Monday, March 31, 2008

Possible Bridge to Use for Bike Path

Here's a classic, historic railroad bridge, a "Waddel 'A' Truss Bridge" that goes over Cross Bayou at Spring St. for the Kansas City Southern line.

Don Shea suggested we look into possibly this as part of one route.

Monday, March 24, 2008

KSCL interview by Jon Schleuss

I was just interviewed by Jon Schleuss, the KSCL station manager, about our blog. Jon is interviewing a number of bloggers in Shreveport about what they do and how they've used blog medium. I talked about our network and how we've used the blogs to distribute and archive information, how it's allowed us to communicated ideas for Shreveport in new and effective ways, such as with maps, drawings, photos, etc., and how it's brought people into our network.

However, being such a novice blogger myself, after the interview I asked for Jon's advice on blogging since he edits the KSCL blog. Like our own Robert Trudeau, he knows a lot about it, and I wanted to share what he said for those of us who want may want to do some blogging in the future:

He talked about how what you put in tags affects the number of hits you get, and how a site called monitors them. Sitemeter accounts for the author's own visits, and also shows where people are connecting from, which allows you to get referrals, showing how people you. You can then change the site, the tag keywords, etc., to match the terminology that others are using.

Jon also told me about google alerts, that send you e-mails on what's been posted on a given topic, how being linked on other sites draws people to you and raises your position in the 'blogosphere,' that the New York Times recently published an article on how to begin a blog, and that Blogging Heroes is a good book published just recently where 20 different top bloggers are interviewed, who post anywhere from 30 times a day to once a month, but are still popular because of their points of view.

He also mentioned, googlereader, and

Thanks Jon!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Louisiana's "Safe Routes to School"

The following could be relevant to our greenways and pedestrian/bikepaths interests. Thanks to David Levinger for forwarding this:

"Louisiana's SRTS Program Enters Second Year
Policy changes to be a top priority for the State Network

"The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LaDOTD) recently closed its second application period for the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. Application received in this cycle contained much greater substance. Most applications are comprehensive in nature addressing both infrastructure and non-infrastructure activities. The SRTS program attributes this increase in quality to effective training and communication with local communities and partnerships throughout the state. Outreach efforts throughout the state, including the 1st Louisiana SRTS conference in October 2007, have definitely provided a great opportunity to educate existing and potential grantees. LaDOTD is planning a second SRTS conference that will be held in Fall 2008. The focus of this conference will be to highlight program features and requirements, to share information on existing SRTS programs in the State, and to engage participants in a focused discussion on policies.

"The Louisiana DOT SRTS program has expressed an interest in coordinating policy discussions with the Louisiana Network of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. For the past eight months, the Louisiana Network has engaged stakeholders from the public health, transportation, education, safety, and planning sectors on policy issues relevant to the health and safety of school-aged children. The timing of these two efforts coincides with LaDOTD's revisions to the State Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, which will specifically address policy needs relevant to bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages. For more information about the Louisiana program, please visit the Louisiana SRTS website or contact Shalanda Cole, the Department's SRTS Coordinator."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

'A Better Shreveport' would include less pollution and a healthier environment, so...

Thanks to Jeff Wellborn for forwarding this. For all who are interested:

Another Grant Opportunity...

Thanks to Ian, for forwarding this.


Greenways Design Projects

Deadline: Applications are accepted from March 1 through June 15, 2008

he Kodak American Greenways Awards Program, a partnership project of the Eastman Kodak Company and the Conservation Fund, provides small grants to stimulate the planning and design of greenways in communities throughout America. Greenways are corridors of protected public and private land established along rivers, ridges, abandoned railroad corridors, utility right-of-ways, canals, scenic roads, or other linear features. In general, grants can be used for all appropriate expenses needed to complete a greenway project including planning, technical assistance, legal, and other costs. Awards are primarily provided to local, regional, and statewide nonprofit organizations. Visit the website listed below for application guidelines.

Community Garden by Centenary, designed by Jon Soul

I posted this on the community garden blog as well, but this is Jon Soul's design. To be (or not to be?) located by Centenary Square, next to the "Green Space" also designed and built by Jon. Just FYI, and to inspire us all to think big.

(Note the open air pavilion, with a grassy area in front of it. Not only is it a nice setting for community garden meetings, how-to demonstrations, lunch breaks, even bands playing for picnickers, but the rain water collected off the roof will provide the low-acid water that the plants love.)

[Click on the drawing to get a bigger version.]

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Fun and Useful Meetings These Past Two Weeks

Last week some of us were at breakfast at Strawn's Friday. Steve, Jeff, and Stephen are all occupied otherwise at a table about a Center for Civic Engagement, but they filtered over afterwards and talked some with myself and Ian Webb and Jon Soul. One thing we talked about was the need to get information about easements from the Levee Board. I said I was going to follow up on the info Murray gave me to ask about G.I.S. maps.

