City of New Orleans Changes Parking Fees and Hours

Finding a parking spot in a dense downtown area is a challenge. In a rainstorm, in a hurry, already late… Often it seems to come down to luck. But maybe the chance of finding a spot can be improved.

Urban planners have studied how parking impacts neighborhoods and communities. And cities have worked to implement solutions. The City of New Orleans recently announced it will be increasing rates for surface parking and expanding times when parkers need to pay for parking in high demand areas.

parking studyWhile a primary goal is to increase city revenue, research in parking behavior indicates that another benefit of increasing parking fees is to increase the parking turnover. Essentially, as parking on the street becomes more expensive, drivers limit their time in any space, and increase parking availability for a finite number of on-street spaces. Additionally, long term parkers adjust their behavior and park further away making closer parking spaces available more frequently for the short-term parker.

Recently, in 2012, TMG prepared a study of best practices for the Urban Land Institute and hosted a forum featuring Professor Donald Schoup of UCLA on how dynamic pricing for on-street parking can increase turnover and improve space availability. In Shoup’s model, parking spaces in high demand have a higher price than parking spaces in low demand and prices adjust throughout the day to reflect the demand. The goal of the Shoup model is to increase turnover in high demand areas/time to ensure that there are always 1-2 parking spaces open at any given time. While higher prices for parking may sound like a bummer for drivers and businesses, Shoup argues it can improve the experience for everyone and help reduce carbon emissions at the same time.
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TMG Promotes Opportunities for Small Businesses in Baton Rouge

Last week, TMG Consulting assisted the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport in hosting its 10th Annual Small Business Opportunities Workshop at L’Auberge Casino. More than 150 participants attended to learn about upcoming projects at the Airport, meet with other City Agencies, and resource agencies available to assist small businesses.

logoBtr02Airport staff from every department was available to discuss future opportunities for a variety of business types, from printers and promotional materials, to IT support and supply, and

Participants learned the ins and outs of the Airport’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program for minority and woman owned businesses as well as the Small Business Enterprise (SBE) program for all small businesses. Through these two programs, the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport works to expand access to small businesses by unbundling large contracts into smaller scopes so that small businesses can bid as the general contractor, or setting disadvantaged business participation goals on projects to encourage prime firms to utilize the services of local, DBE firms.

DBEThe event is a great networking tool for DBE’s to meet with Airport staff, understand the needs of the airport and brainstorm how their business can serve these needs, but it also puts DBE firms face-to-face with the Prime firms that are interested in bidding on the larger contracts bid by the Airport. The Airport’s DBE Consultant, Bonnie Garrigan of TMG Consulting, encourages DBE’s to make relationships with prime firms before the bids are out. “You have to make it easy for prime firms. Introduce yourself, let them know what you can offer them, and when the opportunity exists, they will remember you because they already know you.” Ms. Garrigan offered several strategies to DBE firms to be ready to partner with prime contractors on Airport work, “Attend pre-bid conferences. Understand the project and if possible, prepare a mini quote before the pre-bid to provide to all the prime firms in attendance. Show them you are ready.”

Comments were very positive from the participants, many of whom have attended the event year after year and learn something new each time. Business Opportunities at the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport are advertised on the City Purchasing webpage and in the Advocate.

TMG Now Offering Services from Three Certified Planners!

Bonnie Garrigan, Manager of Economic Analysis, and Tiffany Peperone Pitre, General Counsel, recently achieved the American Institute of Certified Planner (AICP) designation.

AICP is the American Planning Association’s (APA) professional institute, providing recognized leadership nationwide in the certification of professional planners. In order to qualify for AICP designation, Bonnie and Tiffany verified their academic and professional achievements and passed a rigorous, comprehensive examination including essential skills in ethics; plan making and implementation; functional and spatial areas of practice; public participation and social justice; and history, theory and law of the planning profession.

With their newly acquired certifications, TMG Consulting now has three AICP-certified professionals on staff and is poised to offer a full range of services for all our clients with a variety of specialties.

bonnie“With my background in economics and my extensive experience with inclusionary social justice programs and public participation, I am excited to employ my AICP certification to serve clients and project stakeholders with actionable strategic plans and effective facilitation of stakeholder and public meetings.”

