NEW ORLEANS- District "C" Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer issues the following statement regarding Mayor LaToya Cantrell's plans to make the French Quarter more pedestrian centric:
"As a long-time advocate for safer, more equitable streets and public spaces, I have welcomed the Mayor's efforts to reimagine a French Quarter with reduced motor vehicle traffic and increased access for pedestrians and bicyclists.
I have been committed to bringing stakeholders together with the administration to ensure that the people most affected will have input throughout the ongoing design process. To that end, we have held weekly meetings with administration officials and French Quarter residential and business association leadership in providing feedback. Additionally, we have held Zoom meetings for residents and businesses with more than 300 participants. We continue to hold calls with specific constituencies to ensure that the administration has the most complete understanding of how constituents view the proposals.
Due to continued input and research, I cannot support the Orleans Civic Spine project and have requested its removal from consideration of the French Quarter Pedestrianization Plan. While I support a safe connection between the Lafitte Greenway and the River, I do not think this is best accomplished on a residential street.
There are many aspects of the administration's initial proposal I welcome, including reducing the speed limit of interior streets to 15 mph, traffic calming measures on North Rampart to improve the connection between the Quarter and Armstrong Park, and the proposed one-block street closure around French Market. I also believe that particular attention should be paid to activating the different alleyways in the Quarter as proof for how some of these concepts could be implemented and managed.
However, after studying the plans and hearing from residents and businesses owners, I think there are outstanding concerns around the maintenance of existing infrastructure and regulation of existing pedestrian malls that will need to be addressed for the community to feel confident that further efforts will work and be a benefit to the neighborhood and businesses.
I am encouraged by the fact that the administration has dedicated $2 million in sidewalk repairs and hope that additional funding can be secured at the state level for similar projects. I look forward to the co-design process and will continue to advocate for a plan that improves residents' quality of lives while ensuring businesses can prosper."
Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer, District "C"