Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Times calls on Demerath for end-of-year quality of life outlook for Shreveport
Originally uploaded by trudeau
Below is the copy from the Sun, Dec 27, Shreveport Times story on local quality of life issues. The headline: "Loren Demerath: We don't have to accept existing landscape"

Loren Demerath, a Centenary College professor, has been active in A Better Shreveport (, a nonprofit organization working to improve our quality of life. The group's interests have ranged from connecting the city's green spaces to establishing bicycle lanes.

Q: From your group's quality of life perspective, what is our greatest challenge as a community?

A: The greatest challenge is two-fold: an infrastructure centered around automobiles that has created suburban sprawl, and a culture of thinking about our city as undeserving of radical change.

As for the first challenge, we have to overcome our tendency to build certain kinds of streets, neighborhoods, and retail districts that discourage walking and biking. If we don't do that, we will continue to live lives in Shreveport that are not as healthy and happy as they would otherwise be.

We also face the challenge of overcoming an acceptance of those conditions. Many believe Shreveport does not have the resources of more popular, growing cities to counter those conditions. They believe we can't afford to build bike paths and greenways, or to provide incentives for retailers to locate downtown on Texas Street, and to generally create a city where people would prefer to live over any other city. But as any business person knows, if you don't invest in your product, it won't sell; further, there are always ways of improving your product and increasing your share of the market.

Q: What is your organization's primary goal for the coming year?

A: The goal of our downtown group is to revitalize the Texas Avenue corridor running from Common Street to Murphy Street, in part by creating a cultural district for resident-artists. The transportation group seeks to hold city bike tours, and to develop bike lanes, sharrows, and signage throughout the city that will encourage biking for transportation. The goal of the greenways group is to begin construction of a Coates Bluff Greenway between East Washington and Stoner Avenue running behind Caddo Magnet High School. As well as closing the gap between the Clyde Fant bike path and our residential neighborhoods of Highland, South Highland, and Broadmoor, it would provide an example of how beautiful and enriching greenways can be in Shreveport, and would stimulate demand similar greenways throughout our city.

Q: How can the community assist you in your group's mission?

A: Anyone with ideas about how to improve Shreveport's quality of life is invited to join our group. Our meetings are regularly Monday nights (less regularly over school breaks) and are open to anyone who is interested. People can read our blog at to see what we've discussed, what we're working on, or what's on the agendas of upcoming meetings. Our next meeting will be 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11, in room 216 of Centenary Square, across the street from George's Grill.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

ABetterShreveport: Stacye Palmer, National Park Service, New Orleans

A Better Shreveport guest on Dec 7 was Stacye Palmer of the National Park Service's Louisiana Office in New Orleans. Palmer has helped ABS build a plan for the Coates Bluff Greenway.

Loren Demerath's notes from the meeting:
Meeting Notes 12.7
Present: Cynthia Keith, Carolyn Manning, John Davenpot, Jon Soul, Feico Kempff, Stacye Palmer, Maurice Loridans, Loren Demerath, Robert Trudeau, David Aubry
Jon's Homework
Stacye's Data
Robert's long term event planning
Task and Timeline for Coates Bluff

Bayou birding report from Jon: double digets every day: egrets, cormorans, great blue herons, mallards; with the Montessori students he does bird counts every day; the elementary students go onto the trail down to the beaver lodge...
The group discussed the need to give David Alexander the specifics of how much land is required. The width of the city's right of way to the south is at least 25 feet, maybe 50; can ask to continue that up to Stoner.

The group discussed what else could help the Riverscape developers and investors see the benefit of the greenway, and Jon said he could share the powerpoint that explains the history of the old river that constitutes this bayou and land strip. Although the group noted how Riverscape stands to benefit from the greenway as much as anyone, it was noted that unless there's one in Shreveport, they wo't necessarily know what it would be like. Maurice noted there was a sort of path running through the area by 70th and Pines Road. Another runs in front of the apartments virutally next door to Riverscape with a tunnel to the riverside bike path.

Feico noted that the Riverscape people don't know what we want from them. It was also noted that RS has a second bottom line of community impact, and greenways help that; the investors require return on that second bottom line. Some warned, though, that once the "dirt flies" it may be too late.

It was suggested that we ask the city for help in getting the land surveyed to get the information Riverscape needs to plan for the greenway. We decided to ask Monty Walford to ask for 10-15K for a greenways feasability study that would include surveying the Coates Bluff greenway land. Stacye Palmer also noted that the National Park Service might be able to help us as well. Bill Lane is an expert in drafting those kinds of plans.

It was also noted that we need to ask Superintendent Dawkins for permission to access to school grounds, and Charlotte Crawley could be our leison there. One person said the school board was about to do a facilities and programmatic master plan; they've got 24 people they've requested to have serve, and could use one from our group

John Davenport said we can use the term riparian corridor; which is forest along a waterway; we're asking for a corridor along their western boundary to the east bank of the riparian corridor; please think about us as you move forward.

Carolyn said we need to get people's emails that are interested in supporting greenways. We can send out the Greenways newsletter to them to keep them posted on what we're doing and what we need help with.

Just for the record, to keep readers posted of what we're doing, the following email messages were sent the next day to David Alexander and Monty Walford, respectively:


At this week's meeting on the Coates Bluff Greenway, David Aubry told us that your partners in the Riverscape Development would be town this next week. While we are still in process of developing surveys, we would indulge you to include space for the greenway in your plans. We are asking the City Council to give SPAR money to fund a greenways feasibility study, that would include surveying the land needed for the Coates Bluff Greenway.

This would be a greenway and bike path that would be sensitive to and enhanced by the existing riparian corridor from Sevier St. to Stoner Ave., and connecting to Veterans Park which in turn networks through tunnels to the Clyde Fant bike path.

Without this greenway, Riverscape residents will be looking across Clyde Fant to the city's main bike path, but have no way to ride their bikes to it. With the greenway, residents would have full access, and Riverscape would undoubtedly be a saughtafter place to live.

Clearly, the greenway will help both your economic and your community impact bottom lines. I've attached a powerpoint presentation that summarizes the concept of the greenway. Also, as soon as we have them completed, we will also be sending you copies of a promotional brochure being printed for us by the National Park Service.

Thank you, in advance, David, for keeping the greenway in your plans. We feel absolutely confident that it is a project that will benefit not only Shreveport generally, but Riverscape in particular.

Dr. Loren Demerath
Executive Director, ABetterShreveport


At our ABetterShreveport meeting last night, we decided it was time to ask for help. We request that SPAR conduct a greenways feasibility study, and as part of that study, to survey the area of the proposed Coates Bluff Greenway. We believe SPAR would require funding of ten to fifteen thousand dollars for the study. We gather this would mean that you would request an ammendment to SPAR's budget at the Friday meeting.

The greenway needs to move forward quickly, as the Riverscape Development will be breaking ground soon. One of the developers, David Alexander of Vintage Realty, has told us that the investors would be open to the idea of donating land for the greenway, but they need to know how much land we need, and where exactly it would be. We can tell them once the survey work is done.

Thank you, in advance, for your help, Monty. We're certainly grateful to have a councilman such as yourself who understands what greenways and bike paths can do for a city's quality of life.

Dr. Loren Demerath
Executive Director of ABetterShreveport
and Chair of the Sociology Department at Centenary College

As a follow-up to these messages, I can note that I had a positive response from David Alexander. He said his group is still open to the idea and wanted to keep our lines of communication open.

