A initiative to overhaul the region’s public transit system, called New Links, was at a crucial phase in February. It had released three comprehensive transportation concepts and was asking the public to weigh in.
That public input would drive the final proposal, Regional Planning Commission officials said. When the COVID-19 emergency hit, the New Links team was in the middle of intense outreach at busy transit stops and community meetings.
Social distancing put a stop to that outreach. Now a transportation advocacy group, RIDE New Orleans, has organized digital town halls to discuss the proposals.
Uptown, Central City, Hollygrove and Mid-City areas will be the focus of a digital town hall planned for Thursday (April 30). Everyone is invited to attend one of two sessions, the first at noon and a second at 5:30 p.m.
District A Councilman Joe Giarrusso and District B Councilman Jay H. Banks (District B) will join RIDE New Orleans to lay out what a network redesign is and what ideas are being explored for the New Orleans region with New Links, specifically focused on these neighborhoods.
“The problems with our regional transit system will still be there after this emergency – they may be even more pronounced,” RIDE states in a press release. “Even with an uncertain present, we still must forge ahead with policies that can make transit comprehensively better in the years to come.”
Three New Links regional transit network redesign concepts were developed after a series of community meetings. One concept emphasizes coverage and consistency, another focuses on ridership and frequency and a third is designed for access and speed.
The digital town halls will further explain the New Links process plus the three concepts and how ideas in each might affect individual neighborhoods.