transportation

Eve Abrams

Ten years after New Orleans flooded following Hurricane Katrina, the city has regained roughly 79 percent of its population. But that doesn’t mean it has 79 percent of the same people.

Much has changed about where New Orleanians live, but one of the biggest is that 97,000 fewer black people live in Orleans Parish than before the storm. It’s hard to pin down exactly where everyone went, but you can get a glimpse of why on one particular street corner. Eve Abrams investigats how who gets on the Megabus tells the story of New Orleans’ diaspora.

Jason Saul

You don't realize how much you appreciate traffic lights until you have to drive around a city without any. This week on Katrina: The Debris, getting around New Orleans, during and after the storm.

Public input is sought for an unfinished and litigated expressway extension in south Shreveport that has kept public and private interests at loggerheads for years.

Two public comment meetings were held Thursday by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and local transportation leaders for stage 1 of a seven-step process. It began with a 10-minute slide show that provided a primer on the La. 3132 Inner Loop Expressway Stage 1 Environmental Study.

Louisiana’s $1.6-billion budget hole is doing nothing to help with the state’s $14-billion backlog of road and bridge projects.

“We kicked the can down the road, but we lost it in a pothole. And we can’t get the can out,” says House Transportation chair Karen St. Germain.

So she offered two tax-raising measures to solve the problem. One, HB 778, increases the state’s sales tax by a penny. The other, HB 777, ups the tax on fuel, gasoline and diesel, by ten cents per gallon.

A series of public meetings get underway Wednesday to bring residents of northwest Louisiana up to speed on the status of the interstate 69 project.

The more than 2,600-mile interstate will cut through eight states from Port Huron, Michigan, to Laredo, Texas, gateways to Canada and Mexico. I-69 will clip the corner of Louisiana accounting for 90 miles, according Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker. He is president of I-69 Mid-continent Highway Coalition Inc. and has worked to advance I-69 for more than 20 years.

dhendrix73 / Flickr

Schools are back in session after Mardi Gras break. At one school, many students are adjusting to a change: no more yellow school buses.

When Miller McCoy Academy started back up on Monday, many students who had relied on yellow buses had to find a new way there. That's because the charter school, located in New Orleans East, cut back its bus services. It eliminated several routes and combined others.

The school's board members say the change saves $14,000 a month. They've distributed about 150 bus tokens to students.

Bike Easy

Bike lanes and the number of cyclists are growing steadily around New Orleans, and that means the chance for bike-related accidents is growing, too. Crashes, injuries and fatalities remain high. Lots of drivers aren’t used to so many bikers on the road, and many bikers don’t obey the laws.

There’s a name for this type of confusion and the frustration it causes: Bike Lash.

Nina Feldman has the story on why there's confusion about sharing the road in New Orleans, and what to do about it.

Centenary College's Meadows Museum of Art features a photography retrospective, “Images of Excellence: The O. Winston Link Centennial,” running through Jan. 31. The photographer's son, Shreveport resident W. Conway Link, helped curate the exhibit. It features more than 50 black and white photographs, including three large bodies of Link's work—his Louisiana series, his commercial photography, and his steam locomotive series. Commentator Gary Joiner explains who was O. Winston Link.

A federal judge says she will not stop construction on a new streetcar line in New Orleans while a group sues for more studies of the project.

The New Orleans Advocate reports that District Judge Nannette Brown says plaintiffs did not offer any evidence that the job involves federal money. That's a key requirement for such a lawsuit.

A local bond issue is paying for the $41.5 million North Rampart Street line.

The four candidates for Louisiana governor are set to meet in their first forum of the campaign.

Friday's event in Baton Rouge will focus on transportation issues. Louisiana has a $12 billion backlog of road and bridge work, and no clear plan for resolution.

Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Senator David Vitter — all Republicans — and Democratic state Representative John Bel Edwards will take part.

The forum is sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies.

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