I met with April Dahm and Charles Girard for an introductory blog session at Centenary's Magale library on Thursday and Friday. We did things like draw a map of Highland, and post it on a new practice blog.

Late Friday afternoon April, Charles, myself, and Maurice Loridans met for drinks and discussion. Maurice is an example of living the car-lite, bike-heavy lifestyle in Shreveport. He's even printed a pamphlet that educates people on the rights of bicyclists to the road, the reasons why he bikes, and how his own biking practicies and attitudes have evolved over time. (I want to post that pamphlet Maurice!)

As for this week, when many of the educators among us are on break, four of us had breakfast today at Strawn's, Ian, Loren, Wayne (last name?) and Adam Ferrell. It was Adam's first time at any of meetings, but he's a pedestrian version of Maurice, noted above. Adam walks and rides buses and lives a comfortable upper-middle class life here in Shreveport without owning a car.

I hope the rest of you get a chance to meet Adam and Maurice, and that they'll join us again soon.

Any objections to a Tuesday breakfast day at Strawn's? 8:15? We need to decide on the project to propose for the EPA grant, and what non-profit(s) or government office we would apply from.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Friday Breakfast @ Strawn's, Happy Hour @ Brother's Seafood

Just a reminder. 8:15 onward at Strawn's on King's. 5:30 onward at Brother's Seafood at the riverfront under the Texas Bridge. Let's meet n' mingle, but everything from downtown renewal, to mountain-biking in the city, to community golf greens, to linear parks and bike paths are on the table. Not to mention that E.P.A. grant. And, assuming you don't know what I'm talking about, come and find out!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Place that Makes Greens for the Home... or Community?

This place shows a seamless transition between a home's tasteful landscaping (albeit with artificial turf(!)), and the great golf game of the home's residents. Could be true. And so why not substitute "Community" for "Home" in that sentence. A community's tasteful landscaping leads to a community's great golf game. That's us! Who doesn't have an empty lot near them they might enjoy pitching to?
It's called, "" and has a special landscapinggolf section.

(Crazy, right? I wish I could post this anonymously. Well, Matt Weeks, Roderick Loud, Elizabeth Joyce, Steve Shelburne, I'm hereby conscripting you. At some point or another you each voiced support for this, so, the way I look at it, if I get laughed off the stage for this, you're goin' down with me! )

(But no crazier than shooting the artificial rapids at Pierre Bayou White Water City Park, come to think of it. [See for examples of that. But heck, I can pin that radical fantasy on the whole Bayou Chapter of the Ozark Society, right Mark Norris?)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Web n Blog session, breakfast, happy hour...

We rescheduled the web stuff. At least a couple of us will be sharing our web/blog knowledge at Centenary's library Thurs 5 to 7-ish, then another set will be at Brothers Seafood for a drink at 5:30. Join us if you can, it'll be fun, as always.

For the musicians of us, just think what we could do in this situation when and if our goals to become reality. We play on the sidewalk outside 'til we earn enough for our beer! (er, and, uh, we don't have to be that good, since we don't drink like we used to, right?)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Upcoming events and meetings

Tuesday at 11:30 at Centenary Library, Computer Lab 1A: brown bag lunch meeting while having a blogging and webpage creation workshop; also to chat about any all ideas and strategies related to group.

Friday at 8:15 a.m. or so: breakfast at Strawn's for any interested in chatting.

Friday at 5:30 p.m.: drinks or coffee at Brother's Seafood; just to chat on the way home from work.

Robert said in an e-mail to me:
"Brothers Seafood in the Red River Ent Dist. While it is probably less comfortable for many of us than meeting in East Spt, I have reasons:

- transparency and access for a wider community.
- the Chapman family, proprietors of Brother's, are part of the Freeman & Harris network.
- easy parking in the adjacent - free - casino parking garage.
- it's comfortable spot - children ok, plenty of room, food good, if a bit pricey.

We can at least give it a try."

I agree!

Ian also mentioned something to me the other day about having a regular breakfast time. Thursday would be out for some, so we were thinking about Friday. I'm up for that too.

Why don't we try both, at least just for this Friday, to give us a gauge of how either (or both?) would work for us.

Earth Day Celebration at Sankofa

For an idea of what community groups can do, how they can form around a lot of different interests within a community, check out the Earth Day Celebration and Guided Tour of Sankofa Community Garden. I went last year and loved it!

Thanks to Steve Shelburne, and Monday's meeting summary

First, many thanks to Steve Shelburne for his wonderful hospitality and giving us such a warm, comfortable place to meet that cold, rainy, Monday night. And thanks to those who brought drinks and nibblies to add to what Steve kindly offered as well. And thanks to everyone for just coming, naturally!