Although I haven't heard back from Monty, I'll have to admit I didn't have time to call and follow up the email message. It was a last minute request.
- Loren

Monday, December 7, 2009

ABetterShreveport: bird life rife on the Coates Bluff waterway

Jon Soul and his students at Montessori School for Shreveport are noting the very active duck and bird population visiting the Anderson Island / Coates Bluff waterway.

ABetterShreveport moving on the Coates Bluff Greenway initiative

On the table at the 12/04 meeting: letter to keep the Coates Bluff Greenway project on the Riverscape Development agenda, contacting Caddo Schools superintendant Dawkins and getting a budget from city monies for making a proper land use proposal.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Television Coverage of ABetterShreveport Meeting Describes Work on Coates Bluff Greenway

Much thanks to KTAL Channel 6 reporter Karen Hopkins for attending our meeting last night and telling people about the Coates Bluff Greenway.

Here's the web version of Karen's report:

Reported by: Karen Hopkins

Monday, Nov 30, 2009 @10:02pm CST

There could be more opportunities to ditch the gas guzzler for a more scenic route.

A nonprofit group called “A Better Shreveport is working on a new bike path. The mile route would go through a forested area, from East Washington street, to Stoner Ave. Bikers could ride to three schools along the route and two city parks.

"There’s not a lot of biking options in Shreveport. Many people are disappointed they can't bike around," Loren Demerath says.

A Better Shreveport says the path could increase property values and even reduce crime. The group is looking for federal and state grants to pay for the project.

To get involved with A Better Shreveport, visit its blog:"

And for any interested in dropping by a meeting, please do! We meet Monday nights at 6:15, room 216 at Centenary Square, across the street from George's Grill.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Report Finds Money for Safer, Healthier "Complete Streets"

SPAR Planner Tim Wachtel pointed us to the following story advocating Complete Streets:
Tim said it's well researched and should be a good resource for policy discussions.

Here's a highlight:

A new report, “Dangerous by Design: Solving the Epidemic of Preventable Pedestrian Deaths and Making Great Neighborhoods,” sponsored by Transportation for America and the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, has analyzed the soaring number of pedestrian fatalities across the country. The report determined that the vast number of these fatalities was the result of “incomplete streets”—rights-of-way that were designed for high-speed vehicle traffic only. Specifically, the absence of basic pedestrian infrastructure such as sidewalks and crosswalks is a leading cause of the pedestrian fatality epidemic, the report pointed out.

...The report concludes that reducing pedestrian injuries and fatalities as well as creating more healthy walkable communities would result from “smart investments and smart design.” Specifically, the report points out that less than 1.5 percent of federal funds from the Safe Accessible Flexible Efficient Transportation Efficiency Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) was used for pedestrian safety projects. Moreover, state departments of transportation (DOTs) have not taken full advantage of federal transportation programs and fiscal resources to create safer environments for pedestrians. Instead, building more high-speed arterial roads continues to be business as usual in many state and local communities.

So, there's money out there to make our cities safer, let alone more appealing and healthier. Let's go get it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mapping the routes on which you ride your bike across Shreveport

A Better Shreveport is recording the bike routes of those who enjoy pedaling around the city. It's a basic step in city planning and a tool for the future integration of bike and pedestrian facilities into the transportation grid.

Please see more below.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Help from NLCOG in Sharrows for Bike Routes?

At tonight's meeting we marked more Shreveport bike routes on the maps provided by NLCOG (Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments). When we're done with them, and Lisa Frazier comes to pick them up, we'll make a request for their help.

What we'd like is their help getting sharrows painted along all the routes we're marking, just like those that were painted for the tree tour a week ago, and pictured below:

We believe we've got strong support from Mayor Glover's office--Matt Baily, Brady Blade, Dale Sibley have all expressed support for this kind of thing--as well the City's Department of Operational Services director Mike Strong, and of course Matthew Linn, Caddo Parrish Commissioner.

NLCOG will be the holder of these maps, but we don't want to hand them off if nothing is going to come of our work on them.

So, Lisa Frazier! Kent Rogers! Chris Petro! Will you help? Make Shreveport a happier, healthier place, all with just a bit of paint!

Thanks in advance!
(Posted directly from tonight's ABetterShreveport meeting at Centenary Square.)

The Historic Highland Tour of Homes

Above is the map made by Dan Marcalus.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Shreveport at the top of its game: the Highland Blues & Jazz Fest 09

Given the smooth functioning and growth of the event, a study of the development of the Highland Blues & Jazz Fest is in order for those who care about the city.

Strengths of the fest:
- sundry crowd, both in age and ethnicity.
- family-oriented.
- food and crafts booths adequate to nourish the crowd.
- beer.
- effective sound system (Glenn Graves, a veteran).
- smart team of volunteers, including fest founder Amy Loe, announcer Liz Swain and many more.
- handsome and soulful faces for the numerous photographers.
- opportunity for many attendees to avoid the car and use the bike.
- Chicken Masala, by India's Restaurant, was scrumptious and only $2.
- an example for the city of an effective neighborhood fest.
- Highland in its best light: safe, convenient, multifarious.

I suggest that ABS consider finding and installing a bike rack for next year's fest. The many who rode bicycles to Columbia Park tucked them everywhere. Symbolically it would have been cool to have almost all the bikes in one area. An info table for the ABS mission is also something to discuss.

- Robert Trudeau / photo by Talbot Hopkins Trudeau

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thank You for the Bike Symbols Commissioner Linn, Mayor Glover, Councilman Walford, and Director of D.O.S. Strong!

Hope Matthew doesn't mind that I post this. But for those wondering about the bike symbols that appeared on the streets recently, here's an official account mailed to Mayor Glover, Councilman Walford, and Director of the Department of Operational Services, Mike Strong:

"Mayor Glover,

"Thank you for allowing Dr. Hallie Dozier of L.S.U., myself and friends to paint sharrows on certain streets marking safe bicycle passage from South Highland to Downtown Shreveport. These markings are very inexpensive to apply and bring priceless heightened awareness that something other than an automobile is allowed on the street. When people who are only accustomed to driving a car or truck are informed of the new "Louisiana 3 foot law", they will be grateful to have a friendly reminder of being respectful to bicyclist.

"The template of the "Bicycle Sharrow" has been donated to "A Better Shreveport" I encourage everyone to work together to make our home, Shreveport, easier and safer to navigate by all means of transportation.

"Matthew Linn, Caddo Parish Commissioner, District 4"

Thank YOU Matthew! And thanks to Cedric, Monty, and Mike as well! Onward and upward in adding the little (and big) things that make for a healthier, funner, better Shreveport! (yes, "funner" is a word. really.)

Another City Redesigning Itself for Health and Quality of Life

What cities will be the first to act on the idea that the future of our health and happiness is rooted in human powered transportation? Maybe the "next great city of the south" (a Shreveport label during the last mayoral race) is WAY down south!

Thanks to Jeff Wellborn for the following from
From the National Times of Australia:

"The State Government has committed $13.5 million for bicycle initiatives in NSW in the current financial year including new bike paths, education programs and local road works.

"There are currently 4100 kilometres of cycleways across the state and Transport Minister, David Campbell has committed to build shared bike paths "wherever practicable" when new roads are built.

"Around 40 kilometres of bike paths were built as part of the M7 motorway project and dedicated cycleways were built as part of Busway projects in Sydney's north-west and south-west.

"Shared paths are being built on Victoria Road as part of the duplication of the Iron Cove Bridge.

"Of the $13.5 million, $4.7 million is being used to co-fund 93 local bicycle projects with local councils on a dollar for dollar basis across the state.

"But the City of Sydney council's commitment to better bike paths is much bigger than the State's spending.

