Several environmental and advocacy groups are working to unite the 9th Ward by improving ways to cross the Industrial Canal. A weekend bike ride highlighted the problem of getting from one side to another with no dedicated bike path.
About 30 cyclists ventured from the Upper 9th Ward across the St. Claude Bridge on a route that ended at Bayou Bienvenue in the Lower 9th.
Anneka Olson is the community education manager for Bike Easy. She says many Lower 9th Ward residents don’t have cars, but need access to the retail and other businesses across the canal in Bywater.
“We would love to see equitable access across the Industrial Canal," Olson says. "We would like to see a safe, dedicated space on the St. Claude Bridge for people to bike and walk and ride transit.”
Alton Coleman is a resident of the Lower 9th Ward, and says his neighbors need some help with transportation.
“Too many of them don’t really ride," he said. "I just have one neighbor that rides.”
Sierra Club spokesman Darryl Malek-Wiley explains his group’s involvement.
“We have traditionally taken people on outings to get out and see things," he said. "So if they don’t know about it they can’t work toward protection or changing policy.”
A coalition called Connect the 9 ultimately wants a dedicated bike path encompassing both sides of the 9th Ward.