MacArthur, Newton ‘protected’ bike lanes removed

It’s official. And it’s a wrap.

District C Councilman Freddie King III has confirmed that no work remains to be done on MacArthur Bouleard in response to the City Council’s demand that the protected bike lanes be removed.

While the City Council voted unanimously to ordering Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s administration to restore MacArthur Boulevard to it’s pre-protected bike lane state, what we see is what we’ll get. It falls short of what we expected. But we shouldn’t complain.

The protected bike lane design has been removed on MacArthur through its residential stretch. Curbside parking is restored, and MacArthur has four travel lanes for motor vehicles again.

But the bike lanes and accompanying bollards we see at and around MacArthur’s intersection with Holiday Drive will remain, including the concrete bumps that were installed when the Cantrell administration redesigned the thoroughfare in early 2021 as part of the city’s Moving New Orleans – Bikes program.

Newton Street, where Mayor Cantrell held a press event just over three years ago to cheer the coming of Algiers’ planned bike lane network, has been completely redesigned.  Those, too, have been removed.

While we can say this is a victory for many Algiers residents, we caution you that City Hall still has its sights set on bike lane installation on thoroughfares, including Woodland Drive and Holiday Drive.

Here’s a look at the Newton and MacArthur bike lane removal:

It was May 2020, during the early days of Louisiana’s COVID-19 shutdown, when Mayor Cantrell joined municipal employees on Newton Street to ceremonially cheer what she described as the “pretty historic” day: The expansion of an 11-mile bike lane network in Algiers.

“Launching Moving New Orleans Bike in Algiers, it means we are definitely in the right place as we launch 11 bike paths in 11 different areas throughout the Algiers communities. So it’s very exciting. WOOOO!” the mayor said from behind a lectern her staff set in the street across from the Arthur Monday Multi-Service Center.

Her upbeat assessment was greeted by applause from the city employees who attended the press event. A short while later, wearing a safety vest, Mayor Cantrell used a roller to apply lime-green paint on the street.

Watch her 20-minute-long press event:

Just weeks after the mayor cheered the Algiers bike lanes, Newton Street business owners signed a letter saying they were adversely affected by the new design. They urged her administration to reconsider. Their request when unheeded. Click here to read the Newton Street business owners’ June 2020 letter.

Among the signatories of that letter was Freddie King III. A lawyer in private practice, he was among those Newton Street business owners who complained to City Hall. He later ran for and was elected to the City Council. And his first act in office was take action on Algiers’ bike lanes. He said then and insists still that while campaigning, he constantly heard complaints about bike lanes. And in taking action, he says he is representing his constituents.

Ultimately, the City Council voted to remove 2.2 miles of bike lanes in Algiers, on Newton Street and on MacArthur Boulevard.

More than three years after Mayor Cantrell’s press event in Algiers, the Newton Street bike lanes dismantling began on the morning of July 24. Within weeks, the work to restore Newton Street was complete.

See our slide show for scenes from Newton:

Equipped with a fork lift and a flat-bed truck, a small crew removed concrete bumpers that were interspersed between the reflective bollards that separated the bike lanes from traffic and parking lanes along Newton Street beginning on the morning of July 24.

Then, on the following day, other workers began grinding the bike lane paint, scattering the debris in the gutter. Bollards were removed between Elmira and Pacific avenues; they, too, littered the gutter Tuesday. New spray paint was applied to the roadway, marking the future center line.

By late Wednesday morning, the Newton Street bollard were gone.

Watch our video of the bollards toss:

Newton was to be restored to its pre-Moving New Orleans — Bikes state, meaning cars and bicyclists will share the road.

By Friday (July 28), the “protected” bike lanes were gone. Curbside parking was restored. And contractors working for the city’s Department of Public Works were painting bright lime-green boxes on the roadway surface. “Super sharrows,” they’re called. These symbols inform us that motorists and bicyclists now share Newton Street.

Here’s a video of July 29’s action on Newton Street:

There’ll be no forgetting that motorists and bicyclists share Newton Street. The city’s Department of Public Works is seeing to that, now that it’s removed the “protected” bike lane design.

Over Newton Street’s 16 blocks, from Brooklyn Avenue at the Mississippi River to Behrman Avenue at Federal City, there are 60 of those bright green boxes with white icons inside, called “super sharrows.”

Those symbols remind us that motorists and bicyclists share Newton Street, now that the “protected” bike lane design is gone. Twenty-four super sharrows already were in place on Newton Street previously, between Elmira Avenue and Brooklyn Avenue, when the remaining 1/2 mile of that street had the “protected” bike lane design.

See our Aug. 2 video update on Newton Street:

We’re unable to confirm it, but it appears that the work on Newton Street is done (Aug. 7).


Meanwhile, on Mackie A …

It was Monday (July 31) when workers arrived at MacArthur Boulevard to begin dismantling the ‘protected’ bike lanes along its residential stretch. Concrete bumpers, bollards and street markings were coming up.

See our July 31 video of MacArthur action:

By the end of the day on July 31, almost all the bollards were removed in MacArthur’s residential stretch, from Holiday Drive to Woodland Drive. Workers began grinding away at the pavement paint.

After a days long lull in activity, work resumed on MacArthur on Friday (Aug. 4), focusing on the westbound approach to its intersection at Holiday Drive. The spraypainted layout gives us a sense of what MacArthur will look like after the redesign is complete.

While MacArthur was almost completely stripped of the bollards through the residential stretch (with a handful of stragglers remaining), the bike lanes to the west of Holiday Drive remained untouched on Friday.

A monthlong traffic study conducted by the city in 2019 showed a higher incidence of speeding in this commercial stretch of MacArthur, between Holiday and Gen. de Gaulle Drive. Should the bike lanes remain there? We don’t know. Nor do we know whether those concrete humps in the intersection of MacArthur and Holiday will remain.

Here’s a video report from MacArthur this morning (Aug. 4):

On Monday (Aug. 7), crews returned to MacArthur Boulevard to continue grinding away at the pavement markings that were part of the ‘protected’ bike lane design. The work focused on residential areas between Kabel Drive and Eton Street.

Almost all the bollards have been removed on MacArthur between Holiday and Woodland drives. Some residents park along the curbs, while others still park in the spaces that were designated during the more than two years MacArthur had the ‘protected’ bike lanes. They’ll figure it out. But it appears that in parking against the curbs, MacArthur’s residents and guests no longer risk being harassed by the few more extreme bicyclists.

Here’s a video report from Aug. 7:


Here’s a video report from Aug. 9 and Aug. 10:



And here’s our slide show for scenes from MacArthur:

The City Council in September 2022 unanimously voted in favor of ordering Cantrell’s Department of Public Works to remove 2.2. miles of Algiers bike lanes, most of which involves 1.7 miles of protected bike lanes on MacArthur Boulevard.

The City Council also appropriated $300,000 for the removal.

Mayor Cantrell’s office criticized the appropriation in a statement it released to Verite News, a nonprofit online outlet that published a report on the Newton Street bike lane removal. Click here to read the report.

“With the contractor scheduled to begin removal next week, it is counterproductive to the stated goals of this administration and the Council to spend approximately $300,000 of taxpayer dollars making our roads more dangerous and removing transportation options for our residents,” the mayor’s office told Verite News before the removal began.

The mayor’s office told the news outlet that removing and replacing the Newton and MacArthur bike lanes was expected to take 52 days.


Our Streets NOLA plans to continue providing updates as bike lane removal continues.