Residents speak out against survey on proposed RTA bus lane along Gen De Gaulle

                People in Algiers reacted Tuesday to RTA's most recent survey and plan for the region's first Bus Rapid Transit.  RTA officials tell WDSU that if the project gets the final green light, it would take about two to three years before implementation.  Officials said a recent survey conducted with about 1,000 people showed most are in favor of the changes.But many in Algiers said they were not contacted.  Gilbert Crowden of Algiers said "With this survey. Only 12 percent of the people who responded are from Algiers. That's unacceptable."RTA said the system would "provide for a more faster reliable bus service."  If implemented along General De Gaulle, one lane would potentially be blocked off to drivers, making it only accessible to buses.  Eric Gordon a lifelong Algiers resident said, "We look at not being able to access the bridge. Taking over lanes. We pay for these lanes with tax money. Did the RTA buy these lanes?"Under the plan, the HOV lanes would also Only allow buses and emergency vehicles.  Possibly cutting off carpooling both to and from the West Bank from the CBD.  "These buses we are seeing, they are mostly empty. So why are we taking away usable lanes for residents for empty buses?"  Gordon said.  Council members also hear concerns.  "People are thinking if you take away a lane of traffic, that hour commute could turn into an hour and a half if not longer. They are also concerned about going to and from school," said Freddie King III, District C Councilmember. Gilbert Crowden with the Tall Timbers Association said it's an overall weariness that stems from yet another project residents of this area feel they had little say about.  "We had an issue with the bike lanes. The residents were not brought to the table. What we are asking the RTA to do is include all of our neighborhoods," Crowden said.  The hope is that all Algiers residents will have a seat at the table.RTA sent WDSU this statement regarding the situation:We're in the planning stage of the region's first Bus Rapid Transit or BRT corridor, and this project will take 2 to 3 years before implementation.  Bus Rapid Transit is a rail-like, premium service that uses dedicated lanes to provide a faster, more reliable bus service.  I like the use of the saying: “think rail, use buses.”Right now, we're choosing our route options for transit-reliant communities in New Orleans East and Algiers, connecting 30,000 plus residents to more than 45,000 jobs downtown.  To offer a historical perspective, a federal grant funded the Crescent City Connection bridge construction.  It was initially built as a 2-way transit lane and operated that way for eight years.  What Bus Rapid Transit would offer riders is a consistent and reliable 10-minute drive to and from Algiers to downtown.  We're talking about doing something that's done before--- converting the HOV back to its original two-way transit lane for buses and emergency vehicles.  We know it would benefit thousands of people in Algiers who rely solely on public transit.  Example: the Cut-Off area of ​​Algiers. We are in talks with DOTD, but it's in the very early stages, and we would like to get more public feedback before making any permanent decisions regarding route options for BRT. We've had an aggressive outreach campaign for this project.  We've met with neighborhood leaders in Algiers, New Orleans East, and Gentilly, as route options are traveling through Gentilly.  We hosted an open house in May and provided an online survey (April and May) where the riders and community members chose potential route options.  More than 1,000 people participated in the survey and what we found was most people willing to accept 5 to 10 minutes of their commute time - if it meant transit riders have an equal or better commute.  We're continuing to initiate community conversations.  But we're also listening to the community and riders outside the urban core who have asked for better and more reliable transit options.  It boils down to providing equal access regardless of how you get around.  We know that more people will use public transit if we provide faster, more reliable transit options.  We encourage folks to offer their feedback.  They can go to norta.com/brt to learn more or email us at brt@forwardrta.org. 
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                <strong class="dateline">NEW ORLEANS —</strong>                                             <p>People in Algiers reacted Tuesday to RTA's most recent survey and plan for the region's first Bus Rapid Transit.  RTA officials tell WDSU that if the project gets the final green light, it would take about two to three years before implementation. 

Officials said a recent survey conducted with about 1,000 people showed most are in favor of the changes.

But many in Algiers said they were not contacted.

Gilbert Crowden of Algiers said “With this survey. Only 12 percent of the people who responded are from Algiers. That’s unacceptable.”

RTA said the system would “provide for a more faster reliable bus service.”

If implemented along General De Gaulle, one lane would potentially be blocked off to drivers, making it only accessible to buses.

Eric Gordon a lifelong Algiers resident said, “We look at not being able to access the bridge. Taking over lanes. We pay for these lanes with tax money. Did the RTA buy these lanes?”

Under the plan, the HOV lanes would also only allow buses and emergency vehicles. Possibly cutting off carpooling both to and from the West Bank from the CBD.

“These buses we are seeing, they are mostly empty. So why are we taking away usable lanes for residents for empty buses?” Gordon said.

Council members also hear concerns.

“People are thinking if you take away a lane of traffic, that hour commute could turn into an hour and a half if not longer. They are also concerned about going to and from school,” said Freddie King III, District C Councilmember.

Gilbert Crowden with the Tall Timbers Association said it’s an overall weariness that stems from yet another project residents of this area feel they had little say about.

“We had an issue with the bike lanes. The residents were not brought to the table. What we are asking the RTA to do is include all of our neighborhoods,” Crowden said.

The hope is that all Algiers residents will have a seat at the table.

RTA sent WDSU this statement regarding the situation:

We’re in the planning stage of the region’s first Bus Rapid Transit or BRT corridor, and this project will take 2 to 3 years before implementation. Bus Rapid Transit is a rail-like, premium service that uses dedicated lanes to provide a faster, more reliable bus service. I like the use of the saying: “think rail, use buses.”

Right now, we’re choosing our route options for transit-reliant communities in New Orleans East and Algiers, connecting 30,000 plus residents to more than 45,000 jobs downtown.

To offer a historical perspective, a federal grant funded the Crescent City Connection bridge construction. It was initially built as a 2-way transit lane and operated that way for eight years. What Bus Rapid Transit would offer riders is a consistent and reliable 10-minute drive to and from Algiers to downtown. We’re talking about doing something that’s done before— converting the HOV back to its original two-way transit lane for buses and emergency vehicles. We know it would benefit thousands of people in Algiers who rely solely on public transit. Example: the Cut-Off area of ​​Algiers.

We are in talks with DOTD, but it’s in the very early stages, and we would like to get more public feedback before making any permanent decisions regarding route options for BRT.

We’ve had an aggressive outreach campaign for this project. We’ve met with neighborhood leaders in Algiers, New Orleans East, and Gentilly, as route options are traveling through Gentilly. We hosted an open house in May and provided an online survey (April and May) where the riders and community members chose potential route options. More than 1,000 people participated in the survey and what we found was most people willing to accept 5 to 10 minutes of their commute time – if it meant transit riders have an equal or better commute.

We’re continuing to initiate community conversations. But we’re also listening to the community and riders outside the urban core who have asked for better and more reliable transit options. It boils down to providing equal access regardless of how you get around.

We know that more people will use public transit if we provide faster, more reliable transit options. We encourage folks to offer their feedback. They can go to norta.com/brt to learn more or email us at brt@forwardrta.org.

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