The City of New Orleans posted this open letter to residents near Tulane University on NOLA.gov Friday:
Dear Neighborhood Leaders and Residents:
Over the course of the last eight months, the City has worked diligently with Tulane University to develop a fair and enforceable agreement that will govern the operations and use of Yulman Stadium. The process began with a series of four community meetings, hosted by Tulane and attended by more than 500 neighbors. The comments logged at these public meetings and at two roundtable discussions with neighborhood association presidents shaped the agreement.
As part of the rigorous review process, the city's planning experts and independent consultants assessed Tulane's design and operations plans. Over the course of the review, Tulane made major enhancements to their plans.
Outlined below is a summary of the agreement and the design changes Tulane has incorporated into their plans.
REDUCING HEIGHT OF THE STADIUM WALL & IMPROVING PRIVACY
We heard neighbors' concerns about the height of the stadium wall facing Audubon Boulevard. As a consequence, Tulane lowered by 25% the height of this wall from 48 feet to 36 feet. Property owners adjacent to the stadium also expressed concerns about privacy. As a consequence, Tulane committed to landscaping and constructing a wall along the property line between the stadium and Audubon Boulevard.
ENHANCING THE SOUND SYSTEM AND REDUCING NOISE
We heard neighbors' concerns about sound. As a consequence, Tulane redesigned the sound system to more efficiently direct sound into the stadium. Tulane also changed the bleacher seating system from aluminum to a more expensive system that features a concrete base, which will significantly reduce noise.
IMPROVING LIGHTING SYSTEM TO BE LESS INTRUSIVE
We heard neighbors' concerns about lighting. As a consequence, Tulane enhanced the stadium's lighting system to reduce spillover onto neighboring properties. The enhanced lighting system features three levels of high-mast lighting to allow for the least intrusive lighting to be used at any given time. Broadcast lighting is the highest level for use during college football games; practice field lighting is a lower level for use during team practices, high school games, club sports and other permitted uses; and, finally janitorial lighting is the lowest level for use when the stadium is being cleaned.
PERMITTED AND NON-PERMITTED USES
We heard neighbors' concerns about how the stadium will be used. As a consequence, this agreement clearly spells out which uses are permitted and which uses are not permitted.
The following uses are permitted:
Pre-existing uses, such as Tulane team practice, Tulane club sports, Tulane band practice, practice site for intercollegiate or professional teams, etc.
Tulane special events, such as Crawfest, commencement, movie night, etc.
Camps, such as camps for kids sponsored by non-profits and other football training camps
Tulane home football games
High school football games
Interior events, such as classes and lectures in the interior spaces
Post regular season intercollegiate football bowl games
General community events consistent with uses on the rest of Tulane's campus, such as speeches from Heads of State, Special Olympics, etc.
Musical performances that are part of a permitted use, such a half time performance at a game, during a commencement ceremony, etc.
The following uses are not permitted:
No rock, country or rap concerts
No more than one high school football game in a calendar week
No high school football games on the same weekend as a Tulane home game
No more than two intercollegiate bowl games in a calendar year
No monster truck shows, super cross events, circuses, rodeos, boat shows, etc.
HOURS OF OPERATIONS & OTHER LIMITATIONS
We heard neighbors' concerns about the hours of operation. As a consequence, the agreement includes limitations on the stadium's hours. On weekdays (Sunday – Thursday), operations will cease no later 10:30 pm. On weekends, operations will cease no later than 10:30 pm for Tulane pre-existing uses, Tulane special events, and camps. On weekends, operations will cease no later than midnight for general community events. (Note: Janitorial lighting will be allowed for 30 minutes after operations end for clean-up activities. After Tulane football games and other major events, janitorial lighting will be allowed for 1.5 hours after operations cease so as to permit cleaning.
To minimize the impact on the surrounding neighborhoods, Tulane can host no more than 10 non-football major events at the stadium in a calendar year.
ENFORCEMENT & STIPULATED DAMAGES
We heard time and time again that this agreement must be enforceable. As a consequence, this agreement clearly spells out stipulated damages that will be assessed by the City if the agreement is breached. If Tulane fails to activate the traffic and parking plan, Tulane will pay $5,000. If Tulane fails to implement the litter abatement plan, Tulane will pay $500 on the first offense, $800 on the second offense, and $1,000 on the third offense. If Tulane fails to turn off the stadium lights within 15 minutes of the closure times spelled out in this agreement, Tulane will pay $500 on the first offense, $800 on the second offense, and $1,000 on the third offense. If at any point in time, Tulane or the City are not honoring the agreement, either party has the right to bring the matter to Civil District Court.
TRAFFIC & PARKING PLANS
We heard neighbors' concerns about traffic and parking. As a consequence, a substantial traffic and parking plan is a part of this agreement. This plan will be triggered by a major event, defined as Tulane home game, other collegiate football games and other events expected to draw more than 2,500 cars. Tulane will incur the cost to employ police officers through the Office of Secondary Employment as well as parking control officers and tow truck operators. The following is a summary of the plan to be implemented once the stadium opens:
Capacity analyses were conducted at major intersections immediately around the proposed stadium site as well as up to 1 ½ miles away near satellite parking areas. The street network operates at acceptable levels-of-service currently and has sufficient capacity for additional traffic contemplated by stadium-generated events.