Bonnie Garrigan, AICP

tiffany“I have focused my career on land use law and development regulations. As a certified planner, I will be able to incorporate my interest in functional design and provide my clients with a holistic approach to the development process.”

Tiffany Pitre, AICP


suzanne“I perform market assessments and feasibility analyses for major developments across the nation, and my AICP certification has given me the credentials that set me apart from other developer consultants, demonstrating my commitment to the high standards and ethical bar set by the APA.”   

Suzanne Leckert, AICP

Incubating Success

Building Capacity for Minority Social Entrepreneurs in Central City, New Orleans

[The post below has been submitted by Matthew Loftis, former TMG intern, and represents the Executive Summary of the capstone project of seven University of New Orleans Planning and Urban Studies students. All of us at TMG congratulate Matt on his upcoming graduation and wish him all the best in his future endeavors!]

Since Hurricane Katrina, entrepreneurial activity in New Orleans has grown faster than the national average (Plyer, Ortiz, Horwitz, & Hobor, 2013). Nationally, however, there is an overall lack of minority startups that are backed by venture capital (Schmid, 2015). These disparities are evident in New Orleans as well (Walker, 2014). The Foundation for Louisiana (FFL) and Camelback Ventures (Camelback) seek to address this issue through the creation of an empowerment incubator for minority entrepreneurs near the LaSalle St. corridor in Central City, New Orleans.

Incubating Success UNO-PLUS CDF Capstone S15To this end, FFL and Camelback commissioned the UNO-­PLUS Community Development Finance Capstone team to examine the financial feasibility of developing a minority-centered, co-working and incubation space for social entrepreneurs. Over a four-­month period, the team: researched the incubator, accelerator, and co-­working landscape in New Orleans to assess the need for additional incubator space; identified available sites in Central City best suited for the development of an empowerment incubator; proposed designs for each of those sites; examined the financial feasibility of an empowerment incubator on each of those sites; and explored potential partnership structures for a real estate joint venture between FFL and Camelback.

The findings indicate:

  • Demand exists for an empowerment incubator in Central City. Local incubators do not cater specifically to social ventures led by entrepreneurs of color. An empowerment incubator could serve as a hub of entrepreneurial activity, advance minority-­driven social ventures, and act as a welcoming community space for Central City residents.
  • Several sites exist within Central City that can accommodate the project and community needs. The team identified four sites and developed a unique site design for each. The designs allow for easy accessibility, provide ample space for programming needs, and are in compliance with the draft comprehensive zoning ordinance (CZO) of New Orleans. As such, the designs take into account permitted land uses, height restrictions, and parking requirements specific to each location.
  • According to preliminary analyses, the project is financially feasible on all four proposed sites. A review of the project costs, sources of funds, and operating pro forma indicates project operations generate enough revenue to repay capital investment costs and provide financial sustainability for FFL and Camelback.
  • A Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) is the most viable joint venture partnership structure to meet the goals of both FFL and Camelback. LLCs allow the most flexibility in ownership and management arrangements and offer the highest degree of protection to the partners from debt and legal liabilities incurred by the project. This type of partnership structure can also incorporate a master lessor arrangement if FFL and Camelback choose to share management of the incubator or appoint a third-­party manager.

Next Steps:

This project represents a new opportunity and experience for FFL and Camelback. As such, the UNO-­PLUS capstone team suggests FFL and Camelback:

  • Hire a third-­party to conduct a full market analysis to understand the specific demand for an empowerment incubator for minority owned enterprises located in Central City and develop a marketing strategy to reach potential clients.
  • Engage the community to ensure the incubator creates a welcoming and inviting atmosphere and serves community Involving the community in the planning stage can serve to educate residents about the project and allow residents to shape programming and design aspects. It will also help mitigate potential negative impacts of the development on the community.
  • Develop strategic partnerships with existing stakeholders in Central City and throughout New Orleans to provide and support community programming within the incubator.

Read the full report here.