"It has pledged to spend $70 million over four years as part of its plan to build a 200 kilometre network across the inner city. A short separated cycleway on King Street in the CBD has been completed and planning is underway for separated cycleways in Union Street Pyrmont, College Street in the CBD and Missenden Road Camperdown."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New group "Shreveport Greenways" formed!

As many of you readers know, ABetterShreveport is devoted to promoting ideas for improving quality of life and community health of Shreveporters. As such ABS has tried to serve as an incubator (or "thinkubator" as Ian Webb has termed it) for a number of projects. Once those ideas get momentum, teams, groups, and even formal organizations can emerge from that process. The ABetterShreveport Downtown is one such group, and now we've got another one.

At the Coates Bluff meeting last night, with Feico Kempff, Carolyn Manning, Loren Demerath, Jon Soul, Susan Keith, Maurice Loridans, and Cynthia Keith in attendance, we decided to form a group devoted to promoting Greenways in Shreveport.

We voted on several options, and the results were that the group is called "Shreveport Greenways".

We defined our independent roles as follows:
secretary and blog editor: Loren Demerath
coordinator: Carolyn Manning
marketer/enewsletter editor: Carolyn
fundraiser: Carolyn
project leison: Feico Kempff
project manager (timelines): Feico
legal council: Maurice Loridans
bicycle transportation advisor: Maurice Loridans
treasurer: Ian Webb
public relations spokesperson: Ian Webb
education facilitators: Susan Keith, Jon Soul, Robert Trudeau

We're all fired up and ready to go! We don't just want to talk about greenways, we want to make them happen, starting with the pilot project of the Coates Bluff Greenway. Stay tuned to this blog to monitor our progress. Naturally, anyone's more than welcome to join us. Feel free to drop by a meeting, or comment on a post!

Other notes from the meeting:

What a success on the 7th with the Velo Dendro biking tree tour of the city!

What did Hallie do to get such a turnout of 100?
- got the media before; Rick Rowe was on a bike on tv 2 days prior publicizing it
- got the different organizations to disseminate the info; Shreveport Green, LSU Agricultural Center, HAP, HRA, ABS, etc.
- had org meeting six months prior
Future rides?: Architecture, Community Gardens, Home Gardens, History Tour, House Paint Jobs, Properties Available, Pub Crawl, Snack Tour...

Feico presented us with the land trust information and Sharon's scope of work; Feico wanted to hear about other options to the land trust.

Brochure created already, delayed in printing, but have petty cash for printing 200 or so?
Can't show roller blades if we're not going to pave it. Easier to find photos for that; might not get a perfect fit.

Brochure: good but minus pavement?
Name: Friends of Shreveport Greenways, ABetterGreenwayedShreveport, ABetterShreveport through Greenways, etc.; final: Shreveport Greenways
Mission: "A Better Shreveport through Greenways"
to get them done the best more effective way possible, but that may not mean our controlling and maintaining them; Veteran's park did become neglected by the city; the Katy Trail Association cares for that trail, though the city is supposed to care for it. What's our role going to be? Are we going to plan/design the trail or give it to someone else? Or the fundraisers? Need to look to the future; naming ourselves is a start... Want to extend beyond Coates Bluff to work for other greenways as well throughout the city; can set the landtrust idea aside until we decide our role... Do we believe that if we just advocate it it'll get done? Or are there not enough stakeholders? Taking politicians on a field trip to the Katy Trail as they did for senators in Houston on the Buffalo River. We don't want to sell landowners on something that gets neglected. Someone has to kick this off and say "we're in charge". There's no one else, e.g., Rails to Trails, who will take this on. All over the world cities use floodways as bikeways because there's nothing else you can do with them. As long as we don't see each Greenway the same and respond to the consensus in the scientific community on how to be socially and environmentally responsible and proactive. The Greenways Group would be a group acting for greenways in general, but for each trail there may be different organizational forms; developers may come to us and say I want to put int a gway, can you make recommendations; We're talking alternative transporation and getting people out of cars; doesn't have to be green, but better if it is. ("Complete Streets" is a movement in the U.S., and LA DOT has told NLCOG and other MPO's to incorporate those principles in their planning.) Susan asked if we need to consider proposed routes elsewhere to create a whole system? Hopefully we'd evolve into those concerns. There's discussion of extending the bike path to LSUS, and even on the levee all the way to Alexandria. Susan mentioned the U.L.Coleman company owns part of a section. Petty Cash Account: we need cash; Carolyn's going to donate $50.

Draft of Mission Statement: "to organize community support for Shreveport Greenways, to advocate support for the Greenways, to raise private and public funds for the completion of the Greenways, and to help the city of Shreveport plan, build, and maintain Trail improvements."

Can bring in Davenport's students be a part of this, researching stuff, designing stuff.
Friends of Shreveport Greenways name is because the chief tasks are coordinating and fund raising;

Cynthia said the dog park could be a part of ABS, others agreed.

The next meeting Shreveport Greenways meeting will be in two weeks on 11/23; we'll alternate with ABS every other night. ABdtnS has been meeting every other lunch monday.

Loren and Carolyn will finish the borchue and after next week's ABS meeting we'll approve the that and the format for the enewsletter. And if you know of anyone who wants to be a sponsor, let Carolyn know; financial support will help make this all happen.

Monday, November 9, 2009

NOW is the time for DETAILED input on revitalization! Meeting on downtown/waterfront Tues, Nov 17, 6 pm, Spt C of C

NOW is the time for DETAILED input!

But, uh, before you read this, did you hear about Velo Dendro as reported in the post below this one? It was AWESOME! What's next ya'll? A biking tour of city architecture? Home gardens? Community gardens? Sites of historical events? Ah, the possibilities!

Anyway, here's an important announcement from the Master Plan Folks. And check out that first phrase!:

"Now’s the time to give detailed input about revitalizing parts of Shreveport-Caddo, and about changes to the Downtown/Waterfront area! Master Plan meetings on these topics are coming up Nov. 17 and 19, and we encourage everyone to participate and to spread the word.

Additionally, the final neighborhood workshops, designed to gather neighborhood-specific input, which were cancelled in October due to weather have been rescheduled for December 3 in the north sections of Shreveport-Caddo. Details on both sets of meetings are attached. Please share with your networks, and put these dates on your calendar today.

November Meetings

Downtown/Waterfront Workshop
Tuesday, November 17, 2009, 6:00pm to 8:30pm
Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, 400 Edwards Street, Shreveport, LA 71101

Revitalization Strategies Workshop

Thursday, November 19, 2009, 6:00pm to 8:30pm
Willis-Knighton Community Center, 2401 Bessie Street, Shreveport, LA 71103

December Meetings

North Neighborhood Workshops (Rescheduled from October 29th)

DATE/TIME: Thursday, December 3, 2009, 6:00pm to 8:30pm
LOCATION: Green Oaks High School, 2550 Thomas E. Howard Drive

DATE/TIME: Thursday December 3, 2009, 6:00pm to 8:30pm
LOCATION: Louisiana Technical College Shreveport-Bossier Campus, 2010 North Market Street

- Loren Demerath

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Velo Dendro tour, Shreveport: 555 Herndon St

With some 100 people riding through East Shreveport in a green wave of high-viz shirts, Velo Dendro was a distinct success on Sat, Nov 7.

Hallie Dozier, forestry prof at LSU and former Shreveport resident, was articulate and informative as the tour guide. Matthew Linn, Caddo Commissioner and proprietor of Columbia Cafe, was accommodating as host and co-planner.

