“If you look at a flower bud just before it blooms, you see pure energy waiting to burst forth. That’s what I see right now in Fat City.”
–Jennifer Van Vrancken, Jefferson Parish Councilwoman for District 5
The MBDD has been working with Jefferson Parish and LADOTD to install sidewalks, lighting, street furniture and landscaping from Severn Avenue to North Arnoult along 17th, 18th and 19th Streets. These streetscape enhancements will create a more pedestrian friendly environment in this commercial node. Activities to facilitate this transformation include sidewalk widening, landscaping, installation of lighting, and placement of street furniture (trash cans, benches & bike racks). Trashcans and planter boxes are currently being proposed for placement along 18th St between North Arnoult and Division Street. The area along 17th St between North Causeway Blvd and Severn Avenue is also being considered for upgrade in landscaping.
On April 7th, 2016 the MBDD Board hosted the first of two publically held meeting where representatives from Jefferson Parish Planning Department and Tulane Regional Urban Design Center (TRUDC) discussed proposed design guidelines for the Fat City zoning district. Under consideration was a bible of sorts which would contain proposed design recommendations for new or redevelopment projects proposed for the special zoning district in Fat City. If the public decides to move forward with these design guidelines then a committee of architects/business stakeholders would make themselves available to discuss/answer questions about what types of designs they would prefer to see for future development projects in Fat City zoning district. The second meeting has been scheduled to be held at Drago’s Empire Room on June 2nd from 5 PM until 6:30 PM. All interested parties should plan on attending. Please see the calendar for any recent updates.
“Edenborn Avenue Drainage Improvements (18th Street to West Esplanade Ave) will complete the reconstruction of 18Th Street from North Arnoult Rd to Division St. by providing the vital drainage connection from 18th Street to the West Esplanade Avenue Canal. Upon completion, 18th Street should no longer flood during a typical rain event, thereby providing Fat City with an aesthetically pleasing, walkable, and functional main street which will attract economic development.”
—Mark Drewes, Director of Engineering for Jefferson Parish
Bid is attached here.
In 2009 crews rebuilt 18th Street from North Arnoult Road to Division Street, adding new drainage, water and sewer lines, moving telephone and cable television lines underground and installing decorative street lights, wide, colored sidewalks and a new road surface.
The project was expected to top $3.2 million and was expected to take about five months. It started with a need to improve drainage on a street that routinely fills with rainwater but expanded to include aesthetic enhancements that mark the beginning of a broad remaking of Fat City envisioned by parish officials, planners, business leaders and residents.
Improvements along 18th Street to place a pipe from Severn to Edenborn to the Veterans canal have been completed. Jefferson Parish Engineering Department estimates that Phase 2 of the project, which consists of installing piping along Edenborn Avenue from 18th St to West Esplanade, will provide for the removal and replacement of the entire roadway along with sidewalks and driveway aprons within the public right-of-way as necessary.
Over the past several years, the Regional Planning Commission, Jefferson Parish Council, Fat City Advisory Board, Fat City Friends and the MBDD Board have worked diligently to enhance the Severn Avenue Corridor as part of the Metairie Central Business District (CBD). A land use and transportation plan was completed in December 2011 followed by an implementation plan and new zoning requirements in 2010.
In order to enhance pedestrian connectivity, it was agreed that the existing four foot (4′) wide sidewalks should be removed and replaced with eight foot (8′) wide sidewalks and pedestrian lighting on both sides of Severn Avenue for the entire length of the project. A wider sidewalk will provide ample room for pedestrians to pass each other and provide space for street furniture such as benches. Introducing the concept parklets along Severn is an innovative idea to create pedestrian friendly gathering spots. Parklets are planned for up to ten (10) locations where areas of twenty-five feet (25′) by twenty-eight feet (28′) adjacent to the sidewalk would be paved with decorative pavers and outfitted with benches, bike racks, news paper stands, trash receptacles, decorative planters and shrubs. Parklets will serve as pedestrian friendly areas, rest stops or meeting places. These areas could be utilized as transit stops if a bus or trolley system were brought down Severn Avenue. Behind the roadway curb, there is approximately fifteen feet (15′) of right-of-way on the west (Fat City) side and approximately twenty-five feet (25′) of right-of-way on the east (Lakeside Shopping Center) side. With approximately forty feet (40′) right-of-way available, purchase of additional right-of-way is not required to achieve these enhancements.
In order to incorporate bicycle traffic into the corridor, a traffic study was completed along Severn Avenue from Veterans Memorial Boulevard to W. Esplanade Avenue. The existing roadway section generally consists of three (3) travel lanes in each direction and a fifteen foot (15′) wide grass median in the center. The Lakeside Shopping Center parking garages and the intersections of Veterans Memorial Boulevard and W. Esplanade Avenue also have right turn lanes. The traffic study showed that repurposing a motor vehicle lane in each direction for bicycle use would have minimal effect on traffic. Therefore, repurposing one (1) vehicular travel lane into a five foot (5′) bike lane with a two foot (2′) wide buffer from W. Esplanade Avenue to 18th Street was agreed upon by the Stakeholder Advisory Group. See existing and conceptual images of Severn Avenue from W. Esplanade to 18th Street in Figures 1.4 and 1.5 below.
Consultation with Jefferson Parish Engineering after the traffic study was completed resulted in the following proposal. Although the traffic study showed a lane could be repurposed with minimal effect on vehicular traffic, the Stakeholder Advisory Group felt that the safest route for the bicycles should be continued through Fat City- rather than on Severn Avenue – for the section from 18th Street to Veterans Memorial Boulevard because of the heavy traffic and numerous turn lanes for Lakeside Shopping Center. The proposed southbound bicycle route from Severn Avenue towards Veterans Memorial Boulevard would be along 17th Street, N. Arnoult Street, 18th Street, and Division Street in order to cross Veterans Memorial Boulevard with the one-way vehicular traffic at that intersection. A future idea would be to continue with a shared use lane to the future bikeway along the I-10 Service Road. The northbound bicycle traffic is proposed to cross Veterans Memorial Boulevard at Edenborn Avenue where the vehicular traffic is one-way and then continue along 17th Street to Severn Avenue.
Other proposed enhancements for the Severn Avenue Corridor consists of upgraded roadway lighting, median trellises with plantings to screen the large utility poles, paved, colored medallions and gateway markings, such as arches or pylons, at Veterans Memorial Boulevard, 17th Street, and W. Esplanade Avenue to mark these significant entrance points to Severn Avenue and Fat City.