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.