Newcomb Blvd. residents continue fight for street closure

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wwltv.com

Posted on April 6, 2014 at 1:51 AM

Updated Sunday, Apr 6 at 8:27 AM

Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: jkelley@wwltv.com | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

NEW ORLEANS - Residents on one Uptown street are causing an uproar. Years ago they fenced off one end of Newcomb Boulevard, but a judge later declared that move illegal.

Now residents who want the fence to stay have another chance to keep it.

This rod-iron fence divides two worlds. One the fast-paced university life and the other a quiet, historic Uptown neighborhood on Newcomb Boulevard.

"The street is uniquely designed," said Newcomb Boulevard resident Pratt Provosty. "It spans four city blocks, over a quarter of a mile, It's less than 22 feet wide, there's no turn-offs and there's no cross streets."

Newcomb Boulevard connects two major thoroughfares, Freret Street and St. Charles Avenue. In 2006 the fence was put up at the corner of Freret Street to close the street to traffic.

"The gate was put up for safety reasons because of speeding," said longtime Newcomb Boulevard resident Charlie Gay. "Particularly at this corner, people trying to turn out on a very busy street, Freret."

The driveway to Pratt Provosty's home sits just ten feet from Freret Street and he says taking it down now would only jeopardize his family's safety every time they try to pull out of their driveway.

"We would never live here, we would have never purchased this house if that gate were not up," said Provosty.

Still, several neighbors want the fence taken down once and for all.

"The traffic has to go somewhere and the parking has to go somewhere and it has come to our street," said Audubon Street resident Jennifer Francis.

Keith Hardie has lead the fight to remove the fence. He even filed a lawsuit and he won. The courts ruled the way the city approved the fence was illegal.

"This runs counter to every logical principle of traffic planning," said Hardie. "As the traffic engineers testified in our case, you don't close a street simply on the whim of residents."

Appeal after appeal was denied and then a judge ruled that the fence had to be removed. However, residents on Newcomb Boulevard were not going to give up without a fight and that is when they decided to purchase the street.

"The only way to keep it up is to buy the street, so when we start to try and buy the street and they start opposing that," said Gay. 

Opponents of the fence argue all they want is a solution that benefits everyone.

The city planning staff looked into whether the street should be sold and privatized and recommended that the fence be taken down.

Now the City Planning Commission will take up the issue on Tuesday, April 8.

You can read more on this story from our partners at the UptownMessenger.

 

 

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