Tuesday, April 29, 2008

La Assoc Non-profits town hall meet Wed, May 7, 9 am, LSUS Ballroom

There's still time to register for the
"Many Visions, One Voice" Town Hall Meeting
Wednesday, May 7
9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
LSU-Shreveport Ballroom
Shreveport, LA

Cost: $10 (includes lunch)

The work of leading a nonprofit can be daunting. We are faced with issues about our mission, funding streams, outcomes, capacity and accountability, leaving very little time for the reflection and relationship-building that is necessary for our sector to thrive.

Join us at this summit of area nonprofits to:

Give voice to the issues that affect nonprofits in our community
Share your vision for the future of our nonprofit sector
Build your network of nonprofit leaders
Take action to improve the sector
Please be sure to register for this event online! To register, you must be logged in to your LANO account.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Compost Happens

Find out how at this FREE backyard-composting workshop to be held on the Centenary College campus. We will start a new pile, dispel old myths, and discuss the most common designs for compost bins.

Saturday May 3, 9-11AM
Centenary Community Growing Station

Brought to you by Shreveport Green

Limited space; please RSVP at 219.1888 (ask for Millie)
Handouts & refreshments provided

Some Past Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Awards

Here's what some winners of the EPA's past program awards have done, just to give us an idea of what's possible...

Denver, Colorado

Site visit: date to be determined
Denver's Downtown-Cherry Creek corridor is a significant route for the region. Along it are dense urban neighborhoods, a major employment and retail center, suburban neighborhoods, and commercial strips. Because this route will carry more traffic as the region grows, local officials want to improve the corridor to better connect the region and link transit nodes. By encouraging compact, dense, mixed-use redevelopment of the land along the corridor and the land immediately adjacent to it, the city will help create a more pleasant and inviting walking and biking environment and will expand transit use. Giving people transportation choices besides driving can help reduce air pollution from automobiles. To implement these goals, the city requested SGIA assistance for policy analysis and public participation to explore options to improve the Downtown-Cherry Creek corridor with street design that accommodates automobiles, bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit, and better coordination of land use with transportation.

Support and Partners: Mayor John Hickenlooper and managers of the city of Denver's Community Planning and Development & Public Works Departments.

EPA project manager: Adhir Kackar (202-566-2846, kackar.adhir@epa.gov)

Spokane, Washington

Site visit: Jan. 17-20, 2007
The city of Spokane adopted the University District Master Plan in August 2005. The plan focuses on creating greater bicycle and pedestrian opportunities, encouraging infill development, restoring the Spokane River, and improving accessibility within the district and to adjacent neighborhoods and downtown. The city requested assistance to identify market opportunities for smart growth development in the district, and present policy options that would implement the University District Master Plan.

EPA assembled a team to complete a market analysis of the University District and work with city officials, local leaders, community representatives, and others to explore development opportunities for the Riverpoint campus -- a key development opportunity site in the University District. The team's analysis revealed that there is significant market potential to develop the Riverpoint campus as an urban, pedestrian-friendly place. The team's final report presents the results of the market analysis and identifies policy options for a vibrant and pedestrian-friendly Riverpoint campus.

Funding partner: City of Spokane Economic Development

EPA project manager: Adhir Kackar (202-566-2846, kackar.adhir@epa.gov)
Local contact: Brian Jennings (509-625-6986, bjennings@spokanecity.org), Brownfields Coordinator, City of Spokane Economic Development

Report: Spokane's University District: Policy Options for a New Urban Center (PDF) (41 pp, 1.9 MB)

College Park, Maryland

Site visit: Jan. 19-21, 2006
Residents and local leaders in College Park expressed a vision in the city's 2002 Sector Plan for development along U.S. Route 1 that is walkable and bikeable, lively and functional, that enables a range of businesses (new and existing) to complement one another, and that manages traffic while serving as a gateway to the community and the University of Maryland. However, after four years of implementation efforts, the vision is still not being realized. As part of its response to this situation, the city of College Park requested assistance to understand the disconnect between the vision for the Route 1 corridor and current development and to get the tools to address it.

In response to the city's request, and drawing on best practices from around the country, local data, and the expertise of local residents and professionals, the EPA assistance team worked with local partners to develop options for the city and county to help move the Route 1 corridor toward the vision. The team's report was approved by the city council. Many of the options were discussed with county officials, who have direct influence over site planning.

