New roads post-storm make New Orleans cycling city

By CAIN BURDEAU | October 12, 2011 | 1:10 PM EDT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — For decades, people in New Orleans complained about a lack of improvements for bicycle riders. But that's changing with push by the city to use Hurricane Katrina recovery money to make the roads more accommodating.

Since 2007, the city has used about $100 million to lay 56 miles of new asphalt on 55 heavily used streets, transforming potholed boulevards into smooth blacktops ideal for bike riding. Under the city's Submerged Roads Program, bike lanes have also been painted on 15 streets, giving the city about 40 miles of bike-friendly pathway.

The city is also poised to spend $7 million in federal aid to turn a wide 3-mile stretch of an abandoned railroad easement between into a greenway.

Ridership has also grown with an 84 percent increase in bike commuters since 2005.