Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s plan to turn several blocks of Bourbon Street into a full-time pedestrian mall as a security measure was dealt a blow Friday by a traffic study commissioned by his administration.When I read this the first time, I thought they meant to close the intersections entirely so that traffic would not even be able to cross Bourbon during the closed hours. But that isn't clear and I'm starting to think, no, they just recommend installing fancier barricades. Also some fancy cameras to make sure the fancy barricades are being used appropriately.
Instead of the round-the-clock closure of Bourbon between Iberville and St. Ann streets that Landrieu’s administration has been calling for as part of a French Quarter-focused security plan, the study by the international consulting firm AECOM recommended only modest tweaks to the existing closures on Bourbon and Royal streets.
The major change the company recommends would add bollards that could keep vehicles from ramming — intentionally or otherwise — into crowds, replacing the relatively flimsy police barricades now in use.
It also suggests the city consider closing Bourbon for more hours each day, while still allowing deliveries to bars, restaurants and other businesses on the internationally known nightlife strip.
Emergency vehicles and trash collectors could also be given keys that would let them move the bollards out of the way if they needed to drive down Bourbon. Surveillance cameras would monitor the intersections to make sure the barriers were being removed only for authorized reasons.Or we could just stick with what we're doing. It's cheaper, less oppressive and every bit as effective against the few incidences of violence that actually occur there.