All ages were represented. There were tots in handlebar seats, small fry on their own small bikes, college students, 30-somethings and the sanhedrin.

A typical stop is seen in the photo above. Bruce Allen and wife, Kristin Dorothy Hannah, opened their yard at 555 Herndon to the tour.

The only question unanswered at the end of the day was "When and how do we do this again?"

- Robert Trudeau

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Last Meeting Summary (what a wild one!)

Meeting Notes for 11/2/9

In attendance: Matthew Linn, Maurice Loridans, Loren Demerath, Cynthia Keith, Ryan Tew, Ian Webb, Robert Trudeau, Caroline Majors, Feico Kempff.

The group discussed the sharrows that been painted in town along the southern half of the route of the upcoming "Velo Dendro" tree tour of city on Saturday. Those who helped paint had received permission from Mike Strong, head of the Department of Operational Services to do so. Hallie Dozier, Maurice Loridans, Steve Godfrey, Valerie Loridans, Micheal Feldman (from Providence House) were among those who helped. The template for sharrows was then donated to ABS along with the paint. After the sharrows appeared some homeowners near them had called DOS to ask about them, and they were told they were there to remind people to share the road with bicyclists. Mike Strong said he'd received compliments about them; Matt Baily, Assistant Director of Economic Development for the Mayor's office, said he'd seen them in every other city he'd been in except Shreveport, and that he welcomed them.

There was discussion about whether publicizing the sharrows would be seen as positive and create support, or create controversy.
It was said that marking this trail, and hopefully others, is useful for people to see that these are good coridors for bicycling around and about the city.

The group looked at NLCOG's maps that Lisa Frazier dropped by and discussed NLCOG's role in creating a more bikable, walkable city. It was noted that Bike/Ped Advisory Committee had been formed nine months ago, but hadn't met more than twice, and that NLCOG may be busy, or may not see it as a priority. Some wondered whether contributing to the maps would be a wasted effort, and may even slow down our progress: if our contributions don't get used, but we think they will be, we may stop pushing to make that contribution, and progress will stall without our knowing why. Some said we should sit down and have a conversation with NLCOG about what our expectations and intentions are.

There was much discussion about we can do as a group to further alternative transportation and make the city more walkable and bikable. It became a free-for-all mixer that was a lot of fun, but difficult to summarize. I'm working on it...

Don't Miss First Ever Bicycling Tree Tour of the City Saturday!

It's time everyone!
The first ever bicycling tree tour of the city!

We meet on Saturday, November 7th, at 9 a.m., at Columbia Cafe on Creswell.
We'll go slow and easy, take lots of breaks, and soak up plenty of urban tree knowledge!

And stay or drop by the reception afterwards from 1 to 3
to enjoy the live music of "A Fine Romance" trio!

Bring $10 for registration. For that you get a t-shirt and refreshments, not to mention the professionally guided tour of some of the city's most notable trees from Dr. Hallie Dozzier.

It promises to be a special day.
An interesting & fun experience for us to share!

Join us!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Monroe's on the Bike Trail too!

Ribbon Cutting set for November 6 on bike trails...

Staff report • • October 29, 2009

    • A Friday ribbon-cutting event to mark the official opening of two bicycle paths in Monroe has been postponed until 11 a.m. Nov. 6 at Forsythe Park because of the threat of bad weather.

      The bike trails are the result of over a year of cooperative efforts between the city of Monroe, Monroe Advocates for Safe Streets and the Rotary Club of Monroe.

      Mayor Jamie Mayo and other city officials will join representatives from MASS and local students for an inaugural bike ride immediately following the ribbon cutting.

      Each of the two bike paths begin in Forsythe Park. One route goes to the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo, while the other path goes to the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
Thanks to David Aubry for passing this on!

Halloween Community Garden Events

Surely a better Shreveport is one that includes more opportunities to come together and grow healthy delicious food. There are two events that allow us to do that this Saturday.

One is in Ceder Grove. At Line and 73rd St., from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., there'll be a celebration and activities featuring live music and games.

The other is on Tulane Ave. off of Linwood. Here's that information, from the director, Leia Lewis, who always puts on great events.

Dear Friend,
You are welcome to join the Sankofa Gardens Fall Planting of GREENS and STRAWBERRIES!
This Saturday, October 31st
12:30 to 3:30 PM
Sankofa Gardens
1651 Tulane
This is a FREE, family event.
Please bring a friend and share this message/flyer.
Wear work clothes and bring your gloves and tools, too!
For information, call:
Leia Lewis
(318) 230-2892

Monday, October 26, 2009

No meeting today; good lunch meeting at Valencia Park earlier

No meeting tonight, since a number of us have already met earlier today.

Those of us on the Coates Bluff team had a very good lunch meeting today at Valencia Park with Councilman Monty Walford, Head of Caddo Parrish Department of Parks and Recreation Larry Reynolds, School District 4 representative Charlotte Crawley, and Stoner Hill Neighborhood representatives Bessie Smith and Howard Allen.

Thanks Jon Soul for making salad, Ian Webb for coming through with the s-video cable, John Davenport for his crime and property value write up, Robert Trudeau for his pictures, Feico Kempff for his research on ownership and easements, and Carolyn Manning for her great graphics and framing work on both the powerpoint and the flier.

Can't wait to share with everyone what we learned at our next meeting, but suffice it to say that it was step forward today, and we learned a lot about what we next need to do.

In the meantime, we were told at the meeting today that if you're able to go to the masterplan meetings tonight or tomorrow night, talk up greenways and bike paths!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why we're all green at heart, and should resist our own intolerances

This is a great 30 second video on green politics from

Anyone who disagrees with it should be exiled to Venus.

Lovingly, of course.

(But surely there'd be no exiles, right?)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Upcoming Master Plan Workshops

From Goody-Clancy, the firm in charge of creating the Master Plan for the city:

"The Shreveport-Caddo 2030 Master Plan team wants to hear about your neighborhood’s assets and issues in eight meetings set next week. The neighborhood workshops are taking place across four major districts, and will be followed by two November workshops, one discussing downtown and the waterfront, and one focused on strategies for revitalization, wherever it is needed in the Shreveport-Caddo planning area.

“We’ve heard from nearly 2,000 residents about the future of Shreveport-Caddo as a whole,” said Larissa Brown, Chief Planner for Goody Clancy, the firm hired to drive the master planning process. “Now, it’s time to find out what residents and business owners identify as the top priorities are for improvements in neighborhoods.” These priorities will inform the Master Plan’s approach to neighborhoods and specific topics, such as housing policy, transportation, and parks.

We encourage you to help us in promoting these workshops by emailing the attached flyer to your email contacts. You can also join in the neighborhood effort by distributing flyers this weekend. These meetings next week will focus on neighborhoods, so it’s a great time for people to come out to talk about what’s important to them for their specific areas!

Hit the streets this weekend to make sure your neighborhood is represented! ALL LIBRARIES WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS are participating in the “Neighbors Telling Neighbors Team” – this Saturday morning (10/24), volunteers are welcome to stop by any library to collect master plan neighborhood workshop flyers to distribute in their neighborhoods this weekend. Workshops include:


Monday, Oct. 26


Captain Shreve High School, 6115 East Kings Highway

Wednesday, Oct. 28


LSUS University Center, One University Place, 2nd Floor, Caddo Bossier Room


Tuesday, Oct. 27


C.E. Byrd High School, 3201 Line Avenue

Tuesday, Oct. 27


Caddo Career and Technology Center, 5950 Union


Monday, October 26


Southern Hills Business Association Conference Center, 9701 Baird Road

Wednesday, Oct. 28


Huntington High School, 6801 Rasberry Lane


Thursday, Oct. 29


Green Oaks High School, 2550 Thomas E. Howard Drive

Thursday, Oct. 29


Louisiana Technical College Shreveport-Bossier Campus, 2010 North Market Street


These workshops will discuss opportunities for revitalization in areas throughout the city, as well as possibilities for downtown, Cross Bayou and the waterfront.