The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

Smoking Ban at Harrah’s New Orleans

City Ordinance Allows for Study of Policy Impact to Gaming Market

On April 22, 2015, a city-wide smoking ban went into effect in New Orleans. Despite protest from its ownership, the ban applies to Louisiana’s only land-based casino, Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel and Casino. Harrah’s, joined by other New Orleans’ businesses, is suing to have the ordinance removed on the basis that they expect to lose significant revenues. This loss, they allege, will consequently hurt local tax revenue collections and potentially cost local jobs as well.

HarrahsGaming facilities are usually reluctant to go smoke-free. When approached by anti-smoking advocates, these facilities indicate they would lose substantial revenues if they shunned smokers. Typically these facilities offer smoking and non-smoking areas to accommodate both types of visitors.

In the Gulf South, only Florida has a state-wide ban on indoor smoking which includes its gaming establishments. However, Florida’s smoking ban does not apply to Native American gaming facilities because these facilities are on sovereign land. Alabama only has Native American casinos, therefore smoking is permitted in all gaming facilities throughout the state. There is no casino-smoking ban in Mississippi; however, one of its many casinos, the Palace Casino, voluntarily went smoke-free.

In Louisiana, there is no statewide smoking ban at gaming facilities. Harrah’s New Orleans competes in a local market which encompasses the New Orleans metro-area, with one racino and two riverboat casinos. However, the recently enacted smoking-ban only affects facilities within Orleans Parish (i.e., Harrah’s and the Churchill Downs’ Fair Grounds Racecourse and Slots). The two riverboat casinos technically operate outside of Orleans Parish, and are thus allowed to operate without prohibiting smoking.

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Project Planning/Getting the License – First and Fast, or Later and Last

Competition for gaming licenses is fierce.  The gaming industry has witnessed licensing battles in Pennsylvania, and those gearing up in Massachusetts and Florida.  With licenses in limited supply, applicants must show why their project is the best.   They have to engage the public and turn public officials into vocal advocates.  Government officials increasingly focus not just on the potential gaming revenues of a project, but on the total impacts of a development on surrounding communities and the state as a whole.

productsNew06AUrban planners and local planning departments exist to review and mitigate these impacts.   Paying early attention to the local planning process can help to head off potential opposition, prevent costly mistakes, and give license applicants a leg up on the competition.  One significant aspect of effective front-end planning is thoughtful and complete review of the zoning and land use issues involved in the project.

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Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport Prevails in Challenge to Public Bid

Court Formally Recognizes TMG’s Knowledge and Experience in Victory for Client

Since 2001, TMG Consulting has administered and monitored the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (DBE) at the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BRMA). One of our responsibilities is to review the bid documents submitted on federal projects to ensure compliance to the DBE Program. In short, did the bidder meet the DBE project goal and/or make Good Faith Efforts (GFEs) to utilize DBE participation?

This month, TMG participated in a hearing on behalf of the BRMA.

BTRRecently, BRMA solicited sealed bid responses for Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Improvements, a drainage and infrastructure project to eliminate potential attractions to wildlife near the airfield. The apparent low bid was contested by another bidder for a number of reasons, including a DBE-related matter. The bidder filed a temporary restraining order and writ of mandamus on the project in Baton Rouge Civil District Court.

Specifically at question was whether the apparent low bidder made adequate Good Faith Efforts to include DBE participation on the bid.

The Judge ruled in favor of the Airport:

(1)   Rejecting the plaintiff’s claims to award the contract to the plaintiff (writ of mandamus); and

(2)   Deeming that the burden of proof required for a permanent restraining order trial was not met, thereby removing the temporary restraining order.

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Baton Rouge Master Planning Process Gets Results

“Reconnecting to the River” and “Plan Baton Rouge” Lead to Significant Improvements Downtown

IMG_7948TMG Consulting’s Bonnie Garrigan and Rachael Bauer were in downtown Baton Rouge last week assisting the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport administer its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program. Savvy planning efforts guided by the “Baton Rouge Riverfront Master Plan: Reconnecting to the River” have led to enormous progress in the city’s downtown.

