Ride New Orleans Transit Advocacy

Working with Ride New Orleans, Small Center created the report, “Smart Transit for a Strong Economy: Why New Orleans Should Invest in a CBD Transit Hub,” which advocated for the design of a transit-centric public space at critical intersections.

Project Dates

January 2014–May 2014

Context

In the Central Business District, more than 20 regional transit lines converge near Elk Place and Tulane Avenue. These transit stops function as a downtown transit hub for 5,000 transit riders each day, yet the area lacks the basic amenities that could make this a valued community asset and a pleasant space for commuters.

Small Center Engagement

To advocate for the CBD transit hub, Small Center created graphics to show how transit currently works in the city, specific transportation routes, and the critical interchange between transit lines in the CBD. As a way to argue for combining different transit lines at one central location, the graphic illustrated the confusing number of transfers and stops in the area. While Ride New Orleans surveyed riders on their transit experiences, Small Center collected case studies from around the US and historic precedents to advocate for a new transit hub in the CBD. These case studies featured solutions that leveraged funding opportunities and partnerships to make civic investment in public space viable.

Additionally, the report presented key intersections where transfers happen, and reimagined these dangerous intersections as safer spaces for bus and streetcar passengers. The design proposals describe solutions for these particular intersections, and can be used as a larger model for public transit in New Orleans. The report imagines this true hub as an opportunity to express civic pride while creating new, smart development opportunities in a strategic location.

Partner Organization

Ride New Orleans envisions a world-class, multi-modal transportation system that promotes a vibrant, healthy and sustainable New Orleans region. Ride New Orleans enhances the quality of life in the New Orleans region by promoting safe, convenient, and affordable transportation options.

Outcome

Ride New Orleans leveraged the report’s release date by organizing a Day of Action, which involved 200 temporary folding chairs placed at a major bus pick-up / drop-off spot which hosts about 5,000 riders per day but has little infrastructure. The event was attended by New Orleans City Council members Susan Guidry, Kristin Palmer, LaToya Cantrell and James Grey; the Vice President of the organization that services the RTA; and the organizations, Stand with Dignity and the Amalgamated Transit Union Women of Action, and received local media attention. Shortly after the day of action, the RTA Board of Commissioners appropriated funding to lead a planning study for locating a permanent, centralized downtown transit center. Since then, benches have been installed along Elk Place and S. Rampart (the site of the Day of Action) giving waiting transit riders much-needed seating and expanded the sidewalk of the S. Rampart St. in front of a busy bus stop. To view or download the final booklet, please click here.

Collaborators

Ride New Orleans

  • Peter Bennett
  • Megan Bowman
  • Rachel Heiligman
  • Kathleen Onufer
  • Ross Peizer
  • James Riley
  • Jennifer Tarry
  • Zachary Lamb
  • Casey Stanton

Team Members

Project Leads

  • Jonathan Tate (Design Lead)
  • Cordula Roser Gray (Design Lead)
  • Dan Etheridge (Project Manager)

Students

  • Michelle Carroll
  • Kristian Mizes
  • Robert Mosby
  • Kathy Mu
  • Sam Naylor
  • Gavin West

Staff

  • Maurice Cox
  • Maggie Hansen
  • Nick Jenisch
  • Dozenia Marshall
  • Emilie Taylor Welty

Support

  • Ford Foundation
  • Johnson Controls, Inc.
  • Surdna Foundation
  • Metropolitan Opportunities Fund of the Greater New Orleans Foundation

Press and Awards

Ride New Orleans Hosts “Day of Action,” RTA Hosts its Own Press Conference

Gambit

Demo Aims to Improve CBD Transit Hub

NOLA Defender

Ride New Orleans Calls on RTA to Build a Public Transportation Center in the CBD

NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Is a permanent transit hub in the CBD’s Future?

Curbed: New Orleans

Group Says RTA Bus Stops Not Up to Par

WDSU

Demonstration Leads RTA to Reveal Project Plans

New Orleans City Business

Busy Canal Street Bus Stop Lacks Infrastructure for Riders

Gambit

One Year Later: Where Things Stand With The CBD Transit Hub

Ride New Orleans