Downtown/Waterfront Workshop:

Tuesday, November 17


Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, 400 Edwards Street

Revitalization Strategies Workshop:

Thursday, November 19


Willis-Knighton Community Center, 2401 Bessie Street

The City of Shreveport, Caddo Parish and the Metropolitan Planning Commission are the official sponsors and funders of the Master Plan process. All three agencies are fully committed to a transparent, open planning process with extensive public participation. The Metropolitan Planning Commission hired the firm of Goody Clancy to direct the planning process. Additional public workshops will be conducted to gather input into the plan itself, and in Summer, 2010 the citizen-infused emerging draft Master Plan will be given to the Metropolitan Planning Commission of Shreveport – Caddo Parish to review and forward to the City Council and Parish Commission for formal adoption.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Another recent convert to daily biking: Pete Haas, Shreveport, modified Trek

Bass cellist Pete Haas spends summers in Chautauqua, NY, performing classical music in an idyllic community. "Almost all my commuting in Chautauqua is by bike," said Haas. On his return to Louisiana this year he decided on a commuter bike for basic travel in East Shreveport.

He got advice from bike advocate / Red River Cycling owner Ian Webb, who recommended this modified Trek. Haas says his sister-in-law in California rides on a similar extended cargo bike.

See more below.

What do women want?

Thanks for Tim Wachtel and Jeff Wellborn for bringing this to our attention. (Ain't it helpful to have nerdy, science-reading friends?! Gotta love 'em!)

From Scientific American magazine:

How to Get More Bicyclists on the Road

To boost urban bicycling, figure out what women want

By Linda Baker

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jonesboro getting $1.7M grant to build greenway

From the Associated Press - October 10, 2009 9:14 PM ET

JONESBORO, Ark.. (AP) - The city of Jonesboro is receiving a $1.7 million federal grant that will be used to help build a greenway through the northeastern Arkansas town.

The grant is part of $35 million being disbursed among 125 scenic byways across the nation.

The 29-mile-long Jonesboro Greenway would wind its way through the city. A greenway is a linear park that accommodates pathways mostly used for foot or bicycle traffic.

The idea for the trail came about seven years ago after a local survey. The trail will be built in three phases and is being designed so that it is similar to the Arkansas River Trail.

Jonesboro Parks and Recreation Director Jason Wilkie says the greenway eventually could become part of the Mississippi River Trail, which is about 3,000 miles long and winds through 10 states.

Ever thought about biking to the south of town out into the country? Did you know that there's a levee that goes from Shreveport all the way to Alexandria? Did you know they've got levee top bike paths in Alexandria? Not to mention Bossier? We're just sayin'!....

Cultural Arts District Topics on the Table!

From Feico Kempff:
The Shreveport Cultural District has been designated to allow artists to sell their work without sales tax. Our group networks and brainstorms ideas to make the downtown area a "livable" neighborhood. Our vision is to revitalize our downtown and redevelop Texas Ave. as an artist and craft related working and living area. The group meets Mondays (like tomorrow) at 6:15PM at Centenary and the downtown focus group meets at Artspace, usually Wednesdays around lunchtime 11:30 to 1PM although a set time hasn't been confirmed.
We want you to stay in touch!! follow the website for events and news.
Feico Kempff,

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Other notes from last meeting

On potential partners, in particular we noted from the school board, Dawkins would be great; reads own email; Charlotte Crawley is school board member for this district;
Bessie Smith from Stoner hill; Howard Allen as well, and President Willie Pratt, and Deborrah Coleman of the community garden (which looks fantastic!) at Valencia. Mike Strong of DOS, Shelly Raigle and Tim Wachtel of SPAR; Monty Walford, Dawkins and Vinet in particular perhaps for this meeting.

David Aubry noted that we need to be succint, know what we want; have action items; don't want have more meetings. Be efficient with organized, quick, effective ways to make it happen.

We'll provide food for the lunch meeting. Would be October 19th.

In construction students of all types could help, from Centenary to Magnet.
The national guard oughta' be able to help; they do trail building and civil engineering projects; could cut costs that way; boy scouts another resource; national guard has equipment...

It was noted that when we consider the final plan, not all planners have experience with greenways; at some point we have to decide on the money we're gonna raise; in Roanoke the greenways board put the package together; we'd raise money privately and... we create a linear park and turn it over to parks and rec. department; would sharron write an initial conceptual plan that would cost estimate the actual plan; that could be contracted out to a planner with experience.

don't let them leave before asking them for: 8 feet of access that ties in stoner; dream of what we wnat and ask for partners; we've to other people on board, make some feel guilty if they're not on board

if sharron would draw on the map the trail and let people see it; can sell it;
kind of like to have dr. leuck go through and work the trail around certain large trees;

can get flagging tape with knot on the side of the trail.

NLCOG has money for safe routes to school; Dan Marcalus noted his father's work in Iowa; grants for transportation; Safety-lu; federal highway money; has to be some local match;

New Mayoral Committee on Energy Efficiency, Meeting with Potential Partners for Greenway, Design Discussed at Last Meeting

Summary of Last Meeting, 10/5/9, 6:15-7:30
In attendance: Dylan Breithaupt, Robert Trudeau, Ian Webb, Jon Soul, Loren Demerath, Sheri Kerr, Caroline Manning, David Aubry, Feico Kempff, Susan Keith, Cynthia Kieth, Jon Soul, Dan Marcalus

The meeting started with Ian Webb describing a committee on energy efficiency and conservation block grant programing that has been appointed by the mayor. The committee has nine members--including Ian and Jeanne Hamming--three consultants--including Kim Mitchel and Bruce Hoffman, and also has Wes Wyche, Tim Wachtel, Mike Strong serving as technical advisers.

The committee will be charged with developing strategies for using stimulus monies intended to fund improvements in our city's energy use efficiency. Hopefully, the proposals will be for implementing changes that will produce long-term improvements in energy efficiency, and may complement other needs too, such as health improvements that can come about by facilitating more walking and biking.

The committee will be coming up with strategies and identifying stakeholders; 8-10 different cities have received money and each city can build on each others' strategies; the feds want to see that happen: to give 2 million and have it turn it into 20; this isn't a rubber stamping committee; they'll make decisions and the mayor may modify them, but they're charged with developing strategies.

The U.S. Department of Energy would review proposals and suggest amendments.

The committee will be meeting once a week on Thursday evenings for the next six weeks.

The meeting then turned to the Coates Bluff Greenway proposal. Loren and Feico described their meeting with David Alexander last week with Sharron Swanson. One of the pressing needs we identified is to draw a preliminary plan, and find funding for a full plan. Then Alexander and other partners will know what specifically we'll need from them, such as the width of the easement.

The group learned that Sharron Swanson was drawing up some preliminary plans, pro bono, and it was suggested that might ask for similar donations of labor from Robert Vinet, a Magnet High alumnus who works for Burk-Klienpeter on the Concordia Place development.

It was also noted Jeff Girard said Coates Bluff could become an archeological conservancy; land owners would still own it; could still have a corridor for the greenway; Jeff is going to come back and register the graves and cemeteries; a private owner and a church own it currently, though the city may really own it if it's adjudicated.

