One of the city’s most restricted arteries just underwent a massive bypass surgery. I am referring, of course to Esplanade Avenue, the thoroughfare connecting Midcity to the French Quarter and Marigny. Built along a naturally elevated ridge once frequented by Native Americans, Espalanade was paved over long ago and painted with two lanes in each direction, each lane wide enough for an anorexic horse. When motorcars were introduced to the city, the lanes were not restriped, and the street was commensurately cramped to hell. In the 1940’s, nuclear weapons were tested on it, reducing its pavement to rubble.
All this changed recently when the street was repaved between Beauregard Circle and Claiborne and striped to be a single traffic lane and a bike lane. This long awaited and well-deserved overhaul was met with great enthusiasm from the city’s bike commuters, and clearly merited a groundbreaking ceremony of sorts. Organizers Peter Duffy Bennet and Bob Evans hosted the Big Bike Lane Break-In on Friday to flood the bike lane and demonstrate its capacity. Doing laps up and down the newly paved stretch, stopping at Canseco’s and various happy hours for drinks, and gathering en masse, cyclists officially sent the message that the lane was in use and major bike traffic was on the way. In order to foster good will and establish responsible practices, Peter and Bob encouraged all riders to stay in the bike lane as much as possible, and obey street signs and traffic signals. This was by far, the most courteous and civilly obedient social/group ride I have ever attended. Way to go, Bob and Peter, great ride.
Yeah You Ride