Transit Advocate’s Guide: Department of Public Works


New Orleans Department of Public Works

Mission/History
DPW Role
Funding
High-Profile Projects / Policies / Programs
Public Engagement
Reaching DPW
Advice for Advocates

Mission / History

The mission of the Department of Public Works (DPW) is to construct, maintain, and administer transportation elements affecting vehicular, pedestrian, and rail movement within the public right-of-way.  DPW is a department of the City of New Orleans. The Mayor appoints the Director – currently, that seat is filled by Colonel Mark Jernigan.

DPW Role

DPW is responsible for:

  • Traffic design and engineering
  • Maintaining and building streets, roadways and bike lanes
  • Cleaning surface and subsurface storm drains
  • Streetlight maintenance and related services
  • ADA accessibility in the public right of way (typically only at intersections)
  • Parking enforcement / residential parking zones

Funding

Traditional funding sources include:

  • City General Fund – around $18 million annually
  • Bond issuance – on occasion, the City will sell bonds to finance specific public works projects or programs

One-time disaster recovery funding sources:

  • Disaster Recovery Community Development Block Grants
  • FEMA negotiated settlements

High-Profile Projects / Policies / Programs

  • All current projects are posted on the DPW website.
  • Roadway Improvement Projects: $179 million in upcoming FEMA-funded roadway improvement projects have recently been announced. According to a Times Picayune article article from April 13, 2012 the DPW will hire 43 new employees to oversee and administer these projects. The awards as reported by the Times-Picayune are listed below:

1. $14.8 million for Read Blvd East/Viavant-Venetian Isles
2. $12.4 million for St. Anthony
3. $11.4 million for Filmore
4. $8.3 million for West End
5. $6.4 million for Marlyville/Fountainbleau
6. $4.4 million for Mid-City
7. $4.4 million for Treme-Lafitte
8. $2.4 million for Florida
9. $1.2 million for Dillard
10. $2.3 million for Touro/Milan

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plan: In partnership with the Tulane Prevention Research Center, DPW prepared an ADA Transition Plan. This plan identifies barriers to accessibility in the public right of way and creates a schedule for removing them. The draft is available on the DPW website.
  • Complete Streets Policy: In December 2011, the City Council adopted a Complete Streets Policy that mandates that all future roadway improvement projects be designed to be safe, comfortable, and convenient for travel by automobile, foot, bicycle, and transit, regardless of age and ability. The Department of Public Works is responsible for implementing this policy. The policy also called for a Complete Streets Advisory Committee which began meeting in January of 2014.  Ride New Orleans holds one of three community advocate seats on this committee.

Public Engagement

Questions and concerns can be directed to DPW’s Community Outreach Specialist, Cheryn Robles via email or phone: 504-658-8046.

 Other ways that you can provide public input:

  • The Mayor holds budget outreach meetings on an annual basis and residents can advocate for specific projects or programs at these meetings.
  • City Council members can sometimes influence where limited DPW funds are allocated.

Reaching DPW

  • Online: http://www.nola.gov/en/RESIDENTS/Department-Of-Public-Works/
  • Maintenance Division – 838 South Genois St – New Orleans, LA 70119 – (504) 658-8151 – (504) 658-8152
  • Parking Division – 1300 Poydras St; Suite 801 – New Orleans, LA 70112 – (504) 658-8200
  • Engineering Division – City Hall – 1300 Perdido St; RM. 6W03 – New Orleans, LA 70112 (504) 658-8000
  • Traffic Engineering – City Hall – 1300 Perdido St; RM. 6W03 – New Orleans, LA 70112 – (504) 658-8040

Advice for advocates

Neighborhood advocates can expect to have the greatest success in working with DPW
to address to small scale, basic maintenance issues such as streetlight repair, filling
potholes and cleaning storm drains or creating a residential parking district.
Advocacy efforts directed at major capital projects requires a greater commitment
and significant coordination. These types of advocacy efforts could result in securing
dedicated funds for a project and / or impacting the ultimate design of a project.

When launching an advocacy campaign for a major capital project:

  • Demonstrate a need for the project. Gather the revenant data needed to make your case. The agencies and resources listed below are a good starting point:

1. Crash data from the RPC
2. Ridership statistics from the RTA
3. Conduct a complete streets audit, using this resource from AARP as a guide

  • Build support for the project. Get your neighbors on board. Talk with local businesses, churches, and school leaders. Start a letter writing campaign or circulate a petition. Work with your City Council member. Make your case at public meetings of the City Council Transportation
    Raise visibility. Let the media know about your campaign. Write a letter to the editor. Hold an event to raise awareness.