New Orleans and evacuating the carless
- Over the last couple of days, I've been reading a fair number of
people complaining (rightly) that there was little or no means of
leaving the New Orleans area without a car and that most of the
people who "stayed behind" did so because they couldn't leave.
Does anyone know if New Orleans RTA made any effort to move its
buses out of the city before Katrina struck? Because it seems to me
1) given adequate warning, as there was here, it's damned stupid to
leave any relatively-expensive piece of PUBLIC property that MOVES
to simply be destroyed by submersion under dirty water.
2) filling up the fuel tanks of the buses before they leave would
allow the buses to get as far away as possible and also leave less
fuel behind in the city to be wasted and pollute the floodwaters.
3) oh, yeah, the buses could be sent out of the city CARRYING
EVACUEES who don't have cars and had no other way out of town!
I can understand to a degree Greyhound, Amtrak, and the airlines not
wanting to send their people and equipment **into** harm's way to
evacuate the city. But using NORTA buses to assist in the pre-
hurricane evacuation would have been sending personnel and equipment
**out** of harm's way.
If this was done, I apologize, but nothing I've read in the last few
days would indicate that NORTA buses were a significant factor in
evacuating New Orleans in advance of the hurricane. That seems like
a failure of basic common sense.
As soon as rescue stage is over in New Orleans, or
even before that, a working group of some sort will be
formed to determine the next steps. Much of this will
involve long-term yet still temporary housing, clean
up, levee repair and physical/mental health.
But,as has been discussed on this list already, it
will also include a longer term plan, so:
We need to assemble a small team of carfree advocates
who will be able to (at least at first) volunteer
their skills, either directly in this group, or more
likely, as advisors to someone on it (most likely an
The small carfree team must be available to be in New
Orleans area (and possibly Washington DC) on a regular
Goals? Well, we seem to know most of them, but one
important strategy is that their methods are
So, do we have a contact to an elected representative
in New Orleans, or thereabouts? It could be to another
elected rep. who is friendly with the N. O. person,
for example,and who is on a same committee in U.S.
House of Represenatives, Louisiana legislature, and so
Finally, a carfree city near New Orleans would be a
second tourist attraction, possibly a "Big Easier".
Todd, Green Idea Factory
Yahoo! Messenger - NEW crystal clear PC to PC calling worldwide with voicemail http://uk.messenger.yahoo.com
- Hi again,
It seems I have a good connection to UITP
(www.uitp.com) and APTA (www.apta.com) which could
help with us with some kind of "lets do things
differently" approach to people and politicians of New
Orleans and surroundings concering carfree cities,
transit-oriented design, etc.
If - as I mentioned already on Carfree Cities -
someone or a couple people have the capacity to be
part of initial outreach and follow-through in
Louisiana and DC then let me know off list.
APTA has a big expo in Dallas in a few weeks.
Todd, Green Idea Factory
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- No, the public transit buses were NOT used to evacuate the non-drivers.
I was monitoring a political website that was following developments in
New Orleans, and someone reported at that the bus system had been shut
down at 6PM Sunday. Just shut down, not used to transport people out of
the city. Furthermore, I saw a news photo of a parking lot full of
school buses submerged up to their windows.
This was just another example of the incredibly bad planning that went
into preparations for the hurricane. If they had used the transit buses
and the school buses to take people out of the city, they would have
saved countless lives and would have dozens, maybe hundreds of intact