New Orleans lays tracks, JEDCO issues report, BRAC names speakers
Written by  // Tuesday, 07 July 2015 12:11 //

new-orleans-tourismLouisiana bizzy news for today: New Orleaans laying tracks, Jefferson Parish JEDCO report, Baton Rouge Chamber (BRAC): 

Just a week after the fireworks of the Fourth of July and the entertainment of Essence Fest, the Regional Transit Authority will mark a major milestone in the North Rampart Street/St. Claude Avenue Streetcar Project.

On Sunday (July 12), construction contractor Archer Western and its subcontractors will begin installation of the Half Grand Union, a special section of track that will connect the new North Rampart line to the Canal Street and UPT-Loyola lines. Construction will be a 24-hour, seven-day operation for approximately 30 days.
Motorists, transit riders, pedestrians and bicyclists will be impacted by the construction, which will require lane and intersection closures and changes to some bus and streetcar operations.
According to RTA Rail Expansion Program Manager Martin Pospisil, the timing of the project is by design. “We have planned from the beginning that this part of the project would be in July and August, the time of the year with less major events in the downtown area, so we can minimize the impact of construction,” he said.
A Half-Grand Union already exists at the intersection of Loyola Avenue and Canal Street. That installation, which took place in 2012, required four months to complete. During the design of Rampart Streetcar Project, the project team discovered a way to accelerate the construction process at the intersection of Rampart and Canal Street.
Traffic impacts include the following:
• The northbound (lake bound) traffic on Canal Street will be shifted to a single lane and brought into the southbound (river bound) side of Canal Street at Burgundy intersection. The crossover to bring the traffic back to normal configuration will be placed at Liberty Street. This will result in two-way, single lane vehicular traffic on Canal Street between Burgundy and Liberty streets.
• Canal Street northbound lanes between Burgundy and Basin/Loyola will be closed to traffic. The right turn on Burgundy from Canal Street will be allowed.
• Rampart Street will be closed in both directions between Iberville Street and Canal Street. Iberville Street will remain open.
• Westbound traffic on Rampart Street will be detoured to Bienville and Basin/Loyola streets. Eastbound traffic on O’Keefe Avenue will be rerouted to Common, Loyola/Basin and Conti streets to get back onto Rampart Street.
• Transit riders on the 57, 88 and 91 will follow the same route. Route 57 and 88 will make a U-turn at Elk Place. All bus stops on South Rampart Street between Common Street and Canal Street will be temporarily relocated to Elk Place. An additional stop will be placed at Canal Street at Basin Street.
• Pedestrians and bicyclists will be required to cross Canal Street at either Basin Street or Burgundy Street, then turn back onto North Rampart Street. The sidewalk around the Saenger Theater will be open to pedestrians.
• There will be no streetcar service on the UPT-Loyola Streetcar line, Canal Streetcar-City Park line and Canal Streetcar-Cemeteries lines, and the St. Charles Streetcar line will not operate below Webster Street during the construction period. Bus service will replace the streetcars.

Meanwhile, track construction has been completed on North Rampart Street in the section between St. Philip Street and Orleans Avenue. Work is ongoing from Orleans Avenue to Elysian Fields Avenue requiring lane closures and slow traffic through the construction zone.

The project’s communication team is working with businesses, residents and transit riders to ensure that they have accurate information about the Half-Grand Union construction. RTA’s ambassador team will be on the street the week of July 6 to provide details to transit riders. Brochures in English, Spanish and Vietnamese have been distributed and are also available at www.norta.com. Updates will be available on Twitter at #neworleansrta and #halfgrandunion, and those with questions or concerns may contact the Hotline at 504-577-2668.

The project currently is still on schedule to be completed in the third quarter of 2016.


Dear JEDCO Supporters,  

It is my pleasure to present to you the 2014 Annual Report. It was a privilege to serve as the Chairman of theJEDCO Board of Commissioners in 2014. What an exciting year to be a part of the organization! The theme of the 2014 Annual Report is "Investing in Innovation." Last year, JEDCO worked with businesses spanning a diverse range of industries. Those unique and creative businesses are moving Jefferson Parish forward. JEDCOis also innovative. The organization's team continuously seeks new ways to progress the Jefferson Parish business community.

For instance, JEDCO focused efforts on the Fairfield Vision, a strategic plan to develop over 8,000 acres of green space on the West Bank of Jefferson Parish. Stakeholders want to cultivate the area, which is bounded by U.S. 90 to the north, Bayou Segnette to the east, and the hurricane protection levees on the south and west, into a mixed-use community with a range of housing and commercial opportunities. The Fairfield plan will ensure the development of a distinctive community, which will be attractive to businesses and residents alike.

The Fairfield Vision ties into the overall revival of the West Bank. Community and business leaders identified a need to enhance the strategic offerings available on the west side of the Mississippi River while also reshaping the perceptions of the area. JEDCO works with stakeholders to confront the challenges that face the West Bank while also developing ways to build upon the strengths of this part of the region.

We pride ourselves on our collaboration among elected officials, parish departments, and the business and civic organizations that represent the companies and residents located in Jefferson. With strong community partners, like the Jefferson Chamber, we are able to effect change in our community and develop a stronger, more creative action plan to help Jefferson Parish become the preferred destination for all businesses. We are grateful to work with so many wonderful men and women who have helped shape this area for the better.

As we continue to move forward, I can assure you JEDCO will remain dedicated to our businesses and the community that supports them. Our team will continue to better the economy through the retention and creation of quality jobs, entrepreneurship, and investment. We will focus on furthering the future of Jefferson Parish and the businesses that call it home.  

We have two different versions of the Annual Report available for your viewing. Click here to access the flip-page version. If you prefer to view our report as a PDF, you can click here.

Thank you so much for your continued support.


Greg Jordan


The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today announced that it will host the second of its semiannual Signature Speaker events on Tuesday, September 1 featuring Robert Puentes and presented by HNTB and Taylor Porter. Puentes is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program and director of the program’s Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative, one of the leading infrastructure policy shops in the country. His remarks will focus on sustainable transportation infrastructure solutions. Of the $12 billion backlog of transportation infrastructure projects in Louisiana, more than forty percent are within the nine-parish Capital Region.

“We’re pleased to bring a thought leader of Rob’s caliber into the community at this critical time when our citizenry is contemplating priorities for the next governor,” said Adam Knapp, president and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC). “Quite frankly, if gubernatorial candidates’ platforms do not include specific, actionable transportation infrastructure solutions, they are not worthy of consideration for the office. This issue is that significant.”

At the Signature Speaker event, attendees will hear from Puentes about federal, state, and local approaches to transportation issues.

A nationally-recognized expert, Puentes is a seasoned professional in sustainable infrastructure focusing on transportation, water, and energy. His work focuses on the broad array of policies and issues related to metropolitan growth and development including infrastructure finance, urban planning, growth management, suburban issues, smart cities, and economic development.

At the behest of its board and executive committee this year, BRAC identified transportation infrastructure as a critical area of focus. The region faces significant transportation chokeholds – the result of a combination of rapid growth in recent years and severe underinvestment in transportation planning and infrastructure.

Earlier this year leaders from the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC), Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance (GBRIA), and Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX) announced the formation of a new regional transportation coalition – Capital Region Industry for Sustainable Infrastructure Solutions, or CRISIS – to bring attention to the growing infrastructure challenges facing area businesses and their employees, and to advance a comprehensive approach to arriving at solutions that address both urgent and long-term needs.

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