New Orleans has suffered another tragic loss. David Hynes and Sharree Walls were two people who loved New Orleans but were senselessly killed in yet another preventable tragedy on Esplanade Avenue near City Park on March 2 during Mardi Gras weekend. While I didn’t know them personally, I’ve learned much about the loss we all bear from losing two people dedicated to making their communities better places to live. It is past time for us, as one New Orleans community, to ensure this never happens again in our city. Three months into the new year, and we have already lost four people in crashes while they were biking — all of which could have been avoided with the implementation of long-overdue safety measures, such as a network of connected and protected bike lanes.
In my job with Bike Easy advocating for safe and accessible transportation options for all our city’s residents, I preach that safe and affordable mobility is essential for a more equitable society. Part of improving our mobility is ensuring that no matter what mode of transportation — biking, walking, driving or public transit — we feel safe and protected on our journey. Why should we accept anything less, especially when we know it’s achievable and beneficial to our local economy, sustainability, and improved community health?
Protected bike lanes are on or next to the roadway and physically separated from moving motor vehicles. Creating a network of protected bikeways will help solve the mobility challenges everyone faces, even those who will never ride a bike. They dramatically improve the safety and peace of mind for all travelers. They make bicycling — a healthy and affordable connection to jobs and opportunity — more accessible to people of all ages and abilities. With more people biking, we’ll also see less traffic congestion, parking demand and air pollution.
But, of course, for our region to experience all of the impressive benefits of having various mobility options, they must all be safe. I urge you to join us in calling for a complete streets policy that ensures our streets are built to share, along with a network of connected and protected bikeways throughout New Orleans.
Sign our petition at bikeeasy.org to show Mayor LaToya Cantrell your support for acting boldly to deliver on her commitment to creating safe, affordable, and equitable transportation options for everyone in New Orleans.
campaign manager, Bike Easy