In the months following the report's approval, the city of College Park implemented two of the key options outlined in the report: preparing a form-based code to better direct the redevelopment of the commercial corridor, and undertaking a transportation demand management study to identify appropriate measures for reducing traffic congestion, including the feasibility of a Route 1 trolley. The city is exploring other elements, such as enhancements to the development process, with county officials.

Funding partners: City of College Park, Prince George's County

Aquidneck Island, Rhode Island

"The EPA team's discussions with town and city planning staff, municipal board and commission members, and the AIPC staff resulted in a consensus that the most useful assistance under this project would be zoning options for mixed-use development and design review. ...The EPA team developed approaches for mixed-use zoning standards, design guidelines, and review processes in three communities, including some options for future growth in specific sites in each community."

Cheyenne, Wyoming

Site visit: May 2-4, 2006
By 2030, the Cheyenne region could have 56,000 new residents. To make sure that growth benefits the entire community, Cheyenne residents have been working together to articulate a vision for growth and development. The result is PLANCHEYENNE, a new comprehensive plan for the region that encourages growth in existing neighborhoods and downtown and promotes new neighborhoods that are built according to smart growth principles. The city requested assistance from EPA to: 1) identify policy options that would implement PlanCheyenne; and 2) illustrate development that would help to achieve the community's goals articulated in PlanCheyenne.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Great Community Garden Tour Yesterday!

At the Highland Garden, it was great to see the various plots of people who'd been participating. Even tried some raw Broccoli Rabb. By golly, there's vitamins in that there earth!
And for six of us bikers, what fun it was yesterday to roll one community garden to the next. (It'd been a year since I'd been my bike, and boy it felt good! Wheee!)

A Chance to Help Our Country!

A friend just forwarded the following e-mail to me:

Urge Your Senators to Cosponsor Complete Streets Take Action!

Legislation that would improve pedestrian and biker safety, increase access to mass transit, and support a healthier environment and lifestyle in communities across the country is under consideration in the Senate. S. 2686, the Complete Streets Act of 2008, introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (IA), would ensure that states consider the safety, interests, and convenience of all users, including drivers, pedestrians, transit users, and bicyclists, in the design and construction of future transportation projects.

You can help by contacting your Senators today and asking them to cosponsor S.2686 because complete streets:

* Promote public health by providing pedestrian and biker friendly streets that encourage physical activity and combat obesity.
* Allow the 33% of Americans who do not drive, including many elderly and low income residents, to have safe access to get to work, school, shops and medical visits, and to take part in social, civic and volunteer activities.
* Reduce our dependency on cars, resulting in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, traffic congestion and costly repairs to our roads.

The streets of our cities and towns should be accessible and safe for people of all ages and levels of mobility. Please contact your Senators today ask them to cosponsor S. 2686, the Complete Streets Act of 2008.

The National Professional Association for Landscape Architects has a site where you can go to send a letter with minimal effort; it's all set up for you.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Meeting Summary and To Do's for Our Bike Clinic

Good meeting today with Charles, Loren, Ian, Maurice, and Sally, again. We talked about various other things in addition to the following, but before summarizing that, I thought I should post the meat and potatoes of the meeting, which was the following:

For our “FREE CLINIC ON GETTING YOUR OLD BIKE ROLLING AGAIN” (or whatever we'd be calling it), here are our tasks and how they've been delegated—or not—so far:

Getting the Word Out:
advertizing via flyers posted in business windows, etc.
> Sally will have a proposed design by next week
advertizing via The Times, Forum, etc.
> someone wanna volunteer?
- advertizing via blogs
> Loren, Robert, Jon Schleuss, and others; Loren will work on a post and contacting Robert and Jon
- email lists
> Sally through South Highlands list
> Loren through Centenary list
> Ian through bike lists
> Maurice and others through their own

Getting Banners and Signs:
using clinic to recruit contributors to this group's efforts for a more bikeable Shreveport, options ranging from "complete streets" with bike lanes, to bike paths along bayous, to levee-top paths, converting narrow bayous to bike paths by capping with drains, etc.

Collecting Funds from ABetterShreveport contributors to pay for the above.

Creating a Formal Organizational Structure that allows funds to be tracked and makes the group accountable for use of funds.

more from today's meeting when I get a chance.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Friday, April 17, meeting at 8:15, Centenary Square...

We'll meet again this Friday at 8:15 at Centenary Square, room 206.

The agenda will be planning for our free clinic on biking for transportation.

We're hoping to do it in one of the parking lots around Steinmart Mall, Guiseppe's, etc, and the idea is that we'd have tents set up by bike shops like RiverCity Cycling, and forums set up for experienced bikers to share tips on bike maintenance, routes to use, techniques for staying clean and presentable, etc.

