Friday, July 17, 2009

National Park Service reps from NO & Atlanta to meet with ABS on Greenways plan Tues, July 21, 9:30 am

From Loren Demerath . . .
Hello All,

First, let me announce that Stacye Payne and Bill Lane of the National Park Service will be coming in from New Orleans and Atlanta, respectively, to meet with us about the Greenways plan on Tuesday. We'll meet at 9:30, after our regular meeting at 8:20. Anyone who'd like to attend is welcome.

Thanks to all who met this past Tuesday. In attendance: Jamie Johnson-Eddie, Mark Goadrich, Maurice Loridans, Feico Kempff, Ford Bevens, Robert Trudeau, and Loren Demerath.

The group continued it's work on submitting to the city a request for a committee to oversee the implementation of a bike-ped action plan, first by reviewing materials compiled by Jamie. Jamie distributed handouts printed from the League of American Bycyclists and Bicycling that showed ways of measuring and improving the degree to which bicycling and walking is encouraged in a community. A variety of cities--large to small--were rated. We discussed the materials and noted that in the course of reviewing them one can see there are questions we need to answer as a group, such as what we want the city to look like in 20 years, what we want our goals to be, is there a way to grow a network of bike routes. Maurice talked a bit about the debate over lanes, and the history of our bike trail in Shreveport, designed by Tim Wachtel, and how Tim has extended it in recent plans. We also discussed how the grassy area between Preston and bike trail is the goat head thorn zone where many a flat has occurred. Maurice said that Tim has said that if he can get funding he'll put in a path from Preston to the bike path. All agreed it was needed.

Returning to the discussion of the materials that can help with bike-ped action plans, we noted that sample action plans have good things to put in our request letter. One example is the League of Bicyclists' action plan.

Jamie encouraged everyone to look at the application to the League of Bicyclists' "Bicycle Friendly Community Program". To quote from the website: "The Bicycle Friendly Community Program provides incentives, hands-on assistance, and award recognition for communities that actively support bicycling." The audit asks questions that can help us sort out our personal feelings toward the goals we might have, and addresses everything from logistics and education to planning. The application can be found here.

The group also discussed why we would ever promote something like bike commuting in the first place, as Loren pointed out the one premise of the group has been that it recommends things for the city based on research on what makes communities happy and healthy; that research is what helps us sort out our goals. For example, research shows that long commutes are not desirable, sedentary lifestyles are unhealthy, etc.

Jamie and Maurice mentioned how the safe routes to schools program can be used to help us, and that the League's campagn for Bike Friendly Communities can too. Ford and Feico mentioned how neighborhood schools such as Arthur Circle Elementary have already used it to have a bike/walk to school day. Jamie mentioned that Trek has 2 mile challenge it promotes, asking people to try biking two miles to work or school.

We then read Maurice's draft of an ordinance that would ensure the connectivity of residential subdevelopment (often a problem created by cul-de-saqs). He also mentioned how many of his favorite routes used to have public right-of-ways that were maintained, but were eventually abandoned by the city, and now are blocked by private owners' fences, so that one can no longer pass through. The group liked Maurice's ordinance, which is as follows:

"Where a subdivision developer seeks to permit a new subdivision development that is not connected to the neighboring subdivisions by secondary streets (cul de sac) there shall be included pathways, paved or unpaved, in each cardinal direction not connected by secondary streets or an arterial road, to allow pedestrian, wheelchair, and non motorized vehicular access to present or future residential or commercial developments in such direction."

Jamie noted that we've been focusing on us as cyclists, but we're not addressing lower income cyclists; do we want to develop cycling options for professionals, or improve safety education for others? The group discussed that and seemed to want to encourage both. Maurice talked about his personal efforts to educate people on saftey, often handing out pamphlets to other cyclists (who might have going the wrong way and heading right at the other cyclist) and he is always thanked for it. On the subtopic of proper bike behavior with regard to stop signs and such, Loren noted that road rules are made for motor vehicles, not cyclists, and all admitted to rolling through stop signs in residential neighborhoods when no bikes were present. All also agree though, that the ambassador rule is a good one: if motor vehicle drivers are present, behave yourself and obey the law.

The group then discussed the draft of the letter requesting that the Mayor appoint a committee to oversee the implementation of a bike-ped masterplan. Some suggestions were made, such as adding citations.

Mark Goadrich presented his research on bike route signage, and agreed to put together a proposal for signs that considers the constraints of reguations as well as the desires of the group. The group also discussed the benefits of route names vs. numbers, the former's meaning being clearer and the latter by code that only insiders would know. The group also discussed the need for bike racks around the city, and how there are newer better standards to follow; it would be unfortunate if the city decided to adopt the older, flawed standards.

The group then reviewed Ford Bevens' rough sketches of letterhead logos. Ford received complements from the group on the quality, and the group was enthusiastic about the potential for coming up with an appealing logo that communicated the general goals of the group. A logo that featured a downtown with pedestrians and cyclists would communicate the essence of smart growth and alternative transportation.

The group discussed how the logo should perhaps be distinct, especially if we expect it to be maintained by people who have no connection to

The group discussed breifly the coop center idea for food, building restoration, and bicycles. When it was mentioned that community ratings of bicycle friendliness are affected by such things as whether there are businesses that make showering available for employees, one person noted that a bike coop could have showers. Although it was noted that those showers would only serve businesses that are downtown, it was also noted that such a facility could attract more businesses to locate there.

Robert reported that the technology group was had a meeting and are working on a facebook presence and we are all encouraged to join twitter to use it as a link and promotional tool. John Christopher Martin wanted to start a database as a way to exchange goods and services, sort of like craigslist--which isn't used much in Shreveport, and was excited about helping ABS. He's a leader of the Peekers, and we're excited about him helping.

the rest of my notes:

need spiral ramp for texas st. bridge.

plenty of old pipe around to weld for bike racks.

color coding routes by difficulty/transportation uses as well as by routes

nonprofit: until you've got enough income to afford the accounting, better to piggy back; when we get to that step need board of directors and treasury... but if you don't have one we're less attractive to be sued; but we can be sued as partners in a venture. joining orgs like the league make it easier, but still a month of full time stuff to jump through hoops; the process is simple of having them insure you; regardless of insurance, you need the stuff that they'd ask for like certified instructors, accounts of incidents, etc. the league doesn't require followup paperwork. the association of american canoists destroyed our clinic cuz of the insurance...

jamie and maurice think we should never get into the event planning business ever.
event s are good for promoting bikeSB, and ABS could help organizations plan events... e.g., mountain bikers: LOCO that does LOOCOFEST if they wan to grow that... but they're masters of the technique of do it first and ask for forgiveness later. but were told by a ranger a couple of years ago to take them down.

Finally, we've just been asked if we'd consider writing a letter of support for a grant the city is applying for to the EPA to help fund the part of our Master Plan that would reduce carbon emissions. Seems like a no-brainer that we would. More on that on Tuesday.

Oh, and for those interested:
The next monthly meeting of the Red River Coalition of Community Gardeners (RRCCG) will be Monday, July 20th , 5:30 – 6:30 at the Caddo Extension Office located at 2408 E. 70th.

Phew! That's it folks!

Join us Tuesday morning at 8:20 for work on our proposal for an bike-ped action plan! Not to mention afterwards to meet with the Park Service folks, if you've a mind to!

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