City Councilwoman Susan Guidry said she will begin studying ways for the city to make the growing Fourth of July festivities on Bayou St. John go more smoothly for attendees, and also announced that the City Council has formed a new committee on bicycle safety following the latest death of a bicyclist.
“We have now put together a Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Advisory Committee,” Council member Susan Guidry said at the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association meeting on Tuesday.
Guidry said that as serving on the Transportation Committee for City Council, she held a meeting about laws pertaining to the roads and bicyclists.
“I did an entire transportation committee meeting about a year ago on the rules of the roads, bicyclists and motorists and it was pretty thorough, we went through all the state laws, all the ordinances,” Guidry said.
According to Guidry the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Advisory Committee will be compromised of members from organizations such as Bike Easy, an organization dedicated to bicycling and transportation access issues, and the Advocacy Center, focused on offering services to seniors and citizens with disabilities. Guidry also mentioned that members from the University of New Orleans will also be on the committee for collecting data.
“We thought about everyone that should be on that committee and we’re going to be looking at safety for bicycles, pedestrians, and of course motorists,” Guidry said.
Guidry said that the growth of bicycle lanes around the city has happened at a fast pace, but there are still areas that need improvement.
“Our bicycle lanes, the number of miles have grown so quickly, and yet there are places like the Broad Street overpass where it’s really not safe,” Guidry said.
“There are good bike lanes leading up to places that then poof. All of a sudden there’s nothing and so as fast as we are putting in bike lanes we have all these issues still.”
Gudiry said she thinks it is exciting that many people are biking around the city, but many still need to be educated on the biking rules as she mentioned that there are bikers who bike on the wrong side of the road.
Guidry urged both bikers and drivers to be aware of each other on the road.
“I just would ask that the people in their cars, start thinking in terms of, it’s not just about cars out there on the road, it’s not just cars and start being more careful,” Guidry said. “And then people on bicycles, not to think it’s okay just to shoot through red lights.”
“It’s your red light as well as motorists’ red light,” Guidry said.
The Bayou on the Fourth of July
Guidry also mentioned that she will be talking with city officials about Bayou St. John being a “destination spot” for the 4th of July and the Krewe of Kolososs boat parade.
“The Krewe of Kolossos, I know that there were a lot of people who enjoyed it, but also there were a lot of issues as a result of it,” Guidry said.
Guidry said that many people have picnicked along the Bayou this year and in previous years while waiting to see the parade in the evening.
“That is something that the Krewe doesn’t feel like they can be responsible for and understandably, it is just a general public coming out,” she said.
Guidry said that she is meeting with city officials next week to discuss plans to make the area a better spot for the festivities.
“I don’t think there is any going back from there, you can’t shoo people off and do what you want to and we need to determine how we’re going to deal with it because there needs to be port-a-lets out there and there needs to be sanitation and pick up,” Guidry said.
“I am bringing that to the administration’s attention so that we can work on it and determine how we are going to deal with it in the future.”
Guidry also announced that the Historic District Landmarks Commission and the Human Relations Commission will hold two public meetings this month to discuss the removal of the four Confederate statues (Robert E. Lee statue, Jefferson Davis statue, PGT Beauregard Equestrian statue and the Battle of Liberty Place Monument Confederate statue).
According to Guidry the HDLC meeting will take place at 1 p.m. and the Human Relations Commission meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on August 13th in the City Council Chambers.
Once the meetings take place, each organization will make a recommendation to the Council and then the Council will made a final decision.
“I really think that it was meant to be a conversation to lead to reconciliation,” Guidry said.
“I think that it was kind of dropped on everybody in a way that made everyone scatter to one corner or another and I think that is unfortunate because I do think it’s a conversation that could bring us all closer to understanding each other.”