We'd been talking about how we could promote it with messages such as "May is Bike to Work Month, Are You Ready?" Or, "If you want to bike more to get around and save gas costs, not to mention the exercise and fun of it, come to our free clinic, and we'll show you how."

We should also push forward on the EPA proposal. Given Sharron's recent comment, I'm beginning to see getting policies implemented as key part of the proposal. I might invite to our meeting leaders of some of other non-profit groups (in addition to the Highland Area Partnership who's already on board) that could join us submitting the application, though if they can't make it, we'd set up a separate meeting. Most of the rest of the EPA work at this point is stuff I can probably tackle on my own, but I'll keep everyone apprised of where it is in the process. Not sure the pieces will come together, but it's worth a try.

Anyway, Friday at 8:15, we work on the clinic, and maybe more on routes and styles of bike paths to propose to EPA.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Sally and I were trying to think about a name for it, but in it would be a way of getting people out on their bikes in a formum where it's acceptable to be on a bike and not seem like an alien.

The event would be a free bike maintenance clinic to get people ready for May's Bike to Work month.

We'd publicize the fact that bicycle professionals will be on hand in the Guiseppi's parking lot on some Saturday to serve people who bike (or drive?!) their bikes to the site.

We'd like to do that soon, obviously.

Anyone who wants to help, please come to the next meeting!

Barely edited notes from last meeting... though "barely's" not nothing!

Ian Webb, Maurice Loridans, Sally Spruel, Jon Soul, Charles Gerrard, and Loren Demerath in attendance.

IW: making certain streets free of parking
make bike paths, have designated parking, and have complete streets with bike lanes
IW, ML, ML, SS: “i'd be in favor of that”
ML, SS: publicizing certain routes minimizes need for more intentional paths and lanes.
SS: many will be sick to stomach cuz of worries of crime...
JW: statistically, property values go up and crime down.
IW: can take control (in virginia claimed territory from homeless people to make it more public)
IW: pinchpoints and chicanes to calm traffic
SS: i can't go west or east... trapped between fast cars, and now possibly criminals on the bike path?
IW: actual bike path route is on fern side
SS: at least consider traffic calming and complete street format on Gilbert
ML: can do that; if you go to a City Council meeting and speak; everyone gets a few minutes of floor time; can say, “
SS: struck by small area we're talking about; cargill's the most used park need to get ther; analogy for fear aspect is allies, which we've for the most part dismanteled, some parts of city still have them
IW: Providence is putting in allies

SS: need a meaningful network of routes we can use to go places we'd go to anyway.
IW: a wider one could handle both lanes, cinders are better, parks and shopping and schools, we should look at safe routes to school; our society will tend to be uncomfortable with kids going to school alone... saferoutespartnership.org
ML: price per gallon will make people more accepting of walking with kids.
IW: not true; i haven't sold more bikes
ML: could be a threshhold effect
ML: crossing from Broadmore to Centenary, it's tough but a crossing would help by Beverly
LD: one possibility is small things that like the bikable streets

[Later, returning to this: IW: ped/bike crossings over bayous]

All talk about routes to Southfield/Steinmart Mall, Cuban Liquor, etc.
ML: it's o.k. to use lanes where the speed differential is high, as you move into rural areas (the article he sent shows that) but elsewhere it teaches bikes don't belong elsewhere
IW: we're responsible for our own safety; mirrors on glasses (ML displayed his); when I bike with my trailer with it's flag for carrying kids, cars avoid me like the plague);
LD: higher standard for new techs'; vs. our seatbelts and air bags in cars, spee limits, etc.; bikes aren't going to be without responsible use either.
SS: I tried to get a green bike at Regions bank... do we have people in city government thinking about this? taking charge of this?
ML: city ordinances should account for green bike parking, etc. Tim Wachtel put bike parking outside city offices
IW: Tim is hoping we create a groundswell of support for this. My conversations with Tim have been starting a non-profit or something, maybe this group, for doing things that would show our effectiveness and presence that would build a track record of success and reputation.
SS: We could get a whole bunch of people who own those businesses and facilitate bike racks and walking paths? that would allow us publicize something like “Walking to Wine on Wednesdays”
SS: Ian, you could help... you help me get a bike with a trailor, and I'll use it.
IW: May is bike to work month.
ML: there is a ... in Victoria Canada there's a bike coop; can go and use their tools; targetting the night ninja types that--

IW: could target the area we're going to use... post signs, circulate flyers in mailboxes, etc.
LD: next week we continue planning for this project? in addition to working on application for the EPA Smart Growth Implementation Assistance program?
ALL: Yes.
(brief talk re: gladstone area partnership's success sets precedence for success and grant apps elsewhere...)

