Claiborne Expressway Removal Study

New Orleans, Louisiana

Waggonner & Ball, in collaboration with Smart Mobility, completed a study commissioned by the Claiborne Corridor Improvement Coalition on the effects of removing the 1960s era elevated I-10 expressway over Claiborne Avenue. Waggonner & Ball provided planning and presentation rendering services. The study demonstrates that replacing the elevated expressway with a modern surface boulevard is cost effective and would not significantly affect travel times in the region. Additionally, removal of the expressway would open fifty acres of land in the heart of historic Treme for public neutral grounds, bike paths, transit corridors, future water management, and commercial redevelopment.

 

The report’s findings include:

-           A small fraction of drivers – less than 20 percent – use the Claiborne Expressway as a through route between the east and west portions of the region and beyond. With most through traffic using the I-610, the Claiborne I-10’s “use does not match the intended function of an interstate highway.”

-          The average trip length on the Claiborne Expressway is a mere 1.6 miles, according to the DOT’s regional model, suggesting many drivers use it as a short-cut between nearby neighborhoods.

-          For the minority of users traveling the full length of the elevated expressway over Claiborne, trips would lengthen by two to three minutes (off-peak and peak) under an alternative that would convert the freeway segment between Canal and St. Bernard to a boulevard, according to a review of the region’s travel-demand base model. Under an alternative involving removal of the freeway from Canal to Elysian Fields, travel times would lengthen by 3 to 6 minutes.

-          For the larger number of users connecting to destinations such as Louis Armstrong Park, the French Quarter and downtown, connectivity would improve with a boulevard and improved street connections.

-          Although a highly connected surface street network is a hallmark of the New Orleans system, street closures in the area over the years have actually reduced street connectivity. Removal of the Claiborne Expressway could be a catalyst to reconnect streets such as Galvez across the Pontchartrain Expressway, relieving Claiborne Avenue of its role as a primary connector between uptown and downtown.

-          Traffic on both the Claiborne Expressway and nearby streets are substantially below pre-hurricane levels, “indication that the capacity is available to absorb redistributed traffic” resulting from the freeway’s removal, say the study’s authors.

-          The Claiborne Expressway is not a hurricane evacuation route designated for contra-flow traffic. It serves a role as a collector during times of evacuation but this function could be better served by a surface boulevard.

 

View the complete report here.

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New Orleans regional highway network
Existing elevated expressway
Proposed surface boulevard
Pre-expressway traffic circle at Claiborne and St. Bernard Avenue
Existing & proposed intersection of Claiborne and St. Bernard Avenues
Existing & proposed condition of Claiborne at Ursulines Avenue