Quarter residents say large buses, trucks damaging historic neighborhood

Quarter residents say large buses, trucks damaging historic neighborhood

Each day in the French Quarter, residents say large buses and trucks barrel down the historic neighborhood's narrow streets. They often get stuck and leave a trail of damage.

"We have 30 missing lamp posts (in the French Quarter) today, that have been knocked down by vehicles, most of which were oversize vehicles," said resident and French Quarter Management District member Bob Simms.

City law bans buses over 31 feet long from traveling on interior French Quarter streets, but the FQMD says a lack of enforcement allows the problems to continue.

"Our streets are only 20 feet wide and so when (oversized buses and trucks) get to an intersection, they physically cannot turn that corner," said FQMD Infrastructure Committee Chair Gail Cavett.

Cavett said an incident Monday morning should serve as a wake-up call. A container truck overturned at Esplanade and Decatur, crashing into balcony support posts outside a music club.

"The only thing that kept that truck from completely overturning and going through that building, wiping out the building and injuring all the people living up above were the balcony posts," Cavett said.

Warning signs are posted throughout the area, but residents shared numerous photos with FOX 8 that show violation after violation.

Simms said one particular day last year, he counted 77 buses rolling down Dumaine street – a small sampling of an ongoing nuisance, he said.

Drivers could face fines of $500 or more and even jail time for multiple violations, but Cavett said hat doesn't seem to slow them down.

"What's really scary about it is it's such a safety hazard. I mean, imagine this big huge bus on a 20-foot wide street, trying to make these corners, and then you've got pedestrians everywhere on the streets. It's a real recipe for disaster," she said.

On Wednesday, city spokesperson Garnesha Crawford sent this statement:

"To alleviate residents and business owners' concerns over increased bus and truck traffic through the historic French Quarter, the City, in consultation with the French Quarter Management District, is installing more signage to better designate authorized bus and truck routes. In addition, the City's NOLA PATROL program will soon bolster NOPD's traffic control duties and better monitor oversized vehicle travel in the French Quarter."

Copyright 2014 WVUE. All rights reserved.