Notes from last week's meeting...

Ian Webb, Maurice Loridans, Charles Gerrard, and Loren Demerath, in attendence.

Someone had brought up the fact that like the bike path north of 70th has become so overgrown it was barely 10 inches across most of the way. It was said that when you make a new thing, you've got to maintain it.

Perhaps you're going to get litter etc., but like anything, you have to maintain it. So you have to sweep the streets, for example. CG said the best example of neglect is veteran's park off clyde fant.

[Contemplating that now, I'd echo Charles to say maintaining any facility is like keeping garden. After you plant it, you've to water it, weed it, etc. So if we want the harvest, we've got to tend it.]

Maurice talked about how segregating cyclists can socialize drivers to believe that cyclists don't belong on a road that doesn't have bike lanes. He mentioned Sheila, Micheal Parker's spouse, both of Portland, who'd described color-coded routes for bikes indicating different uses, styles, etc.

Loren said he thought collaborating on maps was a great way to increase the awareness of cycling's possibility in Shreveport. It would apply to walking as well, when one person's favorite walks can be described and shared with others in the community who may not have even known anyone else walked that route. Sharing local, intimate knowledge of alternative transportation routes can be fun.

Someone said:

Loren said levees seem less than optimal for walkers and slow goers; boring cuz strait, a bit narrow, but pretty good for bikers, much better than nothing, even preferrable for road bikers on timetrail bars crusing for speed. Not preferable to streets in neighborhoods says ML; yes prefferable to streets say IW; L said yes, citing the neighborhood to the west of the levee on Shreve Island. But Ian got agreement from Maurice and Loren when he said: “all trails are good; but some are better than others, and are appreciated differently depending on kinds of users.”

Maurice: was in Bellingham, WA w/ sis-in-law; south of bay is trail you get to Fairhaven, one of best farmmer's markets; clear plastic roofs, one wall painted white, they show movies Saturday night (Chris Jay! Robinson at the F. Market! All day into the evening market?) All along the way you can pick black berries w/ beautiful view.

C: Youree Drive is the ugliest road in the world... doesn't have to be, if you imagine trees, etc...
ML: cyclists can't be crossing roadways all the time; bike trails intersecting with roads are extrmly dngers, cars aren't looking for people crossing by on trails. e.g., Navare Beach in Fla., where driveways abutt the trail, can't let your kids go on it cuz drivers aren't looking.

ML: light timing made sense pre49, now olive's terrible
too much up and down on olive, and line; highland and creswell N/S and herndon, dalzel, boulevard E/W

IW: establishing expectations and norms for bikers' presence through the bike lanes alone, use aside; don't need to see bikers to imagine and expect bikers.
You're going to get litter etc., so you have to sweep the streets.
CG: best e.g., of neglect is vet park

IW: cool stuff to do just in highland.
IW: even if we just take two streets, e.g., creswell and herndon (for slope and ease of biking olive, highland after...)

ML: highland is just fine for biking right now, and the bayous don't have any underpasses that are tall enough for cyclist to use to pass under.
IW: the bikers who aren't

3 cyclists killed last year in Shreveport, all in one month....

(ML on summer biking:) on a hot summer with the wind, you'll sweat, but you've got the tail wind pushing you

IW and ML: maybe we need a PR campaign, and just use the roads...
ML: the maps sheila was talking about, color coding different kinds of trails...
ML: i;d like to connect some things: thornhillgoing thrpough subdiv south of mccormiick

ML: victoria british columbia impressed me with densely pop'd condo's from which people use public transportation or “side paths” or “a grade spearated bikeway” the engineers would say.

Arkansas canoe club is much bigger than the Ozark Society; they thought of tesarkana as a site for a whitewater club. In Rockport, AR...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Excellect meeting Friday morning meeting. had 2 new attenders, and we talked about routes and models

I'll post my summary/minutes of the meeting as soon as I get the laptop up again, but let me say I just had a good conversation with Sharon Swanson again, who helped me better understand a point she'd making with me via e-mail: one thing we need to do at least alongside the specific project development is push the likelihood of success for such a project in the direction any EPA advisors, or funders would want. One of the conditions of the EPA's grant is that the community has already shown a commitment to smart growth. Putting in place the standards Sharron mentions below would help show that.

