Primer for Improved Urban Freight Mobility and Delivery
The French Quarter, one of the oldest neighborhoods in New Orleans, can easily be damaged by the height, width, length and/or weight of a truck or oversize vehicle that is more than 36 feet in length. The streets in the interior of the French Quarter are 22 feet wide. These one way streets have an 8-foot wide parking lane and a 14-foot wide fire lane. A study conducted by the French Quarter Management District (FQMD) found that 90 percent of trucks making deliveries in the French Quarter were shorter than 31 feet in length. However, larger trucks carrying containers to or from the Port of New Orleans would often traverse the neighborhood. The City found that some of these trucks had damaged historic homes, roadway infrastructure, street lights, or other city property.
Oversized truck in French Quarter, New Orleans. Source: French Quarter Management District.
In an effort to prevent damaged infrastructure and traffic congestion, residents in New Orleans' French Quarter pushed the New Orleans City Council to ban or restrict movement of large trucks and buses. In 2014, New Orleans City Council enacted an ordinance prohibiting vehicles 36 feet or more in length from traveling in the French Quarter of the city, except in certain circumstances and only after the city's issuance of a single-use oversized load permit from the Department of Public Works. It also established penalties of $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for subsequent offenses. The ordinance also prohibits trucks from driving or parking on sidewalks or curbs.
Traffic moves past a delivery truck on a street in the French Quarter. Source: 123rf.com.
Local residents first raised the issue and were the primary drivers behind getting the legislation passed. The City Council began working on the law in 2012. The French Quarter Management District, which is a political subdivision of the State of Louisiana, also strongly supported the ban and helped generate additional support with other stakeholders, including local businesses and carriers.
In general, businesses and carriers have been supportive of the ban. During the legislative process, a beer/alcohol distribution company offered to pay for protective bollards to be installed in front of certain historic structures. Although this did not come to fruition, it demonstrated the level of commitment of some businesses operating in the French Quarter.
The city posted signage to notify truck drivers of the ban, and FQMD notified the Port of New Orleans and trucking companies of the ban. However, as late as June 2017, the number of incidents involving large trucks in the French Quarter had not decreased noticeably. In July 2017, the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau began providing the FQMD funding to hire off-duty New Orleans Police Department officers to patrol the French Quarter. The duties of these officers includes issuing citations for violations of the oversize vehicle ban. These officers will help the City collect fines and ultimately improve compliance.
Emily Remington, French Quarter Management District, (504) 323-5801, firstname.lastname@example.org
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration