The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is spending almost $1 million to create a long-term strategic transit plan for the next 20 years. Called the “Strategic Mobility Plan,” this process is a great opportunity for New Orleans transit riders to win a step-by-step, community-supported process to make our transit system more equitable and more effective. Ride New Orleans is focused on winning a strong, community-supported strategic plan in 2017 and will keep supporters informed at key moments of the process.
The RTA released their draft set of goals and benchmarks for the long-term strategic plan on May 16. The goals are on the right track – so far. There is a strong focus on reliability, improving connections, transparency, and equity.
But there is still a long way to go and just because the goals look acceptable now, there is no guarantee about the ultimate plan.
The draft goals are very big picture and far from a complete plan. This is not a problem – yet. This phase of the process is meant to be very big-picture. But it will be up to transit riders and advocates to pay attention in the next few months and make sure that the RTA adds specific strategies and timelines for accomplishing the well-intentioned goals we see now.
In the next few months, we must finalize goals and benchmarks/objectives, and determine how to accomplish those goals with a set of detailed strategies for both the next few years and into the next two decades. (To better understand what that means, see our analysis). The RTA expects the plan to be completed and approved by the end of the year.
This is the most important time for community input. Transit riders will have their first chance to directly weigh in on these draft goals and objectives at two public meetings in early June:
- June 6: 6 to 8 p.m. UMC Conference Center, Room J, 2000 Canal Street (@ Canal and Galvez)
- June 7: 6 to 8 p.m. MLK Community Center 1042 31st Street, Kenner LA
You can see the detailed draft description of goals here and the basic goals are below:
- Earn Trust
- Be reliable
- Connect to opportunities
- Prioritize the rider experience
- Ensure available, accessible, and affordable mobility
As noted above, we like what we see in general but it’s way too early and these goals are too general to draw strong conclusions beyond that.
We think a very good strategic plan could come out of these goals, but transit riders will have to raise their voices all summer for a plan to create a more reliable, frequent, connected, and regional transit system.
We encourage you to go to public meetings like the ones listed above and weigh in. We want to see a good plan come out of these goals – one that can realistically be implemented. With that in mind, we ask that transit riders focus on the following two points at the meeting, in addition to the points you feel are important:
- Transit needs to be reliable and allow people to get to where they need to go much more quickly and regularly than they currently can. How can we make sure this plan accomplishes that?
- Our economy and our roads don’t stop at the parish line, but our transit system does. We need to break down this invisible wall at the parish border for transit riders. How can we make sure this plan accomplishes that?
For a more detailed analysis of questions the plan needs to answer, please see our April update. We’ll continue to update you on progress and other opportunities to get involved.