Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Better Shreveport: plan ahead for The Great Expectations Visioning Forum on Sat, Aug 22, at Shreveport Convention Center

A Better Shreveport
Originally uploaded by trudeau
Thanks to all who contributed to a productive meeting yesterday. In attendance were April Dahm, Feico Kempff, Marcus Morton, Jon Soul, Dan Marcalus, Maurice Loridans, David Nelson, Barbara Jarrell, Robert Trudeau and Loren Demerath.

First, let me announce that we decided yesterday to meet again next week, Tuesday at 8:20 a.m. as usual, to discuss our letterhead logo with local artist Ford Bevins. April and Feico will also be announcing another downtown lunch meeting at ArtSpace soon, so stay tuned for that.

By way of beginning the summary of yesterday's meeting, the reason we want to move ahead asap with the letterhead logo is that during our meeting we discussed three different letters that could be sent from our organization.
1. a letter asking city government to establish road building standards that will consider the needs of pedestrians and cyclists (already drafted by Barbara and Steve Shelburne).
2. a letter asking city government to make cul-de-saq throughways for pedestrians and cyclists mandatory (to be drafted by Maurice).
3. a letter asking the Red River Waterway Commission to address the flooding that it has caused at Bickham Dickson Park
4. a letter asking Goody-Clancy, the Metropolitan Planning Commission, and the Citizen Advisory Group, to consider incorporating the plan of a network of greenways that is being produced by us and the National Park Service into the city's comprehensive master plan .

One of the topics discussed was the upcoming "visioning" meeting on August 22nd, and how having members of our group there will allow us to voice our concerns and desires for the plan.

On the related subject of what we want for downtown, April and Feico reported on the last downtown meeting, how the issue of the cultural district--Texas Ave--and downtown retail--Texas STREET--can collapsed, for our purposes. Feico said he wanted to find out what the creative, tech oriented businesses in town would want and need to locate and live in the cultural district. Loren said he thought many of the needs would be what Don Shea said people want to live downtown generally: groceries, a sense of security, optimally an elementary school and child care. It was mentioned that the subjective sense of security is more the issue than actual security; the crime rates are reportedly low downtown.

The group also discussed how setting standards as part of the master plan would help assuage concerns about how inviting "big box" retail like Walmart or Best Buy would mean tearing down the architectural beauty that is one of the city's great resources.

Another topic discussed was how to recruit more people and interest into our group and its projects via a website, facebook groups, and twitter. April noted that she stumbled on an important group recently via twitter. About half the group admitted they weren't on facebook, but the organizational power provided by social networking sites was acknowledged by all, especially for younger people.

To better promote ABS, we agreed that our new name could be, and that using that name points people to a web presence and indicates the public interest mission of our group, not to mention a certain level of commitment and seriousness of purpose. Moreover, it was reported to grateful ears that Mike Herold had said he might be willing to improve our web site and blog's designs, and help administer them. Loren also expressed much thanks to Robert Trudeau for the photostream of the downtown meeting, and noted how effective photos are at giving a sense of what our meetings are like.

It was hoped that the group might be able to recruit student interns, perhaps paid if we can get the funding, to record our meetings, help submit material to the blogs and web site, report on city government work sessions, and any other tasks related to ongoing projects.

Turning to our bike route planning, Loren reported on how Ford Bevins was drawing up logos, signs, and maps in the hopes that streets would painted with logos of optimal routes, and signs posted indicating the routes with a map of the route system.

Marcus said it would be useful for us to look at what Santa Monica has done with their "Share the Road, It's the Law" program. Marcus also mentioned that one of the advantages Shreveport has that places like Santa Monica doesn't is a lack of development that can make people guarded about making any changes; change here would be welcomed.

Maurice reported that Texas and Lousiana both just passed bills giving 3 feet of clearence when motorists pass non-motorized persons, but while the Texas governor vetoed the bill, our own Governor Jindal signed ours.

The group also discussed the I-49 survey, the site, and whether or not the interstate should go up a different route than North Market. Some asked what would happen to North Market if the interstate took the route west of Market, and that it seemed a waste. Loren described Murray Lloyd's idea of a parkway that seemed a more efficient use of space, better for the North Market property owners that desperately need help, and would preserve the wildlife area to the west of Market.

That was about it. Come next week, ya'll, and get in on the talk, and help us push forward. We'll likley have letter drafts to review and approve. Plus, we'll put on our marketing and promotions hats as we give Ford ideas and feedback on an logo for letterhead and cards.

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