At today's regular City Council meeting, the Council received a presentation and adopted a corresponding resolution to support the implementation of the Complete Streets Policy, approved an ordinance updating existing requirements for traffic arrests and citations, adopted a resolution in support of trauma-informed systems in schools, and approved an ordinance to facilitate the completion of the Bayou St. John Drainage Project. Additionally, the Council honored the life and legacy of human rights activist and political leader Felicia Kahn, heard a presentation from Emerge Louisiana highlighting its work as the premier campaign-training program for women in Louisiana and recognized the Fighting Cancer Flag Football team for placing first in the national tournament and earning $1M toward cancer research.
Council Supports Complete Streets Policy
The Council heard a presentation from the New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition in support of a data-driven and equity-focused Complete Streets Policy. Complete Streets aims to enhance safety, health, sustainability, and the equitable distribution of biking, walking, and transit improvement projects for all New Orleanians.
Following the presentation, the Council presented a proclamation to Bike Easy and adopted a resolution expressing its full support and determination to implement the Complete Streets Policy and ensure an equitable, comprehensive, integrated and connected transportation network within the City of New Orleans. Resolution R-18-314 encourages the implementation of the City's current Complete Streets Policy based on community needs and participation.
"As we continue to work toward improving our streets and roadways, this legislation puts in place a requirement that every street improvement project must include safety features for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians," said District "C" Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer. "The Complete Streets program will also provide data to help us create a more comprehensive citywide transit plan that's safe and convenient for everyone who lives in New Orleans."
To learn more about the Complete Streets Coalition, click here.
Members of the Complete Streets Coalition Robert Hening Bell and Dan Favre of Bike Easy, Coretta Lagarde of the American Heart Association, and Dr. Jeanette Gustat of Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
New Law to Reduce New Orleans Traffic Arrests
The Council unanimously passed an ordinance to clarify the duties of the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Traffic Bureau and update existing requirements relative to traffic arrests and the issuing of citations. Ordinance No. 32,311 amends the existing City law so that traffic offenses may be dealt with through citations as opposed to arrests.
With this change, NOPD officers will no longer be required to arrest drivers for suspended licenses and other violations, allowing them to put more time and resources toward hard crime. However, drivers who commit serious offenses such as driving under the influence, hit and runs and reckless driving will still be arrested per Louisiana state law.
"This ordinance represents an effort to move our city forward with policies that make sense, and in order to do that, we need to stop jailing people just because they're having issues with their driver's licenses," said Councilmember-At-Large Helena Moreno. "We want an NOPD that's focused on preventing violence and property crimes, and this will enable them to do that."
Council Advocates for Trauma-Informed Systems in Schools
The Council unanimously adopted Resolution R-18-310 by Councilmember-At-Large Helena Moreno supporting the building and implementation of trauma-informed systems within the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB). Traumatic experiences in childhood can have long-term impacts on a child's ability to learn, putting them at heightened risk for mental health and substance abuse issues, as well as juvenile delinquency.
Schools have an important role to play in providing stable learning environments that connect all students, especially those impacted by trauma, to compassionate, skilled and responsive adults. These systems are vital and should be implemented throughout all OPSB schools to promote the well-being of students, ensure their success, and protect them from further harm.
St. John Drainage Project Moves Toward to Completion
The Council unanimously passed an ordinance to authorize the Mayor to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the City and the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to facilitate the completion of the Bayou St. John Drainage Project.
In 2016, the Council authorized the $7M project for Bayou St. John as part of a larger mitigation program to reduce flooding in the area. Those program funds were dispersed among eight neighborhoods throughout the city in order to implement various drainage projects, and help the city find a better, more sustainable way of managing its water.
Photo of Bayou St. John courtesy of Curbed NOLA