It was said the strongest bet may be to have the greenway built, owned and maintained through public private partnership. It might be built with private funds, then leased to the city to maintain. It was noted that private developers often build roads then give them to the city to maintain.

Caroline told story of Katy bike path, and how it first ran through a blighted area that is now gentrified with very high property valued residences; people apparently want to live right on the bike path. Ian noted there is good info at on that kind of thing; Dan noted how city could use stimulus money, block grant money to construct and maintain it. It was noted that we need to get a political figure like Monty to champion it.

Accordingly, the group decided it was time to get key partners on board and to introduce the proposal to them. Chief among these partners is Monty Walford, the councilman in whose district would be the greenway. Other partners include the Caddo Parish School Board, the V.A. Hospital, Caddo Magnet High School, the Stoner Hill Lab Elementary School, the Montessori School for Shreveport, and the Stoner Hill Neighborhood Association. Caroline said she'd be willing to develop a flier to market the idea and the group was grateful for the offer.

Other things discussed:
Lack of doctoral programs in the city; In Ruston?; driving distance; Need for engineering, social work, business programs, etc. in Shreveport; Virginia has a system of combining programs; continuing ed programs for people not looking for student life; 4 separate systems here; budget cuts are forcing people to the table to consolidate and merge. LSUS merging with Tech a possibility.

Caroline asked if we had tree regulations in the city preventing people from cutting down large trees. It was thought we did not. Some noted the area cleared for the new development near Magnet appeared to have had many large trees. Those on bikes saw it is now completely clear during our Coates Bluff tour on Saturday.

It was noted that the dog park has not been approved and may have been put off until after elections. It appears people opposed to dog parks are ill-informed as to what they are how they work. Most communities that have them value them.

The next meeting is set for Monday the 12th from 6:15-7:30, where we'll largely plan the meeting of partners.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mission statement and objectives for the Downtown Group

This was sent to the list from Caroline Majors in regard to the Downtown group:

I have come across a few related publications that I'd love to add to our discussion about street improvements/bike infrastructure downtown.

The second link takes some time to download... but it's worth a look!

Also, in terms of discussing our mission, I would like to offer that there is a difference between a mission/vision statement that defines our purpose, our values -- and a set of principles, goals, or objectives that help us achieve our mission. I think both are valuable and work together. But ideally principles come from the overarching mission.

Also, all four of the values we discussed for our mission statement (Economic Prosperity, Environmental Sustainability, Cultural Vitality, Social Equity) are measurable. Attached is one brief example discussing the measurement of social equity. I think that, particularly in our community, social equity is a crucial value to consider in anything we pursue.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Jon Soul lead the Coates Bluff Greenway exploration through bamboo, briars, mosquitoes and poison ivy to see and feel the path's pleasures and potential

Jon Soul speaks to part of the group: L to r - Robin Jenkins, Maurice "Machete" Loridans, Sherry Kerr, Tom Giles and Charles Goldthwaite.

Next A Better meeting: Mon, Oct 5, Centenary Square, 6:15 pm.
More photos here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Historical Sites Signage, City Tours, and Getting Inside Downtown Homes among the topics at last ABS meeting

To briefly summarize the last ABetterShreveport meeting, Kern Courtney raised the idea of having signs posted around the city that would describe the importance of a particular site in terms of such things as historical events, notable architecture, or natural features such as rare flowers or state champion trees (see posts on this blog about the Velo Dendro tree tour of the city coming this fall--yes we've got at least one champ in our midst!).

Though there are currently historical marker signs, one improvement might be organize them and display that organization effectively. One could post signs of their locations on a posted map of the city, perhaps at central locations like City Hall, the Visitor's Bureau, the City Bus terminal, etc.


One wrinkle to the idea was to have a "mashup" of maps online, and where one could click on "tree tour" "historical tour" or "architectural tour" and see the sites posted on a city map with a recommended route one would take for follow the tour by bike.

It was also suggested that each location could have number posted on its respective sign. That number could be an extension of a phone number people could call on their cell phones. They would then hear a prerecorded lecturette (perhaps with background music, who knows?) on the site.


Hmm. Is there any stimulus money available for that? You hear that a lot these days, but it's an appropriate question for another idea of Kern Courtney's, that we ask that our city park restrooms be rennovated to include some of the ammenities that other more modern ones have. Those include no-water urinals (cleaner, and less maintaince as well being more eco-friendly--Centenary's got 'em thanks to Jeanne Hamming's Go Green initiative at the college) and ventilated toilets that are used at parks elsewhere.

It was noted that the amount of resources a city invests in its parks is a sign to business and "creative class" skilled-laborers that Shreveport is a place that cares about its quality of life, and is a good place to live and locate.


Speaking of good places to live... downtown? Are you nuts? Well, Cynthia Keith gave a testimony to the knock your socks off beauty and luxury that some people have achieved in downtown living spaces. Cynthia described what she saw on the homes of downtown tour sponsored by the Downtown Development Authority a few years ago.

With the talk of the new cultural district providing incentives to people to live downtown, is it possible to display images on a forum such as this of spaces like Cynthia saw? Could one do it without violating the privacy of the homeowners? Perhaps by not posting the owners name and address if so desired by the owner, and not showing window shots that would give the location away? It could inspire people to move downtown.

...Especially if we can get a Target downtown! (uh-oh. just lost some of you, and I didn't even use the "W" word.) Or a Trader Joe's and a Borders. (there. are we good again?)

Next meeting: Monday, October 5th, 6:15-7:30

Join us!

Positive Meeting Held with David Alexander of Vintage Realty for Coates Bluff Greenway; Itinerary Set for Saturday's Walking Tour

Yesterday, Feico Kempff, Sharron Swanson, and Loren Demerath had a good meeting with David Alexander of Vintage Realty. He's the main person behind the Riverscape Development that will be breaking ground soon at the southeast "corner" of Stoner Avenue and Clyde Fant Parkway. We talked about the possibility of a Coates Bluff Greenway skirting the edge of his development behind Magnet High School on its way between Savoir St. and Stoner.

David said Vintage is the kind of firm that is pro-walkability and bikability is open to the idea of a greenway. Loren talked about the current trends in people looking for housing on or near bike paths, and how it could add value to the development. Sharron talked about how the current street design of Riverscape might have to be altered to accommodate the path. Feico noted that none of us have an "interest" in the path, but would just like to see it happen for the city. Feico also mentioned the support we're getting from the National Park Service in promoting the plan, and we described the grant we won through their Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program to plan for a system of greenways throughout the city, with the Coates Bluff project as the first pilot project. David said he would talk to his partners about the project.

One of our next steps will be to find funding for planning and implementing the greenway. We discussed funding possibilities from ISTEA, Saftey-Lu, in terms of transportation, and other sources may range from those seeking to promote health, education, or history.

More immediately, our next step is literally a number of steps! There'll be a walking tour of the Coates Bluff Greenway site this Saturday morning at 9:00. Although neither David nor Sharron will be able to make it, other notables will, such as state archeologist Jeff Girard, local historian Gary Joiner, and outdoor educator Jon Soul. We'll meet at the Montessori parking lot on Sevier St.

