So what’s the big idea?
The Lafitte Corridor is the largely derelict strip of land in New Orleans, Louisiana, along the old Norfolk Southern Rail Line from Basin Street to Canal Boulevard next to St. Louis Avenue. Since the 1970′s, planners have suggested turning this space into a public linear park and many residents in the surrounding neighborhoods have supported the idea.
The path of the proposed greenway follows a corridor which has been critical to transportation throughout New Orleans history — first as a waterway and later as a rail line. There is no other direct route between Mid-City and Tremé, the Quarter and the CBD that is publicly-owned and generally undeveloped.
In post-Katrina New Orleans, with land use being re-examined throughout the City, supporters have realized the urgency of putting their idea into action. The long-term vision for the corridor is to develop a trail and park system that spans from the French Quarter to the Cemeteries.
We like to call it a greenway. But what exactly is a greenway, anyhow?
Greenways are linear open spaces along natural or human-made features such as rivers, ridgelines, railroads, canals or roads. they are planned, designed, and managed to connect and to protect ecological, scenic, recreational, and cultural resources….Urban planners are increasingly hoping that connected landscape corridors provide more than recreational opportunities. They are promoting metropolitan greenway networks that help shape urban growth, contribute critical environmental values, and indeed, place economic development and neighborhood revitalization.
— from MetroGreen by Donna Erickson
The term “greenway” is credited to the William Whyte, in his 1968 work, Securing Open Space for Urban America.