January 2019

Empowering Community in the shadow of New Orleans’ Interstate 10 (I-10)

This session explores the community empowerment that came about in the shadow of New Orleans’ Interstate 10 (I-10) over the historic Claiborne Corridor, and how equity-based engagement changed the ownership of future investment decisions around a highway that destroyed a sacred civic space.

When I-10 was built over Claiborne Avenue in the 1960s, it destroyed the physical heart of New Orleans’ historic African American commercial corridor and cultural center including over 400 live oak trees, most of the area’s businesses, and the value of housing in the neighborhoods that surrounded it.  Since the early actions of local architects in the 1970s, plans have attempted to mitigate the devastating effects of the highway’s construction and use by high-speed traffic and freight to downtown and the Port. Nationally renowned planners and architects supporting the City post-Katrina showed Claiborne Avenue restored and I-10 removed in their plans.  In 2011, the City was awarded an EPA/FHWA jointly funded sustainability grant to study the options.  The session will discuss how an interdisciplinary planning effort through a thoughtful equity lens, that included cultural heritage preservation, innovative public engagement, and integrated scenario planning, enabled the building of partnerships among non-profits, agencies, institutions, and culture bearers for residents to retake ownership of plans for Claiborne’s future use and design.
Date Time Location CM
Wednesday, January 23 10:30 a.m. - 12 noon  County Administration Building
4th Floor Boardroom
14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

Speaker(s) / Instructor(s) Biography

Yolanda Takesian, Associate Planner, Kittelson & Associates, Inc.

Yolanda Takesian is a community planner with Kittelson and Associates, Inc. and an advocate for transit and bicycling in Baltimore. Her work brings people affected by transportation investments into the thinking and decision-making processes of agencies, elected leaders and designers. She enables dialogue within communities to hear from one another, understands differing points of view, learns from communities with similar experiences, and find common ground around needs and opportunities where transportation can be part of the solution.  She leads and advises interdisciplinary teams to creatively respond with data-informed analysis and solutions that have made communities, downtowns and corridors more walkable, bikeable, and transit-supportive. 

Yolanda’s 28 years of experience includes investigating and refining premium transit concepts in support of users and transit-oriented development and orchestrating land-use/multimodal systems plans and strategies. She formerly led project development planning in Maryland’s Department of Transportation’s State Highway Community Design Division. As key staff in Maryland’s early Smart Growth initiatives, Yolanda designed community planning processes, including Maryland State Highway Administration’s “Thinking Beyond the Pavement” approach to project development.  

Couldn't attend this session? Watch the video below: