Bike-Easy-Tulane-PRC-call-for-more-bike-racks-in-the-French-Quarter

Bike Easy, Tulane PRC call for more bike racks in the French Quarter

Dozens of bicyclists take to the streets of the French Quarter every day in New Orleans. But secure public parking for their bikes is scant, according to a recent report on bike parking from local group Bike Easy.

The report, created with technical assistance from the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC), found that most riders lock their bikes to places other than bike racks, such as sign posts, street lamps and gallery columns. Of the riders surveyed, three out of four said their bicycle was their primary mode of transportation and half said they work in the French Quarter.

The results of the study were released at a March 20 news conference, attended by New Orleans city officials, bike enthusiasts, news outlets and French Quarter business advocates. The event began with a bicycle second-line parade and also announced the installation of three new bike racks on property owned by the French Market District, which hosts music events and festivals and leases spaces to vendors at the historic French Market. The French Market and the French Quarter Business Association joined the Tulane PRC as sponsors of the report.

By installing racks, the French Market is continuing to be a welcoming destination for not only local residents, but tourists as well, said City Council President Jackie Clarkson.

“This is just the beginning and we’re really happy to be a part of it,” said Jamie Wine, executive director of Bike Easy, who said city officials and local businesses are interested in installing more racks throughout the Quarter.

“Providing safe, secure and accessible bike parking is one way that we can not only encourage cycling but also become a healthier New Orleans,” said Kate Parker-Karst, assistant director at the Tulane PRC. “When we make physical activity part of our daily routine, such as biking to work or school or press conferences, we can reduce our risks for chronic diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. … And as we saw this morning, riding a bike is an excellent way to be active.”

Other speakers at the news conference also pointed out the need for a system of bike lanes, shared lanes and bike racks to not only support riders by keep sidewalks clear for pedestrians.

“When we talk about transportation we need to always talk about bicycles and pedestrians and what makes a safe city,” said City Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer, who said she personally enjoys the connectivity of New Orleans’ streets. “There’s nothing better than rounding my kids up on bicycles and hopping on the ferry and coming down to the French Quarter for the day.”

After the news conference, Wine said the Tulane PRC’s practicum program was huge asset to Bike Easy. Isobel Healy, who now works as a program manager for the PRC, performed the study as a Tulane public health graduate student.
“It really helped us expand our capacity,” Wine said about the practicum program. “We’re not set up to do a study on anything really. … From beginning to end, (Isobel) owned that project.”

By Naomi King, Tulane Prevention Research Center

News coverage:
The Times-Picayune
WWL-TV
Vieux Carre Column

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