New Orleans Gets Jazzed Over Bike Funding
Not many people think of New Orleans as a refuge from hurricanes, but it was the welcome location of the most recent Advocacy Advance Workshop The Advocacy Advance team flew down from D.C. in the wake of Sandy and biked with the workshop hosts around a city affected by the power of storms.
Despite – or because of – roads that are ripped up and unpaved, NOLA residents bike and walk the streets in flocks. New Orleans has the tenth-highest bicycle and walking levels of any city in the country. The New Orleans Regional Planning Commission (the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization – or “MPO”) has a Transportation Plan that aims to spend 10% of funds on bicycle and pedestrian facilities by 2040 – about $24 million per year. Maximizing available federal dollars are essential to meet that goal.
Last week, sixty advocates, agency staff and elected officials came together to learn how to fund transportation infrastructure that is safe for all users. Joined by participants from Baton Rouge and Mississippi, discussion focused on bringing in more money with the new transportation bill to fund local biking and walking projects. The workshop was co-hosted by the New Orleans Regional Planning Commission (RPC) and the local advocacy organization Bike Easy.
“This Workshop provided a unique opportunity to bring together agency staff and the public to understand and highlight some exciting opportunities to take advantage of previously unused funding sources,” said Dan Jatres, Program Manager at the RPC.
Dan is on our Bike/Ped-Friendly MPO Working Group, a team of regional agency staff that is working with Advocacy Advance to create resources and best practices for regions to fund bicycle and pedestrian projects under MAP-21. The new transportation law gives MPOs more responsibility for distributing federal transportation funds. MPOs serving areas with more than 200,000 residents are required to run a competitive grant program to distribute federal funds from the Transportation Alternatives (TA) program.
Advocates from Bike Easy will work with communities in New Orleans and beyond on campaigns to maximize the funding that is available for biking and walking projects under MAP-21.
Apply by November 30 to host an Advocacy Advance Navigating MAP-21 Workshop in your community.