If you take a look at New Orleans’ Central Business District, you’ll see the fruits of New Orleans’ post-Katrina recovery on full display. Before Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, NOLA’s Central Business District (CBD) was notorious among residents for turning into a ghost town at the end of each workday. Today, New Orleans’ buzzing CBD bears little resemblance to the depressed neighborhood it once was.
To encourage development along the neighborhood’s business corridor after Katrina, the city streamlined development regulation processes. In the wake of eased building restrictions, new businesses began to crop up in the CBD. New restaurants, retail locations, and cocktail bars continue to draw more people to the neighborhood.
Until recently, however, the revitalization of New Orleans’ CBD did not extend to the public transportation serving the historic neighborhood.
Currently, improving public transit for people who live and work in the Central Business District is a top priority for local government officials and city planners. Major projects are underway to improve the city’s public transit. Check out the list below to learn more about NOLA’s transit initiatives that are in the works!
New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Goes Digital
Back in October, Transdev and New Orleans’ Regional Transit Authority debuted RTA GoMobile, their new mobile app. New Orleans’ public transit riders can now use their smartphone to buy and display fare on any bus, ferry, or streetcar.
A few more digital resources to help you navigate New Orleans transit:
NOLA Transit – this app provides users with updated transit schedules, step-by-step directions, and real-time data on New Orleans bus and streetcar locations.
Roadify – a Waze-like app that uses crowdsourced data to inform users of transit schedule changes and service alerts.
Ride New Orleans – a transit advocacy group serving the greater New Orleans area. Their website is a mecca for regional transit resources, where you’ll find the latest news and information regarding NOLA city transit.
Expanded Service, At Last!
On April 17, New Orleans’ Regional Transit Authority expanded service on more than 20 bus and streetcar routes, including an express shuttle to Louis Armstrong International Airport and 24-hour operations on nine major bus lines.
Plans to Overhaul the Canal Street Ferry
Back in April, New Orleans received a $5 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration to go towards the city’s broader effort to overhaul and redesign the Canal Street ferry terminal. The proposal for the new, energy-efficient ferry terminal will also allow the city to redesign and modernize its riverfront property.
Bike Sharing & Other Projects
In recent years, New Orleans’ construction of bike lanes has made it a lot easier and safer for cyclists to get around the city. With more residents pedaling around the CBD, local businesses with opportunities to serve cyclists have capitalized on the growing popularity of biking. Newly-opened cafe Rouler functions as a combination restaurant and bike repair shop for CBD residents. The owners of the cafe envision Rouler as a community gathering place, where cyclists and non-cyclists alike can enjoy good food and company. Four Winds, a prominent luxury apartment building located in the CBD, is moving forward with plans to construct a dedicated bike storage facility for building residents. The property recognizes the demand for convenient bike storage.
Earlier this spring, city officials submitted a request for proposals from businesses interested in operating a bike-sharing system throughout New Orleans. The proposed system will offer affordable access to bikes that would be located at fixed stations throughout the city. In addition to serving the city’s tourism industry, the proposed bike-sharing program is intended to provide an alternative mode of transportation for residents.
Reliable Transit = A Worthwhile Investment for New Orleans
Making the city more walkable and accessible can only bolster the already-thriving Central Business District. By revitalizing and updating the transportation infrastructure of historic neighborhoods, New Orleans is investing in its future; by improving access to neighborhoods of historical value, New Orleans is paying homage to its unique history. How fortunate that a public transit makeover can accomplish both!