It was probably our most enthusiastic meeting, with people expressing various dreams of what we can do together, ranging from connecting people that share concerns, sharing ideas for how to advance plans, to energizing downtown, to creating sport and leisure possibilities, to bringing a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's to town, to providing a public spaces where average amateur musicians like Rod, Loren, Steven and Steve can jam, collaborate, and maybe get some coins thrown in a guitar case!

And we all seemed to agree how any one of those things can help the city be a better place for current residents, and a more appealing place for possible new residents, like those coming for cybercommand or film-making.

One of the ideas that came out of the last meeting was that some of us can head up "teams" that would work on stuff of a common interest. So, for example, April might be working on the remaking downtown blog, and recruiting anyone interested to collaborate with her, Leia might do the same with community gardens, Loren and Rod might collaborate on community recreation (public putting greens that double as grass basketball courts got us going), another person on mountain-biking trails within the city, another on greenways and linear parks, another on community art spaces, etc.

Other things: Ian and Steve mentioned that the kind of things our group is involved is really what civic engagement is about. And while Murray has mentioned the idea that meeting together can provide a hub for information, resources, advice, and general support for any particular group centered on a specific interest, Ian talked recently with me about how we might end up being an organization that serves as a sort of a incubator and general resource for emerging public-interest and advocacy groups that have local concerns.

As a part of talking about their interests in the group, Michael Parker talked a bit about his experiences in Portland, April Dahm about her's in Seattle WA and Northampton MA, Rod in

Robert Treudau mentioned we might meet on the turf of people we want to involve more, such as people in the black community. Roderick Loud was there and he agreed, and liked Robert's idea of meeting at Brother's Seafood. Loren agreed too, but yours truly has to now confess he's a little worried about expense, and Michael Parker has liked the home idea. Gee maybe we could take turns hosting or picking a spot to NOT host?
(More on that in the next post.)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Meeting at 5:30ish, Monday afternoon, March 3rd.

BYOB, Steve's house, 5:30 onward....
(and let me know your e-mail address if you didn't get the reminder I sent out today!)

Cool Town Studios economic development firm

Here's a group that may relate to who we are, and, more importantly, they might be good consultant types that could quickly see what our city needs. Of course, that's the product they're selling. Wonder if it works. They're called "Cool Town Studios."

From their website:

"CoolTown Studios is the 'weekdaily' newsite blog of CoolTown Beta Communities, which focuses on implementation (see diagram here) as a crowdsource-based placemaking and economic development firm committed to codeveloping natural cultural districts for creatives, by creatives. This newssite blog (and only the blog!) is a free public service (including all 1200+ archived entries) toward building better places to live/work/play.

(Probably can't make much of this photo on the blog; go their cite to see it better.)

"Who are we?

"Neil Takemoto is the founding director of CoolTown Beta Communities, a crowdsource-based placemaking and economic development firm codeveloping natural cultural districts with creatives. His work over the last 14 years has been committed to the development of places with significant economic, environmental and social benefit, currently working in Syracuse, New Orleans and Washington DC.

"Neil is the founder of CoolTown Studios, a ‘crowdsourcing cool places for creatives’ blog/news site that attracts 30,000 unique visitors a month. It has been featured in Architect Magazine and the ULI’s annual developers conference.

"He is also the cofounder of CoolTown Investments, linking investors with developers of urban smart growth developments for the creative class. CoolTown Investments’ partner is a capital management company with a $150M resource seeking to invest $2-$10M in equity in redevelopment projects in second/third tier cities in the eastern half of the U.S.

"With Andres Duany, Neil co-founded the National Town Builders Association in 1997, the only business trade group of Smart Growth/New Urbanism real estate developers. Prior to that, he founded a national nonprofit educational clearinghouse for the New Urbanism field.

"Kennedy Lawson Smith is an associate partner of CoolTown Studios. She is one of the nation's foremost experts on main street district revitalization and a leading authority on mom-and-pop businesses. Kennedy joined the staff of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's National Main Street Center in 1985 and has served as its director until 2004. Under her leadership the Main Street program assisted nearly 2,000 districts in towns and cities of all sizes across the United States and abroad, experiencing a net increase of 57,000 new businesses, 231,000 new jobs, and attracting more than $17 billion in new investment. In March 2002, Fast Company magazine named her to its first-ever list of Fast 50 Champions of Innovation, recognizing creative thinkers whose sense of style and power of persuasion change what our world looks like and how our products perform."

A group like "ABetterShreveport" in Hamilton, Ontario?

(Here's a description of Raise the Hammer, a group that sounds sorta' like what "ABetterShreveport" might be becoming. This is from their self-titled magazine in print and online, byRyan McGreal)

"Raise the Hammer is a group of Hamilton, Ontario citizens who believe in our city's potential and are willing to get involved in making the city a more vibrant, livable, and attractive place to live and work.

"We are non-partisan and our members come from diverse political backgrounds. Our common interest is revitalizing our city, a goal that benefits everyone."