In 2009 the City-Parish of Baton Rouge, through its Downtown Development District, debuted a new downtown riverfront master plan — a component of Baton Rouge’s comprehensive master plan, “Plan Baton Rouge.” This downtown revitalization implements the comprehensive master plan’s critical themes of establishing a greener, more active downtown, with better access to the river and neighborhoods. The redesigned downtown added over one acre of green space to the downtown area, fulfilling a key component of the City’s master plan recommendations. The redesign particularly focused on pedestrian access and connectivity to cultural and municipal amenities and institutions. This unified downtown plan highlights the important surrounding cultural and civic buildings, including:

  • City Hall
  • River Center Library
  • The Old State Capitol
  • Shaw Center for the Arts
  • Louisiana Art and Science Museum
  • River Center Campus
  • 19th Judicial District Courthouse
  • River Center Theatre for the Performing Arts
  • Two existing downtown hotels

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TMG Tips for a Safe and Smooth Carnival


Visitors and residents alike have already begun flooding the streets of New Orleans for this year’s Carnival season. While we continue to enjoy this annual citywide celebration, this Mardi Gras season presents a unique set of challenges for the city officials who work to plan and protect the events.  Aside from the usual Mardi Gras concerns surrounding transportation and public safety, the 2015 season presents a new issue: ongoing construction along some of the major parade routes.

Intensive drainage projects are currently underway Uptown, which means that major tracts of prime parade-watching neutral ground real estate will be closed off on Napoleon Avenue.  Parade-goers who are accustomed to these locations need to take the neutral ground closures into account and plan on watching the parades at an alternate location. When traveling to and from the parades, note that Louisiana Avenue traffic has been constricted to one lane in each direction from St. Charles Avenue to Claiborne Avenue.

Transportation and parking are always more difficult during Carnival season, and this year public officials are encouraging residents to take public transportation whenever possible. New tools have been made available by the RTA to help individuals plan their routes and schedules with Mardi Gras events taken into account. An updated trip planner and mobile app can be found at

Please note that buses and streetcars stop running two hours before parades begin and recommence after their routes have been cleared. Additionally, the city is offering an expanded schedule for the Algiers-Canal Street ferry. The increased service began Friday, February 6th and will run through Tuesday, February 17th. An additional ferry will be added to the schedule on February 14th and will remain in service until February17th.

The expanded ferry service is detailed below:

Mardi Gras blog with RTM edits_Page_1

While celebrating and moving around the city this Mardi Gras season, be sure to use the tools available to help plan for adjustments to your public transportation options.

Happy Mardi Gras from TMG!

Submitted by:

Matthew Loftis, Intern, Master of Urban & Regional Planning candidate

The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

TMG Partnership Wins Competitive Contract from Zachary Taylor Parkway Commission

TMG Consulting is proud to announce that the firm has been hired by the Zachary Taylor Parkway (ZTP) Commission to assist in updating the Commission’s Master Plan! TMG will serve as a sub-consultant to N-Y Associates, the prime firm on the contract. Urban Systems will also serve as a sub-consultant. The contract was awarded via a competitive public RFP (Request for Proposals) process, with the TMG team selected from over a half-dozen respondents!

ZTP 2As part of a comprehensive Master Plan Update for the Parkway, TMG’s primary responsibilities include gathering data on economic shifts, creating an economic development plan, developing a marketing and communications strategy, and conducting stakeholder and public outreach. N-Y Associates will create a Parkway “vision document,” gather data on demographic and policy shifts, and develop a Disaster Preparedness Plan, while also coordinating the drafting of the final report. Urban Systems will supply traffic and safety analysis to create a Corridor Management Plan. TMG is thrilled to serve the ZTP Commission with such capable partners.

The Zachary Taylor Parkway is a scenic highway that stretches from Alexandria, Louisiana to Poplarville, Mississippi, traversing eight Louisiana Parishes and one Mississippi County. Traveling through it, motorists encounter a diverse mix of small towns, scenic countryside, homegrown businesses, thriving agricultural areas, historic tourist attractions, and magnificent plantations. The team is confident that the Master Plan Update will provide a roadmap for the renewal and growth of this historic corridor.

Congratulations to the entire team, and stay tuned for updates on this exciting project!

The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use