Jon Soul just sent out the following itinerary:

9AM The Montessori School for Shreveport (front parking lot)

9:10 Overview of Coates Bluff history & Greenway project (maps/handouts provided)

9:30 Walking tour of existing bayou trail

10:00 Drive to Valencia Rec Center picnic shelter (refreshments/restrooms provided)

10:15 Walking tour of Coates Bluff

11:15 Return to shelter – discuss next steps & further information sharing

1l:30 Leave as needed

See details in a post below about the walk if you'd like more info. Please join us if you're inclined.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Downtown Group discusses issues and mission statement

From April Dahm:

Our next meeting will be next Wednesday, October 7, from 11:30-12:30. We will continue to meet at Artspace in the lower level. Please bring a lunch or feel free to order lunch from the cafe.
At our last meeting, we discussed the need to gain focus and we began to work on creating our mission statement which will guide our vision as we continue our work. Here are the 4 basic principles we agreed upon:
Economic Prosperity
Environmental Sustainability
Cultural Vitality
Social Equity
Some of the key phrases and words I jotted down whole discussing our mission statement included: invigorate, lifestyle, diversity, residential, retail, 24-hour activity, technology, quality of life, safety, growth, recreation, green space, services, transportation, alternative, history, arts.
Do you think that we all could bring at least one example of a mission statement based on the 4 principles to our next meeting? Even better, could we begin emailing each other our statements prior to the meeting? Nothing you write needs to be perfect, I am simply looking to get a starting place for our next meeting so we can start at 11:30 with a bang!
If you have trouble getting started or need a better idea of how to approach this task, here are some helpful websites:
Research a familiar non-profit and their mission statement should be on their website.
I want to say thank you to all of you for such great participation in last week's meeting. All of you bring so much positive thought and energy to this organization.
Looking forward to being with you all next Wednesday!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

October 3rd, 9 a.m. walking tour of Coates Bluff Greenway site

Several interested parties will taking a walking tour of the Coates Bluff Greenway site on October 3rd at 9 a.m. Those include Jeff Girard, Northwest Regional Archaeologist for Louisiana, local historian Gary Joiner, developer David Alexander, as well as ABS members Feico Kempff, Montessori School Outdoor Educator Jon Soul, Magnet High School teacher Robert Trudeau, and others.

The purpose of the walking tour is get a feel for what the greenway can be, and given that, how we can best promote its development.

Although we don't plan to be so adventurous as to walk the actual route of the greenway, we'll walk parts of it. We'll walk the old access road along Anderson Bayou, and into the woods onto Coates Bluff to view Cemeteries. With that in mind, long pants, long sleeves, and bug repellent might be good ideas.

Anyone who'd like to join us is welcome!

Refer to this map to see the Greenway's possible route and access spurs.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Open Houses announced for the Master Plan; more chances to help shape our city!

This was recently sent out by Phillip Bozeman, Co-Chair of the Citizen Advisory Group for the Master Plan:




At the citywide Visioning Forum in August and the Speak Out meetings in September, you told us what kind of place you want Shreveport to be.

A DRAFT of the 2030 Vision for the Shreveport community’s future is ready for you to tell us if we got it right! We want your feedback. This vision will set the framework for the full Master Plan.

Drop in anytime between 5:30 pm and 8:30 pm at any of the branch library locations below where you can….

• Find out more about the Master Plan

• View the results of the Master Plan visioning meetings held in August and September

• Review and comment on the Draft Vision and Statement of Principles

• Find out what’s next in the Master Plan process and how you can be involved

Can’t make any of the meetings?

Review and comment on the Draft Vision and Principles and find out more about the Master Plan online at

Tuesday, September 29



Wednesday, September 30



Thursday, October 1



Friday, September 18, 2009

Video of our sorry bicycle state

ABS member Steve Godfrey made a video of the difficulty of biking down Youree. And yes, lived to tell [show] the tale.

Steve is a professional advertising distributer by bicycle. He's at for those interested. (Not very .org of me to mention that. Ah well.)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Critical Manners," Oct. 3rd Coates Bluff tour, Podcasts and KSCL at last meeting

The following is a summary of our last meeting, on 9/14. We talked about:
  • bike trails in Iowa, Wisconsin, and elsewhere
  • "critical mass" vs. "critical manners" bike rides
  • the October 3rd tour of the Coates Bluff Greenway site
  • ideas for p.s.a.'s and interviews for KSCL
  • recorded two podcasts
In attendance: Rebecca Lehr, Zakk Owens, Maurice Loridans, the woman from Iowa, Loren Demerath, Robert Trudeau, Ryan Tew, Michael Laffey, Feico Kempff

April reported bike trails everywhere in Iowa, you see many cyclists, and can bike from Cedar Falls to Cedar Rapids; lots of people commuting, etc. Rebecca's from Milwaukee, and said you can bike to Madison without being endangered; a lot of people don't own cars there; just use public transportation and bike.

We the discussed safety. Steve said he's made his living off a bike for 14 years only once did something happen to him; though he escaped injury his bike was destroyed with a bus cut corner too closely.

Maurice said the people's arguments about biking being inherently unsafe only make sense until you recall the accidents that happen to people when they're in motor vehicles. "The roads are meat grinders; vultures love 'em."

Ryan and Maurice discussed the costs and benefits of "critical mass" rides; Maurice thinks they inflame the two camps. Police in some places have started to arrest the "corks" that block traffic. And there are incidents where cyclists surround and harrass drivers. It was noted that we appreciate southern hospitality. Steve says they're polite here, and rides on the side. Maurice said he enjoys his right to the center of the lane most of the time but invites people to pass; "they've got all those horses they've been using, let them use 'em." Steve said he and people like Maurice are among the few modeling use of the main arterial roads, but they're only a few people and could use help.

Ryan noted that we could use a campaign for increasing awareness; "critical mass" rides might be a first step. April noted it's good when it's planned and not a guerrilla move. Maurice noted that "critical manners" is the alter ego of facilitating transportation biking that happens in an organized, polite, safe way. Hallie Dozier's upcoming "Velo Dendro" is an example of that; teaching people safe riding techniques, etc. Robert asked if she had facebook page, and establishing one could help bring people, particularly recreational riders.

Turning to the Coates Bluff project, Robert said he talked with Tousant Bately about the greenway and he positive about the idea. Mr. Bately is a former Booker T. Washington principle and has been active in the city.

Loren mentioned that Saturday, October 3rd, at 9:00 a.m. is the walking tour of the Coates Bluff site with Jeff Girard, and hopefully two local historians, Eric Brock and Gary Joiner.

Tops on the to-do list for Coates Bluff is meeting with David Alexander, and getting materials for the Stacye Palmer of the National Parks Service who'll be helping to create the flier. Also helping with creating the vision could be KSCL.

Turning to downtown, it was noted that outlets such as blogging, Facebook, Youtube and KSCL radio could be used to publicize a vision of downtown and build momentum for using properties for more than speculation and tax write-offs. Video interviews could show articulate advocates of downtown there on sidewalk gesturing up at the buildings; Robert said he could shoot and edit, and April and others can speak; several people from Southern University have also been connected recently to our group and might be interested in helping.

Rebecca, Zakk, and others from KSCL could interview people who do live, or might consider living downtown, and could podcast those interviews as well as broadcast them. Michael Laughey, Faculty Advisor of KSCL, said we could submit a list of people to be interviewed with suggested topics or questions.

April Dahm mentioned that John Martin of the Peekers wrote a theme song for us, and that we might be able to use that for the theme of a program or podcast series.

Zakk then interviewed Steve and Maurice about their biking in the city, and April about downtown.

April announced that the next downtown lunch meeting will be Monday the 21st, 11:30 to 12:30 in ArtSpace on Texas St.

Our next regular evening meeting has been temporarily moved to Thursday night from 6:15 to 7:30 where we'll concentrate on public service announcements and radio/podcast/youtube programing.

