A proposal before the New Orleans City Council to convert Newcomb Boulevard into a one-way street was withdrawn Thursday, apparently ending a long-running feud between residents of that street and some of their neighbors on nearby streets.
The request had been introduced by Councilwoman Susan Guidry at the request of Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration.
Newcomb Boulevard has been the subject of controversy since residents erected a fence at the Freret Street end of the four-block-long street in 2006, meaning the only access to, or exit from, the street was at St. Charles Avenue. The fence caused the public street to be treated more like a private thoroughfare, with no through traffic.
The city tore down the blockade in April after the courts ruled it was erected illegally and the City Planning Commission denied a request that would have allowed the street to be sold at auction and officially converted to a private road.
The Newcomb Boulevard Association, a group representing the street’s residents, wanted to buy the street from the city in order to maintain the fence, which the residents said was a “safety device” necessary to prevent speeding. Because the street, which runs between Freret and St. Charles, is not intersected by any other streets and has no stop signs, it was used as a “speedway” by drivers, residents said.
Critics of the fence said it simply increased traffic on other nearby streets.
The ordinance would have made Newcomb one-way, with access only from St. Charles.
Guidry said the change was not her idea and she didn’t have an opinion on it when she submitted the proposal on behalf of the administration.
“Frankly, I can’t tell you how it originated,” Guidry said. “But since then, I’ve been working with residents of Newcomb as well as taking comments from the public, and both the public and residents decided they wanted the two-way.”