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New Orleans - August 2007

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New Orleans — New Streetcar Line Proposed

Rail Transit Online, August 2007

With the city and the Regional Transportation Authority still struggling to recover from Hurricane Katrina, the Regional Planning Commission (RTC) has proposed building a new streetcar line tentatively named the Loyola loop.  It would serve the Loyola Avenue corridor, which the commission anticipates will undergo massive development in the next few years.  “This is buildable, it's fundable and it's realistic,” commission Executive Director Walter Brooks told the Times-Picayune.  Brooks proposed the project to the RTA board at its July meeting and said the commission would pledge $5 million toward the capital cost, estimated at $30 million, with most of the remainder to come from the federal government. 

The route suggested by the RTC would begin at the existing Canal Street line and run along Elk Place and Loyola Avenue, passing near City Hall, and then swing onto the Union Passenger Terminal grounds.  The track would continue down Howard Avenue to Carondelet Street, switching into the St. Charles line and returning to Canal Street.  The entire alignment would be located in traffic lanes, not on neutral grounds.  Brooks said the loop could be built in two phases but suggested that buses be operated along the route for two years to determine probable ridership.  He also told the RTA board that he was not asking for a binding commitment, only conceptual support that would allow the commission to undertake an environmental assessment; consultant DMJM Harris and a local architectural firm is already advising the commission on the proposal.  Brooks estimated revenue service could start between 2012 and 2014.  RTA board members appeared supportive but said they would need more time to consider the idea. 


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