On-site parking spaces will be provided by Tulane for 1776 cars on the campus site and through their agreement with Loyola University. Another 610 spaces will be provided in walking distance at spaces at Ursuline, Holy Name, and Mc Main. Major events will be triggered by attendance exceeding 2,500 cars which activate off-site lots serviced by shuttles.
As part of their initial plans, Tulane has memorandum of understanding with the following nearby shuttle locations:
University Square: 300 spaces
Ochsner Baptist Hospital garage: 450 spaces
St Mary's Dominican High School: 280 spaces
St. Rita School: 90 spaces
Archdiocese of New Orleans: 50 spaces
Tulane has memorandum of understanding with the following remote shuttle lots:
Ocshner Jefferson Highway Campus: 3240 spaces
Mercedes Benz Superdome: 2856 spaces
Parking passes will be sold along with event tickets online to save attendees from circling blocks looking for spaces. The pass will identify the location of the space and lot from which the patron will walk or shuttle to the stadium.
At Tulane's expense, Parking Control Officers will be on duty in the neighborhoods during major events to enforce legal parking restrictions and ticketing. Up to 15 tow trucks will be available at major events to tow cars illegally parked.
Tulane and the City agree they will not seek an opening of Hickory Street where it meets the Tulane property line so as to allow direct access from Audubon Blvd via Hickory Street to the stadium.
Event Traffic Control
A detail paid for by Tulane will manage bicycles, pedestrians, and cars at locations that cover the major signalized intersections as well as un-signalized intersection that are expected to see an increase in traffic on event days. These locations will be monitored for their effectiveness in managing traffic and will be modified if greater coverage is needed....
The traffic and parking plan contemplates use of barriers to facilitate access for local-traffic-only, and both Tulane and some neighborhood groups and residents have expressed support for this type of restricted access. (Some neighborhoods have also expressed an interest in expanding the boundaries of residential parking zones). Enforceable restrictions for local-parking-only must be enacted through a formal residential parking permit designation (RPP), which would not be enacted under an agreement, but which requires public hearings and councilmanic action. In the coming months, the Office of Neighborhood Engagement, the Council and the Department of Public Works will work with neighborhoods to develop a plan to address restricted access.
LITTER ABATEMENT PLAN
Tulane will incur the cost to employ Tulane sanitation workers to clean up prior to, during and after Tulane home football games and other major events held in the stadium. The areas serviced will include Tulane's campus and off campus areas using the following boundaries:
Freret Street from Broadway to Jefferson Avenue
Maple Street from Broadway to Adams Street
State Street to Broadway between St. Charles Avenue and Claiborne Avenue
At 7 am on game day or the day of a major event, a 30 yard dumpster will be delivered to Plum and Audubon Street for litter collection. Five hours prior to a day game and six hours prior to a night game or a major event, Facilities will place 150 cardboard receptacles for trash collection and 150 recycling containers along the boundaries. Placement will be two receptacles at every corner.
During the four hours leading up to a game or major event, twenty-five Facilities' personnel will monitor on campus and off campus areas for litter abatement. The off campus area will be serviced by 5 teams of 3 persons each as well as two scout trucks patrolling for active sites and emptying receptacles. If an area is deemed to be a high fan or traffic area, additional receptacles will be delivered. Seven persons will be on campus servicing trash and recycling containers as well as taking care of litter.
During the game or major event, the scout trucks will continue to monitor off campus litter and empty receptacles. Remaining personnel will service the campus removing litter and emptying receptacles.
Post-game or major event, 5 teams of 4 persons will remove all trash receptacles off campus. Recycling containers will be emptied and contents brought on a stake body truck to a collection site on Maple Street. Additionally, River Parish will be utilized to do a "clean sweep" of Broadway and Claiborne with a rear loader truck the morning following a game or major event. This will take place at 8:30 am and will be followed by Facilities street sweeper on areas that can be accessed. The 30 yard dumpster will be taken away on Sunday (assuming it is a Saturday home football game) or the day after a major event. There are additional dumpsters on campus should an additional container be needed. All campus dumpsters will be emptied the day before a game or major event.
We heard concerns about drainage issues caused by the stadium. To mitigate the impact on the surrounding neighborhoods, all new sewer, water and drainage connections will tie-in to Tulane's utilities and the practice field will serve as a detention system for the development.
ONGOING COMMUNICATIONS WITH NEIGHBORS
We heard neighbors' concerns about their voices being heard after the agreement is finalized. As a consequence, Tulane will host an annual meeting with neighborhood association presidents from the surrounding community, employ a community liaison, maintain a stadium website (https://tulane.edu/neighbors/) and host two community meetings per calendar year.
When neighbors seek to communicate an issue about the stadium, they may reach out to Tulane's community liaison, who is currently Paul Harang (email@example.com, Direct: 504.988.3394). Neighbors may also register a complaint with the City by calling the 3-1-1 hotline on weekdays between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. Those issues will be routed to the appropriate staff members in the Department of Safety and Permits.
After the first year of operation, the City and Tulane will meet to review and assess compliance with the agreement and the operations of the stadium. This meeting will be informed by comments from meetings with neighborhood association presidents, community meetings and on-going feedback from neighbors throughout the year. There are also procedures for updating the traffic/parking and litter abatement plans on an ongoing basis.
Tulane and the City will post a copy of the agreement, the traffic/ parking plan and the litter abatement plan on their web site. Tulane will host a community meeting in February to answer questions about the process moving forward and what to expect during the construction phase.
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