|NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is seeking public comment on the proposed downtown transit center hub locations resulting from an RTA commissioned study, New Orleans Downtown Transit Center Alternatives Analysis.
Interested community members are encouraged to attend the Riders Advisory Committee Meeting on March 4 at 5:30 p.m. to learn more about the project and to provide feedback. The meeting will be held in the board room at the RTA building located at 2817 Canal St. People are also encouraged to provide written comments using the online form by March 11. The RTA will also meet with community stakeholders and conduct direct surveys with riders at Duncan Plaza to gain additional input.
"A downtown bus hub is a necessary step to improving the transit experience and is long overdue. Public input is critical at this point so that RTA can determine a location that best serves riders,” said Laura Bryan, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Transportation. Mayor Cantrell appoints five of the RTA’s nine board members.
The RTA initiated the Downtown Transit Center Alternatives Analysis (Alternatives Analysis) in 2015 to determine locations for a centrally located transit center or similar facility to serve as the system’s primary transfer point and as a major downtown bus stop. The study identified four potential primary sites based on facility design, rider and community input, location, implementation, and RTA service impacts:
- Basin Street – The Basin Street site would occupy up to three blocks of the Basin Street neutral ground, from Canal Street to Conti Street. It was identified as a potential transit center site due to its sufficient size and proximity to Canal Street. The advantages to this site is it has minimal, pedestrian-bus-traffic conflicts, site in public realm, history of transportation use, accommodates current and future needs, ties in with the bike network, flexibility to allow for alternate layouts, allows for an enclosed structure and potential for iconic design.
- Basin-Rampart Hybrid – This alternative combines a version of the two block-layout along Basin Street with the northern half of the layout on Rampart. The advantages to this site is that it has the most flexible design accommodating current, system and future expansion, centrally located: downtown employment, activity and transit, site in public realm, adjacent to Canal Streetcar spine, can accommodate enclosed structure at Basin, and does not impact businesses on lake side of Rampart Street.
- Duncan Plaza – The Duncan Plaza site occupies the space between the park area of Duncan Plaza and the walk of the parking garage that extends between Gravier and Perdido streets. It was identified as a potential transit center site due to its large size, its potential availability, and proximity to major employment sited in downtown. Other advantages identified, it’s near office core, convenient to City Hall, can accommodate enclosed structure, and has Transit Oriented Development potential.
- Rampart Street – The Rampart Street site consists of the block between Canal Street and Common Street, one block south of Basin Street/Elk Place. Advantages of this alternative is that it is centrally located: downtown employment, activity and transit, site in public realm, accommodates current and future needs, and is adjacent to Canal Streetcar spine.
During the course of the Alternatives Analysis, RTA initiated the process that led to the development of its Strategic Mobility Plan (SMP), which was completed in 2018. The SMP provides an in-depth analysis of existing conditions, current service, and community goals and vision for the regional transit system. Work on the Alternatives Analysis was paused to allow completion of the SMP and potential recommendations that may impact the siting and function of a potential downtown transit center. With the completion of the SMP and its follow-up design phase, the New Links comprehensive operational analysis (COA), the Downtown Transit Center Alternatives Analysis report provides documentation of the findings and analysis conducted as part of the Alternatives Analysis to help provide the basis on which to complete the selection process and identify a Locally Preferred Alternative.
The goal of the Alternatives Analysis study was to enable safe, comfortable, and convenient connections between buses and between buses and streetcars, while also providing opportunities for economic growth and community revitalization.
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