NEW ORLEANS — Mayor LaToya Cantrell today expressed approval of the City’s partnership with a new local nonprofit organization, Blue Krewe of New Orleans, to bring bike share back to the City of New Orleans. Blue Krewe will ensure a healthy, equitable transportation option established and operated by and for the people of New Orleans. Bike share is a proven transportation solution for New Orleans with many benefits for residents and visitors.
The City Council approved Mayor Cantrell’s proposed cooperative endeavor agreement negotiated with Blue Krewe at today’s meeting.
“This new local partnership with Blue Krewe brings together experience in bike share operations with local knowledge and local passion around our shared goal of operating a successful bike share program in New Orleans. The City is excited to work side-by-side with the Blue Krewe team to bring bike share back to our residents,” said Mayor Cantrell.
The success during the prior bike share program, which ceased operations last March, proved there is significant demand within the New Orleans community for affordable, equitable, active transportation. In the first two years of operations, more than 66,000 riders rode more than a million miles. In 2019 alone, riders took more than 438,000 trips – an increase of 66% over 2018 ridership. Trips by riders in the program’s reduced-fare initiative increased 109% between year one and year two of operations. For many residents, bike share proved to be an essential way for them to get to work and to move safely through the city.
“We have many forward-thinking advocates in this city that have made improving transportation a priority, and the commitment to introducing a new bike-sharing network to our city is a prime example. I want to welcome Blue Krewe, a nonprofit that will invest in our city, rather than their bottom line, and provide our residents with a sustainable, equitable, and affordable transportation option,” said Kristin Gisleson Palmer, City Councilmember for District C and Chair of the Transportation Committee.
Unfortunately, the locally successful Blue Bikes program was subsumed and eventually ended. The City has remained committed to providing a bike share program for residents, and strongly believes that the new nonprofit model will ensure stronger connection to the needs and desires of the local community.
“The Mayor is committed to improving access to bicycling. This started with the Moving New Orleans Bikes work to build out 75 miles of protected bike infrastructure, and continues with this new partnership that improves the structure of our bike share program,” said Laura Bryan, Director, Mayor’s Office of Transportation.
Incubated and supported with start-up funding from the Greater New Orleans Foundation, Blue Krewe has coordinated with Mayor Cantrell and her Office of Transportation to create a partnership that establishes the framework for equitable and sustainable bike share and that compliments the work the City is doing to build out protected bike infrastructure.
“The Greater New Orleans Foundation is proud to have played a critical role in creating, incubating, and supporting Blue Krewe – the new nonprofit that embodies our local values of equity and access,” said Andy Kopplin, President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation. “This nonprofit model represents a best practice that has been successfully used to operate bike share programs in many U.S. cities, including Memphis, Pittsburgh, and Detroit, keeping bike share rooted in – and led by – the communities it serves, and we believe it’s the right model for our region.”
Blue Krewe’s Board of Directors includes board president Dr. Corey Hebert, CEO, College Health TV and Chief Medical Editor of Black News Channel; board vice president Dan Favre, Executive Director of Bike Easy; treasurer Andy Kopplin, CEO and President of the Greater New Orleans Foundation; Destinie Hammond, Communications Manager for the North American Bikeshare Association; and Emily Bahr, Urban Planner and Walking + Biking Evangelist. An ex-officio representative of the City will be appointed to the Blue Krewe board once the CEA is finalized.
The CEO of Blue Krewe is Geoff Coats, who launched and ran the New Orleans bike share operations for Social Bicycles in 2017 and was General Manager of the endeavor until Uber sold the company in 2020.
“Blue Krewe has ambitious goals that will only be accomplished with the support of individuals, businesses, and philanthropists in our community,” said Geoff Coats. “We invite – in fact we implore – everyone in New Orleans who shares our vision of a healthier, active, and more sustainable future for our city to join us in supporting this pioneering effort to relaunch bike share for our community. Individuals can become Founding Members and businesses can learn more about becoming Founding Supporters by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.”
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