City Hears Opposition to FQ Traffic Changes

French Quarter residents and business owners expressed opposition Tuesday night to the idea of closing all or parts of Bourbon Street to vehicular traffic.

150 citizens attended a public meeting on the issue at the St. Jude Community Center.

The proposal to bar vehicles from the street is part of the Mayor's plan to enhance security and prevent possible vehicle attacks by terrorists such as the one in Nice, France last year.

Those attending the meeting say a prohibition on traffic on Bourbon Street could cause significant traffic issues throughout the Quarter and impact deliveries to businesses.

"You can't take this 10x13-block area and screw with it more than you already have,” said French Quarter resident Casandra Sharp. “You're creating problems, you're making up problems. The Quarter is filthy, the hands of the police are tied, we have tourists here that are bothered when they go up and down the streets, and all of this is just a charade," Sharp said.

The executive director of the Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates also expressed opposition.  "The implications are far beyond Bourbon, because we're talking about a huge chunk of the streets," said Meg Lousteau.

Officials also heard opposition from French Quarter carrriage operators.

“If the bollards will not go down or if they’re permanent, they will basically put the carriage industry out of business. Every French Quarter tour the carriages provide they have to traverse over Bourbon,” said Malachi Hull with Royal Carriages.

“We would have to go to Canal, we would have to go way down to Ursuline. We do half-hour and hour tours. It's based on the time, it's going to add time and people are going to get less for their money,” said carriage driver Robin Coffey.

Officials say more input will be gathered before a final proposal is advanced.

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