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New bike lanes peeling off CBD street

Cycling advocacy group notes they're temporary as city studies new bike lanes

On Baronne Street in the Central Business District on Monday, signs went up telling cyclists where to ride and drivers where to park.

The temporary changes are part of Connect the Crescent, a pilot program between the city and Bike Easy, a cycle advocacy group, as they look for safer ways for bikes and vehicles to share the road.

But just weeks into the three-month program, some of the striping is already coming up and disintegrating.

Dan Favre, Bike Easy’s executive director, spent the morning checking out the markings, which he emphasized are only temporary to begin with.

On Baronne Street, the bike lane has been moved next to the curb and the parking lane is further out in the street, creating a buffer between man and machine.

New Orleans and Louisiana have dubious ratings when it comes to cyclist safety.

A recent survey by The Wall Street Journal found that the state is No. 2 in cyclists deaths. New Orleans ranks No. 6 in term of most dangerous cities to bike in.

“This is the temporary striping and really it’s just like adhesive tape that sticks to the ground, and here you can see there’s some issues with the water,” Favre said of the striping that was peeling off. “So we’ll come in and fix those up.”

The soggy summer hasn’t helped, he said.

“It’s designed to last a few months. But it needs really dry pavement: 24 hours of dry pavement before going down, 24 hours after to stick really well,” he said Monday. “Clearly that’s really hard to come by this time of year in New Orleans.”

In fact, the weather has been so bad recently that the city and Bike Easy had to postpone their first work day on the Connect the Crescent project a few weeks ago when the forecast called for rain.

In the coming weeks, the temporary markings will come off and the permanent ones will be restored. At that point, the city and Bike Easy will try to work out a permanent plan and might include some of the changes introduced during the pilot program.

Cyclists like Katie Iberg are happy to see the changes. She said she hopes they become permanent.

“The protection on the lanes makes me feel safer,” she said.

Danny Monteverde can be reached at danny@wwltv.com.

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