Yielding hand-made signs, concerned citizens, cyclists and politicians gathered on Friday, June 10, where the Lafitte Greenway meets North Broad Street to warn drivers of the crosswalk.
This was part of a Safe-Tea event, put on by the Claiborne Corridor Ambassadors, which aims to promote safety on the Lafitte Greenway for cyclists, pedestrians and cars. The greenway stretches from Mid-City through Treme and finishes on Claiborne Avenue. It crosses N. Jefferson Davis Parkway, N. Broad Street and Claiborne Avenue, streets with heavy flows of traffic.
Leonetta Terrell, a Claiborne Ambassador, believes that the heavy flows of traffic have their own set of issues. One of these issues, Terrell says, is the flow of non-locals into the neighborhoods.
“Everyone that is passing on Broad or on Claiborne or Jeff Davis, all of those streets, they don’t live in that area. People who live around here know about the Greenway,” Terrell said. “I think we just need a little bit more signage than what is out there to warn people that there are people that need to cross.”
As biking has become more popular across the city, safety has become a bigger issue for citizens and elected officials alike. Safety requires motorists and cyclists to be aware of one another and both follow traffic laws. Cyclist Amy Leggette is wary of motorists when she’s riding.
“I air on the side of caution,” Leggette said. “I don’t trust anyone.”
During a press conference at the Safe-Tea event, Councilwoman Susan Guidry of District A highlighted the need for safety and cooperation between cyclists and motorists. Guidry used bikers’ and motorists’ ignorance of traffic laws at Galvez and Canal Streets downtown as an example.
“They’re pretending that now that Galvez has been opened up again, even though there’s no sign that says you can do that. A bicyclist did that and someone coming this way [on] Galvez had to screech to a stop,” Guidry said. “I just think that we need to be talking to each other about biking safety and we need to be talking to everyone about vehicular safety on the greenway.”
Biking has become more popular in the city, and the need for safety has become greater. In light of the bikers that have died after being struck by cars, Claiborne Corridor Ambassador Tyrone Smith knows that it is extra important to make the crosswalks along the greenway safe.
“The Lafitte Greenway is so magnificent,” Smith said. “We’re trying to prevent some of the accidents that could happen in New Orleans with the Lafitte Greenway at Broad Street.“