If you're interested, come on!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Joint council and parrish commision meeting, KSCL programing, Operation T.B.O.N.E., and other topics discussed at 8/31 meeting
Originally uploaded by trudeau
From Loren Demerath -

First, we had a packed meeting a week ago Monday which I summarize below. Our next one will be on the 14th—we skipped a week for Labor Day. Our nomination of board members and officers have been postponed until that meeting, and our election will be a week after that, on the 21st (at least, I think that’s what we agreed to).

At the last meeting we discussed:

* city council and parish commission meeting on the master plan
* the bike routes project
* Coates Bluff Greenway
* T.B.O.N.E.

In attendance: Zakk Owens, Merwin McCrady, John Davenport, Loren Demerath, Shreveport Police Chief Whitehorn, Cheryl Jeter, Jim Holt, Ryan Tew, Maurice Loridans, April Dahm, Steve Godfrey, Rebecca Lehr, Bob Markey, David Aubry, Matthew Linn, Susan Keith, Cynthia Keith, Dan Marcalus.
COUNCIL AND COMMISSION MEETING ON MASTER PLAN: The group discussed the meeting at Government Plaza earlier that day. It was noted that some council members expressed concern about representation, but it was also noted that representation appeared to be quite diverse, and that there appears to be no consensus on the standards for judging success or failure for the vissioneering forum. Assessments seemed to be based on anecdotal evidence.

It was noted that Citizens Advisory Group is apparently taking steps to reach more people by going to high schools and facilitating dialogue about what the plan for our city should look like. It was noted that some people in particularly low income areas may not feel welcome or secure at those schools, and that churches and community organizations may also be good places for the C.A.G. to go to hold "mini-visioneering" conversations. (This was noted by Barbara Jarrell and supported by Monty Walford at the joint meeting earlier, as well).
ON THE TOPIC OF OUTREACH: Loren said he had discussed with Michael Laughy, the faculty advisor to KSCL, about doing public service spots in the spaces that appear to be available in the during Tim Fletcher's morning sports talk show. Zakk mentioned if we were to have a program we could invite people into the booth to talk if they sign a contract saying they agree to not violate FCC rules, etc.

It was also noted that during the joint council-commission master plan meeting ABetterShreveport was singled out several times as being a means of getting more people involved in the conversations surrounding the master plan. During our own meeting it was mentioned that ABetterShreveport could craft Public Service Announcements, and perhaps even produce a show to be aired on Centenary's radio station, KSCL 91, that would publicize and discuss master plan issues, as well as other issues and projects related to improving the city. It so happened that three Centenary students who are active at Centenary's radio station, KSCL, were in attendance at the meeting: Zakk Owens, Merwin McCrady, and Rebecca Lehr.

NOMINATIONS FOR BOARD MEMBERS AND OFFICERS: A number of people were mentioned as being possible board member nominees because of their consistent activity in the group: Dan Marcalus, April Dahm, Maurice Trudeau, Ian Webb, David Nelson, Robert Trudeau, Feico Kempff, Jon Soul, Ryan Tew, Stewart Greathouse, Mark Goadrich, Troy Messina, among others. Currently, Ian, Loren, and Maurice are the sole board members of the organization. It was suggested that on the 14th we nominate board members and officers.

BIKE ROUTES PROPOSAL: It was reported that Jo Rose is the lobbyist commissioned to monitor the planning on the Jimmy Davis Bridge amendments that will allow cyclists and pedestrians to pass between riverside bike paths of Shreveport and Bossier respectively, and that Kent Rogers had been contacted to talk with Ian Webb about the planning.

The overall proposal was described briefly for benefit of the new attendees. Maurice also made a suggestion to Chief Whitehorn that the police on patrol in squad cars use their public address systems atop the cars to notify bikers who are biking on the wrong side of the street that their safety will be improved biking with the traffic—not to mention, perhaps, that they are legally required to bike with the traffic, and not against it, and that they endanger other bikers when they are on the wrong side of the street.
It was mentioned how the police could help educate bikers as to safety, even by writing citations. It was also mentioned that PSA's might help. It was also noted that there is a fine production studio at Booker T. Washington high school, and students could be involved in producing the public service announcements, and would be a way of crafting community specific announcements.

COATES BLUFF GREENWAY: The greenway project was described and to-do’s were reviewed. It was mentioned that state contacts existed for south caddo parish verteran's sites; operation iraqi freedom had funding; in general we could link the project to the VA hospital, considering it will be a path that features a cemetery of with veteran’s graves. It was also noted that the fact that they are unmarked graves complicates things; that agencies could come in with federal mandate and bring things to a halt. Feico Kempff reported that he and Sharron Swanson met Friday and formed a game plan on the next steps.

THE DOWNTOWN GROUP reported it was compiling a mailing list and would soon regular meeting time. It was noted that one of the goals of the group would be to coordinate property owners and help promote a vision that would allow those owners to profit from developing downtown, and allow the rest of the city to profit from having it be developed. As it currently stands, the many vacant and underused properties may only benefit property owners for tax purposes.

OPERATION T.B.O.N.E.: Director Jim Holt and Police Chief Henry Whitehorn then described Operation T.B.O.N.E. and how the program can help the city by identifying property owners—particularly lax landlords—who are neglecting their property to the detriment of the community. The website describes the program in detail, and it was agreed at the meeting that it was good for citizens to know about the program so they can help facilitate its operation.

Director Holt pointed out that ABetterShreveport's own Dan Marcalus is an example of the kind of property owner that improve the community by rescuing buildings marked for demolition and renovating them. It was noted that the building restoration cooperative discussed by ABS might be a resource for Operation TBONE, perhaps pointing property owners to it as a resource as they attempt to bring their properties to acceptable standards.

The next ABetterShreveport meeting will be on Monday the 14th at 6:15 p.m. in Centenary Square, across the street from George's Grill, in room 206.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Announcement from Master Plan Citizen Advisory Group

To: Community Advisory Group – Great Expectations Visioning Forum, Project SB participants, Council/Commission

From: Phillip Rozeman, David Aubrey

RE: High Priority – Master Plan Speak Out! events

The Great Expectations Visioning Forum was overwhelmingly positive despite some “technical difficulties” with technology. 93% of participants rated the event as good or excellent overall – nearly 90% rated facilitators good or excellent. Out of nearly 300 submitted surveys, only 6 gave the event poor ratings.

The CAG will extend the opportunity to more people to have their voice heard in the master plan visioning process.

We will hold the events in every neighborhood high school during the week of September 14-17th. We are basing the curriculum of this event around the morning of the August 22nd event. We have contracted with the same group responsible for data entry and analysis at the August 22nd event to integrate the data and provide quick turnaround so information will be available to inform the visioning process.

The CAG taskforce for these forums has been working at a fast pace to move this initiative forward. The attachments with this email give some of the vision and particulars. A communication campaign will begin on Tuesday, September 8 after Labor Day (see attachments).

We will hold a news conference on Tuesday, September 8 at 10:00 am at Sci-Port Discovery Center and we would like as many people to come as possible. Please mark your schedule if you can attend on such short notice.

Our taskforce asks again for your help in two ways. The first is to send this email and/or attachments to your email network. The second is an S.O.S for table facilitators for the events on September 14-17th. We will need table facilitators throughout the week. Noting the schedule – if you are willing to participate in this event as a table facilitator, please reply to this email concerning days you would be willing to serve.

For those able to attend, there will be identical facilitator meeting at Sci-Port Discovery Center on Thursday, September 10 at 12 noon and 5:30 pm.


Phillip Rozeman

David Aubrey