“The project will significantly improve visual quality along the corridor and will enhance pedestrian and bicycle mobility and safety,” wrote Walter Brooks, executive director of the Regional Planning Commission, which oversees multiple parishes, including Orleans Parish.
The proposed changes include reducing traffic lanes from six nine-foot lanes to four eleven-foot lanes to make room for improvements. Though the number of traffic lanes will be reduced, the new lanes will be wider and the neutral ground will also expand to 15 feet, allowing for protected left turn lanes at select intersections, Brooks wrote.
The construction will take place between South Carrollton Avenue and South Claiborne Avenue.
Brooks said the project is a collaboration between the Department of Transportation and Development and the New Orleans Regional Planning Commission.
Brooks noted the draft environmental document is currently under review by DOTD. After the environmental process, a final public meeting will likely be held in late spring, wrote Brooks.
Brooks said the project will enhance both pedestrian and bicycle safety along Tulane Avenue, noting the new layout also includes designated bike lanes in both directions. Curb bump-outs will help protect pedestrians at major intersections wrote Brooks.
“Providing transportation choices is essential for our transportation network to be an effective asset for the growth of our local economy,” said Jamie Wine, executive director of Bike Easy, a bicycle-advocacy organization in New Orleans. Wine said his organization hopes for separated bike lanes on Tulane Avenue, as they are the safest for bikers.
Brooks wrote after the public meeting, the process will be turned over to the DOTD. After final engineering and design work through DOTD, construction should begin in 2014, he added.
The Tulane Avenue corridor is already seeing business growth. The new Veterans Affairs campus sits along several blocks of Tulane Avenue, the facility is set to open in 2016.
Closer to Carrollton Avenue, Trèo, a craft cocktail lounge, is set to open this summer on Tulane Avenue.