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maddvector 05-27-2007 09:26 AM

Riverfront plans taking shape
Public hears ideas generated by study
Sunday, May 27, 2007
By Bruce Eggler

What might the New Orleans riverfront look like in a few years?

As a team of national and local planners and architects sees it, a "reinvented" east bank riverfront might feature:

-- Unobstructed visual and pedestrian access to the Mississippi River from major arteries such as Canal Street, Poydras Street, Julia Street and Esplanade Avenue.

-- New riverfront parks and thousands of new housing units in the Lower Garden District and Bywater.

-- Broad, terraced steps leading down to the river at the Moonwalk site in the French Quarter.

-- Seven or eight public pavilions along the riverfront.

-- Major design changes at Woldenberg Park and Spanish Plaza.

Those are among the ideas likely to be proposed by the planners working on "Reinventing the Crescent," a more than $500,000 study of ways to redevelop several miles of east bank wharves. The study is being done for the New Orleans Building Corp., a city agency.

Other ideas envisioned by the planners include extending the Riverfront streetcar line upriver to Jackson Avenue and downriver to Poland Avenue, and looping it inland to connect with the St. Charles Avenue line and a proposed St. Claude Avenue line; building a half-dozen pedestrian piers jutting into the river; installing cultural and historical markers along the river; opening up an unused warehouse on the Mandeville Street wharf for public use; and constructing a new hotel at Julia Street.

The planning team, which has been working on the project since early this year, presented its latest ideas to the public Saturday. The meeting was the latest of several at which the planners have sought comments from the general public and from those with a special stake in the riverfront corridor, including neighborhood groups and developers.

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