounded corners at intersections. It was plagued by delays, however, blocking some of Freret’s fledgling businesses for months, and by fall of last year the brickwork was already crumbling.
Josh Hartley, the Department of Public Works project manager, told merchants Monday evening at Dat Dog that the previous contractor, F.H. Paschen, will no longer be working on the project. The new contract is being finalized, and the work will begin later in the fall — likely around the same time as the Paths to Progress street repaving project is finishing up around November, Hartley said.
“There may be a slight overlap,” Hartley said.
This time, all the brick corners will be removed and reconstructed with concrete, though the basic geometry of the designs have changed very little, Hartley said. The contract will have only 90 days to do the work, and it will be finished before the 2014 Freret Street Festival on April 5, which this year drew 250,000 people.
Business owners on Freret urged Hartley to let them have more of an oversight role as the work as being performed, as their concerns about the project last year came to fruition.
“The track record of the people your department has hired is awful,” said developer Greg Ensslen.
Hartley promised to be personally involved in the project and to stay in contact with the business owners.
“I will be here very very often,” Hartley said.
The bumpout reconstruction is yet another addition to the list of construction projects that seem to enclose Freret.
- The Napoleon Avenue neutral ground cannot be crossed as a new drainage canal is being installed underneath it. That intersection is scheduled to reopen this week to east-west traffic on Freret, but will have to be closed again later in the year, according to a statement from Boh Brothers.
- On the other side of Napoleon, the Paths to Progress repaving project has already begun. It will cross to the commercial side of Freret in about two weeks, and is expected to be finished around November.
- Trees have already been removed from Jefferson Avenue in anticipation of the new drainage canal that will be installed there over the next four years.
Other Freret news
The association heard from a number of other speakers on Monday:
- A $3,000 grant from City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell’s office for crime cameras in the neighborhood has been received, and the first five of six cameras planned have already been installed near known hotspots for drugs on side streets in the neighborhood, said association board member Kellie Grengs.
- Miranda St. Pierre plans to open St. Pierre Salon at 2506 Jena — essentially on the corner of Freret — in mid-December.
- The South Broad Community Health Center at Washington and Broad, which plans to serve the Freret neighborhood, expects to open in 2014, said board chair Beth Winkler Schmit.
The association also continued discussion of its bylaws. To read our live coverage of the meeting, see below.
Thank you Robert!!!! + M. Collins for joining the fun…
+ saying I told you so, won’t stop them from doing the the same again- or get power lines underground when they dig big….
That was 2011- and my arguments have changed- how bout we don’t rip em out and re-due and use the $aved where it’s badly needed…
Oh well, i am damn blessed to have my Studio below where I live, and can walk to all that is-
Best from 5110,
What is going on with the Dept of Public Works oversight – similar lack of oversight occurred with the RTA – St. Charles streetcar ties had to be redone as well. It seems that “low bidder” isn’t necessarily as qualified as the next highest bidder. It seems that the standards for bidding on a project needs to be reviewed by someone who knows what they are doing. The ripping up a street that is even more congested than before the original sidewalk construction will be even more consequential to the businesses, pedestrians and traffic.
emotions won’t fix foundations, but public pressure needs to be used to end the national culture of “change orders”. WAKE UP PEOPLE- Other media? or must I blog armature yellow J YELP to get you to dig?
+ With X billion about to be spent on SWB, and the clowns still in charge (not the mayor- as I hope his changes work) all this digging and not a single power line underground?
Yes- this is left overs from Naginomics and Architects, but can we finally get what we wanted to begin with like trash cans, trees, and to left alone.
I hope that the mosaic street names are replaced with the nicer, glazed tile type that we see throughout the rest of New Orleans. The mosaic versions don’t do much to beautify the street. Just my $0.02.
Other media? The present administration is not to blame, but for sick stupid examples of waste- get architects/soft costs since 2006-
“1 million”?… Really?- I wonder how much they and the Engineers that caused all have been paid?
Held accountable? or will they team up to blame the contractor?
Sorry for the bitch, but their were months long delays for the custom ordered and matched bricks and we STILL DON’T HAVE THE TRASH CANS, TREES, AND BIKE RACKS!!!!
Will the bricks be replaced by just cement, as I heard? I know the brickwork was not great, but cement would be a downgrade. Also, I hope if they put those textured metal ramp pads down again, they go with the brick red ones NOT the artificial yellow they put in this last time. How about trees in the empty tree spots on the sidewalk?