Sharon wrote: "Sorry I have not been able to attend your meetings and will not be able to attend on Friday. If you have not done so, I recommend that you look into the "complete streets" movement (info@completestreets.org).

"Many communities and states across the nation are adopting street design standards that meet the needs of bicyclists, pedestrians, the disabled, transit, etc. Obtaining these "model" standards would be fairly easy. This is the type of policy that if adopted by the City Council (and Parish within the planning area?), would affect all new streets, and potentially any major street improvements.

"This could have a substantive impact on the future, while advocating for improvements for already developed areas."

Jeff and Tim and Chris, I think that means that what LA DOTD is doing at the state level, we need to do at the city level.

Map of Basic Routes

Here's a map with the most basic possible routes I can think of, using bayous and levees as much as possible, and streets elsewhere.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Bike lanes seen, and imagined...

I thought I'd share what one of our group just e-mailed to me:

"I had an addition to the idea that Southern might be a good avenue for a bike trail - I notice that there are quite a few med students who seem to bike from the LSUS Med Center to the Highlands and South Highlands area. Many move here for school, and they are used to biking in their hometowns. One of the professors lives on my street. He bikes to the hospital daily. Although Kings Hwy is a mess, St. Vincent and other streets behind the hospital have ample room for a bike trail.
"To comment further on Sharon Swanson's comments, our family traveled to Cypress Bend on Toledo Bend a few weekends ago, and couldn't help but notice the bike trails on Hwy 171. What was once shoulder, is now paved and marked. Interesting concept."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A more walkable, bike-able Louisiana, or Shreveport, needn't center around big roads and smooth pavement.

Among the techniques for facilitating alternative transportation is converting a 4 lane road to one with 3 car lanes, 2 bike lanes along either curb. That straight, wide swath may be good for automobiles, but it's as enticing for bikers and walkers. Why not forget them the former group, as least while one is trying to figure out what pedestrians like, and what makes certain walks great, and others just tolerable. There's research on just that (see Lyn Lofland's The Public Realm, 1988.)

As ol' Karl Marx noted, of course, too often our professional jobs require such specialization that we become alienated from the way others use the products of our work. Designers are a prime example of this when they feel compelled to design things without an understanding of the user's perspective. There can be little doubt that the sidewalk engineers who designed the one that goes by Centenary and Georges on Kings Highway hadn't done much of that kind of walking themselves.

In place of building from the ground up, using the users perspective to develop a basic understanding, then sets of priorities, then design template and manufacturing specifications, and only then confronting the equally developed but much more established knowledge around automobile transportation to see how they might mesh.

I guess I'm arguing that the State's policy that we're working on with the DOTD group should require planners to design at least one optimal plan for each kind of alternative transportation that might be used beneficially. Those ideal plans for alternative forms of transportation can serve to articulate the desired features of routes to transportation engineers that are otherwise constrained by the of the automobile framework.

My personal problem with using this technique as the default and best option, is partly that's often not the best. And that's because we're contaminating our thinking of what the walker wants with what the biker wants, and what the motor vehicle already has. I bet most of us would agree that it's far worse to walk, or even bike along a road, instead of somewhere better. If you think of all the places you've had great walks--my personal fave's range from big time hiking trails to paths out the backdoor that take you those trails, or the paths that take the family to school and us to work--we can learn what makes them good, and we can create better routes for pedestrians that have those qualities. Whatever makes a route appealing and used, whatever it is about the sidewalk, or even rough trail that goes across a field, through a forest, along a bayou, pond or lake, or one that goes under a bridge or road, or even through a tunnel, should be used by people like us, by the LA DOTD group that's updating the state's master plan for bike-ped needs, and by designers and planners in general, to seek out opportunities other than roads for biking and walking. (It is the era of off-road mountain biking, after all. We're riding those heavy old schwins, anymore, nor just those skinny tired racers.)

For example, if you want to create network of routes between the major cities, would you want to do it by the interstate?

Had a great meeting on routes. Now time to bring in the organizations

Well, we had a great meeting on routes last Friday morning. Just myself, Ian Webb, Maurice Loridans, and Charles Gerard, but it was very productive, I thought.

