Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration intends to move ahead with plans to install a bike lane down Baronne Street in the Central Business District, having so far prevailed in court over a group of business and property owners hoping to block the change.
A spokesman for the Mayor’s Office said Friday the new bike lane will be in place by early December between Canal and Calliope streets.
On Thursday, interim Civil District Court Judge Lynn Luker declined a request from business and property owners seeking a permanent restraining order to halt the city’s plans.
The opponents filed a lawsuit last week claiming the mayor needs City Council approval before installing the lane.
They warned that it would turn Baronne into a “human meat grinder,” with vehicles catching cyclists unaware as drivers speed up near Calliope to get onto the Pontchartrain Expressway.
They also claimed businesses on Baronne would lose customers if one lane of vehicular traffic is eliminated, and that extra congestion would pose a safety risk for the youngsters coming out of the Good Shepherd School — one of the four plaintiffs. The other plaintiffs were Mintz Loft LLC, a developer; property owner Dotan Bonen; and lawyer and business owner Gilbert Andry.
The city has said it will install the bike lane on a trial basis, studying the impact for six months before deciding whether to leave it in place permanently. Along most of the 11-block stretch in question, the bike lane would eliminate one of two lanes now dedicated to traffic, both headed in the uptown direction.
The plan has generated debate both inside and outside of City Hall. Emails surfaced last month showing that the city’s own traffic engineer thought it wasn’t a good idea.
The Landrieu administration argues a new bike lane would be in keeping with the city’s master plan for development and would provide commuters with a safe route to and from the CBD.