The oldest component of the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is the St. Charles streetcar line. It began in 1835 as a passenger railway between New Orleans and a suburb called Carrollton, which has since been absorbed into the city. The St. Charles line was one of the first passenger railroads in the country, and it remains the oldest continuously operating street railway in the world.
This project is the design of a pedestrian shelter for the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) that celebrates the beginning of the St. Charles Streetcar line at the intersection of Carrollton and Claiborne Avenues. The project envisions a new concept for a shelter made of affordable, replicable pieces that could inform other streetcar stops along the line and that incorporates sustainable technologies and materials while respecting the historic character of the line.
The concept creates a simple form with some visual interest that complements the historic streetcars and provides an amenity to passengers as they are waiting at this location. The design evokes the traditional concept of shelter with its pitched roof, while the triangular shapes provide a dynamic emphasis.
The shelter matches the length of the streetcar, and a lower pitched roof extension overlaps the streetcar top, providing rain protection for those boarding or disembarking. The upper surface unobtrusively houses photovoltaic panels that provide nighttime LED lighting. The Y-shaped steel columns relate to the catenary supports along the streetcar route.
Forms and materials are chosen for durability and low maintenance requirements. The primary construction is of powder-coat finished steel that resists deterioration and vandalism. The roof is metal with two colored translucent panels that complete the roof enclosure. The intention is to create a long-lived structure with an iconic character that also defers to and complements the historic Perley Thomas streetcars.
New Orleans City Councilmember Midura
The New Orleans Regional Transportation Authority
Regional Planning Commission
Federal Transit Administration
Kara Renne of New Orleans RPC
John Schackai of Carrollton Design Review Committee
The New Orleans Historic Districts Landmarks Commission