Ambassadors for Safe Streets

Lousiana’s

The Livable Claiborne Community Ambassadors program is just what the name says: an opportunity for residents of the Claiborne Avenue corridor to engage with their neighbors on community issues. But it's equally valuable as a transportation safety program, since its focus is giving neighborhood residents a voice in making their neighborhood streets safer for biking and walking.

This memorial was erected for a New Orleans bicyclist who was struck and killed in August 2015 at the intersection of North Broad and Canal Streets.

The Livable Claiborne Community Ambassadors program is just what the name says – an opportunity for residents of the Claiborne Avenue corridor to engage with their neighbors on community issues. But it’s equally valuable as a transportation safety program, since its focus is giving neighborhood residents a voice in making their neighborhood streets safer for biking and walking.

With a $45,400 two-year grant from Foundation for Louisiana, a partnership led by Bike Easy will train ten Claiborne Corridor residents, including some young people, as “Livable Claiborne Community Ambassadors.” In addition to Bike Easy, the partnership includes Friends of Lafitte Corridor and Ride New Orleans, a 2013 TOGETHER grantee.

The Ambassadors concept exemplifies Foundation for Louisiana’s focus on encouraging neighborhood residents to push for policy changes that will improve the quality of life in their own neighborhoods. In 2015, the Ambassadors will first learn some planning fundamentals (for instance, what’s a “bump-out”?) about how street design affects bicycle and pedestrian safety. Then they’ll hit the streets to survey local residents’ perceptions of street safety challenges, focusing on one or two challenging intersections in the neighborhoods they engage.

Using the survey findings and street design principles, the ambassadors and partners will develop ideas to improve street safety. Ultimately, the partners will assemble a how-to “toolkit” that other neighborhoods in New Orleans and beyond can use to replicate the Ambassadors program.

While New Orleans neighborhoods are seeing many changes, not everyone feels a part of the process, explains Bike Easy Executive Director Naomi Doerner. “We have always recognized the need for more citizen engagement in how to make streets safer,” she says. “As a bike advocacy organization, we really rely on input from residents and community members. This funding gives us the ability to empower people on the ground, and they are empowering us as well.”

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