New Orleans Claiborne Expressway

Past

  • In 1968, the Claiborne Expressway, part of I-10, was built on an elevated structure above Claiborne Avenue. This was the central business corridor of the Treme neighborhood, a historic black and creole neighborhood with roots beginning in the 18th century.
  • The construction of the expressway removed the character of the oak-lined corridor.
  • In the following decade, registered businesses along Claiborne Avenue decreased by 50%.
  • The Treme neighborhood, once a center of jazz and African-American culture, began a steady decline.
  • Cement parking lots replaced the public greenspace underneath the expressway.

Present

  • In 2002, oak trees were symbolically painted on the supports of the I-10 freeway along Claiborne Avenue as part of the communities push for improvements in the area.
  • In 2005, the Claiborne Expressway was damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
  • In 2009, the City of New Orleans completed a Master Plan, which called for removal of the I-10 expressway.
  • In 2010, architects prepared a plan to remove the overhead expressway and restore a walkable boulevard to the Claiborne Avenue corridor. The city continues to study options for removal of the expressway and restoration of a tree-lined, walkable boulevard. The drafted Master Plan is expected to be adopted by the City in coming years.

Future

  • Upon removal of the elevated structure, the master plan calls for improvements to promote walkability and livability.
  • The former street network will be restored, as will the greenspace now occupied by the expressway.
  • The restored Claiborne Avenue will have three traffic lanes in each direction, with full sidewalks, bike paths, and parallel parking to facilitate shopping and walking.
  • The historic traffic circle at St. Bernard and Claiborne Avenue will be restored as a focal point for the neighborhood and the site of a public market.
  • Traffic times are expected to be lengthened by only three to six minutes at peak hours along the corridor.
  • Significant acreage will be available for redevelopment facilitated by the newly walkable and livable corridor.

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