RTA Mid-City streetcar project has some worried over costs, even discovery of bones

RTA Mid-City streetcar project has some worried over costs

NEW ORLEANS -- Construction is expected to begin next month on a new transit hub in Mid-City.  It's a project that has been in the works for years. From some RTA riders, the upgrades can't come soon enough.

"It's kind of awkward for me because you got cars coming every which way," said Santoria Underwood.

Eyewitness News talked with Underwood shortly after she stepped off the streetcar. She said she is using public transportation because she does not have a car.

And the transfer she makes between the streetcar and the bus hub every day to get to work requires crossing a busy intersection.  That's where she says drivers act like there aren't any crosswalks, or need to yield to pedestrians.

Other riders echoed the same concerns.

"I saw somebody gets hit by a car right here," said Joe Diaz.

And to answer the frustrations of some of those riders, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority is planning to move forward next month with a project to extend the streetcar to the stop across City Park Ave.  That means buses and streetcars making a stop near City Park and Canal will be closer together.

"I had to stand in front of the children to make sure the cars didn't pass, so I think that is a good idea," said Linda Detiege who took her kids on the streetcar tour to see the City.

But, the proposal has drawn protest from Lakeview residents in the past, from costs to displacing green space.

So news of construction coming next month came as a shock to some like Den-A Tiberius, Herb Import Company Owner, a store right at the corner of City Park and Canal.  He says he found out just a few days ago.

"My understanding is they're going to be blocking Canal Street, at my front door, and there will be a u-turn turning people back toward the city," said Tiberius.

Tiberius also told Eyewitness News construction for street cars has pushed customers away before; It happened the last time when they were put back in.

"4 months, if they don't find any bones," Tiberius said. Tiberius pointed out that the area is surrounded by cemeteries.

"If anything collapses if the walls fall on the cemetery it could go much longer, much longer impacting this business to the point of almost closure."

RTA is setting up a public meeting on July 11th to discuss these concerns and more.  The public is invited to attend. It's on July 11, at the Delgado Community College.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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