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.
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.
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.