NEW ORLEANS — Last week, the City of New Orleans released data that illustrate the successful implementation of the Slow Streets initiative. That initiative temporarily limited vehicular traffic on a one-mile stretch of Moss Street along Bayou St. John to expand social distancing opportunities for safe recreation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are very encouraged by the numbers that we are seeing from the Slow Streets initiative and will work to find more innovative ways to make our streets safer, our residents healthier, and transportation options more equitable,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “We recognize that this initiative grew out of a need to be responsive to the COVID-19 outbreak and we will continue to engage our residents who might consider similar approaches in their neighborhoods.”
The City implemented the Slow Streets initiative along Bayou St. John from Wednesday, May 6, until Monday, May 18, to provide more room for people to adequately walk, bike and jog while maintaining the required six-foot distance from others. During this time period, traffic on the downtown side of Moss Street was limited to residents, businesses, places of worship and deliveries.
In order to evaluate the success of the initiative, traffic counts were taken along both sides of Bayou St. John prior to and throughout the initiative’s implementation. Based on 24-hour traffic counts conducted, motor vehicle traffic decreased by 47 percent on the downtown side of Moss Street and increased by 8 percent on the City Park side.
Additionally, the City gathered public input through an online survey. The survey resulted in overwhelming support for the project; approximately 87 percent of the total respondents (786) supported the project, while 81 percent of residents (119) on the impacted blocks supported the Slow Streets initiative. About 83 percent of total respondents supported the expansion of this initiative to other locations across the City.
Slow Streets is a collaborative effort between the Department of Public Works, the New Orleans Health Department, and the Mayor’s Office of Transportation. To learn more about the initiative click here.