RTA begins Construction on Cemeteries Transit Center

Harvey Brown

Starting Monday, July 31st, the New Orleans Regional Transportation Authority will begin construction of its Cemeteries Transit Center. The project is funded in part by the Federal Transit Administration.
Construction will affect the City Park Avenue Intersection, where Canal Boulevard and Canal Street cross. RTA anticipates construction to take place until November 27, 2017.

“We finally have the go to take this project,” said Diana Mateo Hernandez, Transdev Public Relations Manager. “It’s an inconvenience, but we’re trying our best to take care of the issue at hand. You’ll be less likely to miss your transfer. It will help us to coordinate our schedules.”

The planned transit center will make it easier for transit users to transfer from the Cemeteries Streetcar line to several buses, including Jefferson Transit E-lines.

The construction will also bring new traffic signals, pedestrian signals, streetcar shelters, and a covered walkway between transfer points.

During the construction sidewalks will remain partially closed and most streets will be closed. For the month of August, RTA said that the downtown-bound Canal Street lane will remain open for the month of August.

The planned construction will also affect pedestrian and vehicle access to nearby businesses.
“It’s important for everyone to know how to navigate through this project,” Hernandez said. “All of the businesses will remain open, and thoroughfare to access the businesses. We’ve reached out to the businesses, sending out mailings about the project.”

Hernandez said the business plan will mirror the process North Rampart businesses went through during the construction of last year’s streetcar line.

Why Now?
“As soon as the track worth was built and all of those ducks were lined up, we said ‘let’s not wait.’ There’s always an excuse: Hurricane season, Mardi Gras, and things that make New Orleans what it is,” Hernandez said. “Somebody was going to be impacted there’s always something going on.”
And if RTA would have left lanes open, it could have delayed the project for months.

“If we installed it bit-by-bit, at the end of the day, you would still have had majored impact to the traffic, detours, backups, and headaches,” Hernandez said.

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