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Demo Aims to Improve CBD Transit Hub

Aside from the iconic street car, New Orleans is not known for her public transit options. Ride New Orleans organized a demonstration yesterday to help residents envision better buses. The local nonprofit is teaming up with transit riders, community members and leaders, and public officials to open up a discussion focusing on improving the city’s transit system, namely in the CBD.


RNO held a grassroots press conference on Tuesday, April 15, to unveil the upcoming release of their report, “Smart Transit for a Strong Economy: Why New Orleans Should Invest in a CBD Transit Hub,” said Executive Director of RNO, Rachel Heiligman.


Over 200 chairs were set up at various bus stops that encircle the neutral ground at Elk Place between Tulane Avenue and Canal Street. The point was to give riders a comfortable place to wait for their transportation.


Heiligman stated the report was written to call attention to the lack of  infrastructure in the city’s regional transit system, and to set a foundation for dialogue.


Providing additional seating, shading structures, lighting, and more maps and schedules are among efforts in the works. RNO will work with locals to help the city create a CBD Transit Hub that NOLA can be proud of, long-term.


Councilwoman Palmer said the only way this endeavor will be successful is if the city leaves no one behind.


“This is not a city that I feel is reflective of our value system, where we treat everybody the same way and with dignity,” said Palmer. “We want to make sure that everybody has equal access in a way that is decent and a way that we can ensure they get from one place to another, and a way that is not just fast, but also one that reflects where our values lie.”


Palmer gave RTA a nod by stating they have made significant progress in the past few years installing more bus shelters throughout the city.


Councilwoman Guidry said that citizens must speak up if they wish to see improvements. 


“Sometimes you’ve just got to keep pushing on us public officials until it starts to work,” said Guidry.


Guidry stressed timeliness as a central goal for transportation. “If a mother fails to get her child to the daycare, and then to arrive to work on time, is our failure,” she said. 


Councilman Gray was also present, and spoke of the efforts discussed to improve transit systems in New Orleans East.


Being in her own district, Councilwoman Cantrell was especially concerned with the consistent complaints she received regarding safety and conditions of the transit area.  


“We have seen some improvement, as well as the seating that is here now, but it is not good enough. And so having a hub in this area will affect the quality of life,” said Cantrell, hoping for safer conditions.


Currently, more than 20 regional bus lines converge at the CBD Transit Hub, making it the busiest transfer point in the regional system, serving between 5,000 to 7,000 riders a day.





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