I recalled more stuff from the DOTD's Statewide Bike-Ped Master Plan Update meeting down in Lafayette. I described of the specific forms of bike lanes used already around the country, such as turning four lanes into three (at no loss to traffic flow apparently), where one of the lanes is center turning lane, and next to each curb is a bike lane going with the traffic. Assuming there are sidewalks (and we far too often cannot, of course), the bike lanes also create a sort of spatial buffer for pedestrians. I also said they'd mentioned levee-top paved bike paths, and also saw long stretches of them on the way back going through Alexandria. Ian and Maurice had a great old time debating the pro's and con's of segregating cyclists like that, and even the need for bike paths in highland, since Maurice sees it as quite bike-able provided you take care to choose you routes. Ian pointed out that even if bikers don't choose to use bike lanes, just their existence puts cycling for transportation into the minds of drivers and residents as legitimate occupants of the road they should respect and be aware of, but also as a respected, legitimate means of transportation. But Ian and I both agreed with Maurice that the city (and probably state) could use a major public relations campaign that would educate residents on the rights of cyclists.

We also talked plenty about routes. I also got a chance to see Maurice's reaction when he realized what I meant by "capping" bayous we have with cement and drains as we do in Columbia Park.

Ian, you'd just left. What are your feelings on that form?

Charles was there too, of course, no doubt inserting incisive comments throughout. Just can't remember them right now without looking at my notes. he he. CG, I'll get back to that.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

State Wide Bike Pedestrian Plan

Just came back from a good trip to Lafayette with Tim Wachtel (a planner for SPAR) for the first of the Advisory Committee for the State Wide Bike Pedestrian Plan being designed by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) .

It was a good trip for Tim's company, for one; we got to share our visions and assessments of Shreveport, of how change has, does, and could occur, and how horses might not be able suitable substitutions for bikes in our cowboy-cultured ArkLaTex. (Don't have to treat bikes like athletes, they warm up pretty fast, don't eat, etc.).

But the meeting itself was also instructive; we sure saw an easy and cheap way to put bike lanes on streets, we saw how the planning and funding process works--sort of--and who the actors are, kinda'--and did get a sense of what this one division of DOTD is actually doing: writing into our state's laws the requirement of street and traffic design engineers are able to demonstrate they have taken into consideration the needs and perceptions of all modes of travel. At one point, one of the leaders said something like, "we're not drivers or bikers or walkers with different ranks of importance. we're travelers. we're all just travelers."

Cool huh? As to how soon we'd see results, well, I guess it all depends....

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

8:15 a.m. at Centenary Square 206 for heavy duty office meeting!

The importance of tomorrow's meeting is that it's time to decide on the routes for our bike and pedestrian path network on which the EPA experts would advise us. We want Jennifer Zumbado, Shreveport's GIS Administrator, to make our maps (such as showing easements of whatever bayous, levees, etc. we pick) in time for us to submit them as part of the grant. I said I'd get our choices to her by tomorrow, so, there we are.

It may be too much, but I'd suggest a set of three fork shaped systems: Bayou Pierre being the handle of one fork, Bush Bayou being the handle of another, and the third being somewhere to the north and/or west.

Even if we do no real construction, but simply make these areas accessible, just as long, narrow fields of public grass, the gains would be significant. Bikers--at least those on mountain bikes or hybrids--and walkers might cause trails to develop just out of steady use. Either way, Shreveport's total amount green space would probably double, triple, or better, and the city's quality-of-life rating as a place to live would rise as a result, all from little more than the stroke of the Mayor's pen. (And as I've mentioned, when I spoke to one of the mayor's chief of staff, Dale Sibley about what we're working on in December, he was very supportive.)

At any rate, by using some of the city's concrete drainage bayous, maybe a levee or two, and maybe a couple of abandoned railways (also city owned, fortunately), we can patch together a city-wide network of green space that allows for alternative transportation between diverse neighborhoods and common non-residential destinations.

As an aside, I'd like to mention that the network could also serve the diverse needs of different neighborhoods and communities by publicly posting maps of the network and allowing them to be supplemented. Maps could feature routes to locallibraries, schools, community centers, parks, community gardens, shopping areas, as well as general destinations such as downtown. Further, the maps could also serve as bulletin boards, allowing organizations to publicize upcoming events, or individuals to announce garage sales, lost pets, or their own groups' events.

But, we need to talk routes. So, come Friday, if you can. I'll have plenty fresh-brewed coffee for us to sip and talk over as we look at maps projected on the screen.

Again, we'll start at 8:15. Centenary Square is across from George's diner, but enter from the parking lot in the rear, and you won't miss it room 206.

For those who haven't come to one yet, our meetings are casual and small, usually 6 to 10 people, and anyone is welcome.