Less than a year after it installed hundreds of bollards along MacArthur Boulevard to delineate its protected bike lanes, providing bicyclists with an illusion of protection from motor vehicles, Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s administration’s contractors on Thursday removed about 100 of the flexible posts.
In effect, the city merely thinned the collection of reflective flexible posts, leaving hundreds more.
Were it not for contractors leaving the uprooted bollards near where they once were adhered to the concrete, presumably to return at a later date to take them away, passing motorists might not notice this latest modification.
In the Spring of 2021, Cantrell’s administration, in its Moving New Orleans – Bikes program, eliminated two of MacArthur’s four motor vehicle travel lanes in favor of two “protected bike lanes.” Just months later, the administration announced in August 2021 that modifications would be made.
In announcing the bollard removal plan last year, the Cantrell administration said:
Protected Bike Lanes such as those on MacArthur Boulevard use a combination of lateral buffer and vertical separation elements. Commonly used vertical separation elements include flex posts, curbs and vehicle parking to reduce the stressors of on-street bicycling for people of all ages and abilities. The spacing of flex posts and curbs may vary between streets depending on traffic stress. The vertical height of the delineators ensures that buffer remains visible when the roadway is wet or dark and serves as a deterrent to cars entering the bike lane (e.g. driving or parking in the bike lane).In New Orleans the solid white lines and flex posts are commonly accompanied by periodic concrete curbing to reinforce the lane lines. Adjustments will be made to increase the spacing between the flex posts on MacArthur, thereby reducing the overall number of flex posts wherever possible without compromising safety.
In announcing bollard removal, the city said the changes would take place in December 2021. Just days before Christmas, contractors began installing concrete barriers between bollards on MacArthur, working their way east from Holiday Drive.
Then, in early January, contractors removed the protected bike lane in the 4300 and 4400 blocks of MacArthur, giving residents there curbside parking again. The contractors also extended the lane merge that begins at MacArthur on Kabel.
In addition to bollard removal, city-hired contractors applied more lime-green paint to the bike lane areas at Holiday Drive and MacArthur this week.