Sunday, November 23, 2008

Good meeting Saturday, thanks to all!

Thanks to all who attended Saturday's meeting: Emily and Scott Sample, Maurice Loridans, Stuart Greathouse, Steve Godfrey, Michael Carmody, Matthew Lin, Jon Soul, and Ian Webb.

Ian talked about the NLCOG meeting he and Maurice attended this past week, and I reported on my, Shelly Ragle, and Tim Wachtel's meeting with Mike Strong. Both of those meetings, along with Steve Shelburne's report of his breakfast group discussions on the topic, caused us to see how a sub-committee of ABetterShreveport devoted to pushing greenways would be preferrable to handing that role to a governmental group or appointed commission.,

We also talked about using the expertise of walkers and bikers to take an inventory of the city's walking and biking options. One practice related to that, but that could also directly help people to get out and be mobile would be to share recommend walking/biking routes, such as through the map of recommended routes I had set up as an example.

We also talked about the importance of linking our alternative transportation network (be it made of trails, ped-bike boulevards, repainted streets, etc.) from places where likely users live to where they'd want to go. We agreed that while everyone in the city should eventually be considered users, many would't be until the city culture changes to see walking and biking as more viable, and a way of doing that is by catering first to those who are already ready and willing to use the network.

Seeing downtown as a destination was discussed as important, for what a revitalized downtown can mean for the city. We also discussed the possible limitations and possibilities for downtown to develop in the future.

Stuart Greathouse, who happens to own his own consulting business on organization efficiency, offered to help me get our group in order, and we'll be meeting with him on Thursday, December 4th, at 8:20 a.m. at Centenary Square. We'll be talking visions and mission statements.

One of the most important things to come out of the meeting was Matthew Linn's point that we should write a letter to the new planning firm that has just been hired by the city and ask that our group's work on greenways--specifically the plan that will be created with the help of the National Park Service starting early next month--be taken into consideration as they make their comprehensive master plan for the city. Matthew said he could send a letter from his position as a Caddo Parrish Commissioner asking that they consider our request. Of course, we could solicit similar letters of support from other officials as well.

Speaking of plans, there was talk yet again about an existing plan of a network of Greenways that we should attempt to get ahold of; it would help us advance the cause of greenways, perhaps regardless of how it differs from the plan we end up creating now.

Thanks again all! Our next meeting will likely be in December to plot for the National Park Service visit. Here's the question: what do YOU think we should do with our drainage-ditch system of bayous?

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