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New Orleans Streets Talk Covers the Urban Landscape

A brown-bag session designed around New Orleans streets provided an ideal backdrop to showcase Freese and Nichols’ multidisciplinary approach to helping cities address urgent needs and pursue ambitious goals for enhancing livability.

With the City recently making a push on resiliency projects, water resources engineer Nina Reins, organized the late-June event with a focus on Complete Streets, a design movement that aims to optimize road-sharing by walkers, cyclists, driving commuters and commercial traffic.

The presentations featured Kevin St. Jacques, Transportation Planning, who has a comprehensive background in planning and designing bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Kevin also is a member of the National Complete Streets Coalition Speakers Bureau.

Kevin, a traffic engineer, provided examples of Freese and Nichols roadway projects in Fort Worth, Dallas and other municipalities and led discussions on topics such as switching streets from one-way to two-way (and vice versa) and measuring the impact of changes, including health and environmental benefits.

He covered projects for cities large and small, from Fort Worth to Aledo to Norman, Oklahoma, including road diet designs for Victoria, Texas, and downtown Norman and a recently completed a corridor study for Waco.

Erica Craycraft-Bartlett, Urban Planning and Design, Dallas, addressed urban planning elements of street redesign: finding the right corridors to make more walkable and bikeable, providing resources such as easy-to-use maps and apps, incentivizing ridership, reducing parking requirements and planning for appropriate types of land use along the routes.

Tricia Hatley, Oklahoma Division Manager, discussed innovative low-impact development street planning, including the use of green infrastructure to improve the routing and reuse of stormwater while beautifying streetscapes.

Tricia led one of Freese and Nichols' signature projects: redevelopment of a section of South Lamar Street in south Dallas to create a sustainable roadway with improved drainage, pedestrian amenities and better traffic flow. The corridor will feature new open spaces (rendering shown at top) and an art sculpture garden.
 
New Orleans’ street improvement efforts were described at the brown-bag session by Jennifer Snape, a managing partner of Batture Engineering. The City approved a Complete Streets ordinance in 2011, and a resiliency plan adopted in 2015 calls for improvements in areas including environment and city services.

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