Wednesday, July 29, 2009 meeting last Tuesday on Coates Bluff Greenway, property issues, and more...

We had another good meeting this past Tuesday. Attending were Mark Goadrich, Ford Bevens, Jon Soul, Loren Demerath, Ian Webb, Barbara Jerrell, April Dahm, and Feico Kempff.

We talked mainly about the Coates Bluff Greenway:
  • Property issues
  • Possible routes
  • Potential partners
We also discussed facebook uses for ABetterShreveport, the remarkable growth of the group (over 700 members in four days!), the downtown group's upcoming meeting, and non-profit formation issues.


Jon talked to us about the progress he and his team have made on the Coates Bluff Greenway. We discussed property ownership issues, and April and Feico volunteered to use their oil and gas property research expertise to find out the details. Ian referred us to an e-mail exchange between he and Michael Carmody on the history of relevant legal decisions and forwarded the email to some of us. There should apparently be information in the city attourney's office that should help clarify the issue.

We discussed our non-profit status, and received a donation from one of our members present that would pay for our filing fee to the Secretary of State of Louisiana.

April noted that we need to have a meeting devoted to strategic planning, including polishing our mission statement and bylaws.

We discussed the kind of organization we are, and noted that we have no interest in fighting case-by-case disputes with the zoning appeals board, for example, but would be interested in facilitating people's ability to fight those disputes, such as pointing someone to the best means of making their case heard.

Loren reported on his and Robert Trudeau's exploration [SEE POST BELOW] of the greenway's terrain, including the forest density, the hilliness, the bayous, etc. They discussed the possibility of having a branch of the greenway go along the border of Swepco park that would be easy to construct and make the forest open to the park. Jon noted that the main trail, though, should provide a sense of being surrounded by forest, and should maximize one's contact with nature. We all agreed that as well as being an efficient means of transportation the trail should preserving the history and natural character of the area. We also agreed that we needn't be specific about the route at this point, but merely identifying the corridor that could be used for the benefit of the city is enough to get the partners involved to help it be constructed out of what has been unused for decades.

Feico talked about his research on the Coates Bluff cemetary, and how there is a state law that says how to preserve old cemeteries; a type of archeological ordinance. Feico interviewed the owners of the cemetaries with Dale Jennings, a local historian.

The group also talked about the need to eventually deal with the transition from coates bluff greenway to the rest of the Shreveport world. We talked about how difficult it can be for bikers to cross Youree at Washington or Stoner, one of us having done so recently with his family. It was noted that there are intelligent traffic control systems in existance for bikers and pedestrians, and do exist in some places in Shreveport. It was noted that some types are not effective, such as the flashing red light in front of the splash fountain on the Parkway that most of us didn't know existed because we hadn't noticed it. Mark noted that it was very difficult to walk around the 70th and Youree area, but which should be a biking destination. Ian noted that he'd do it alone, but not with his son, which is a good indication of an area that people would perceive as unsafe to bike or walk.

We discussed briefly the need to find a new meeting time once school starts, as some of us won't be able to continue Tuesday mornings. The first and third Monday or Tuesday nights of each month from 7 to 8 was nominated as a time. (Suggestions are welcome!)

When Jon talked with residents before the cleanup, many said they'd like same treatment of their bayou that the folks along E. Kings receive. Jon has put a trash can by the fishing spot and it looks as if it is getting some use, but at first was ignored. We agreed that we wanted to involve the residents and users of the area in planning the greenway.

One potential partner mentioned was the Native Plant Society, and to improve the land there we could work to getting the bamboo and kudzu out; when we get to the point where we're moving forward with improvements, the Red River Wildlife Refuge is a potential partner, and we could contact Ed Leuck; a botany professor at Centenary, and he can identify what's a major native tree and what has impact.

Jon asked Feico if he'd head up the next meeting about this as school is about to start for Jon and he's getting overloaded, and since we're waiting for property research by April and Feico, and Feico said he would. Feico will also be setting up a meeting with David Alexander. It was noted that other others, such as Link Coleman, who owns the Willows apartments, might follow suit in supporting the greenway and offering to link to it from their property. Their problems concern cost and liability; but donate the land to a trust can relieve them of that responsibility.

It was noted that the kind of nature trails in Walter B. Jacobs park could be a model for what the Coates Bluff nature trail would look like. The name of Coates Bluff Greenway was discussed and more various reasons was thought to be the best of the alternatives mentioned.

April announced the meeting next Wednesday with the Goody Clancy local person on the planning process from 11:30 to 12:30 downtown at ArtSpace. April said the downtown group will begin meeting weekly and they will be settling on the time and place soon. The link to register for the August 22nd meeting is

Jon refered us to two sites: can be used to find the best routes by surface, etc., and www.1world2wheels offers support on planning for bikability.

Though the Downtown Group will meet next Wednesday, the next meeting for the general group will be August 11th. We're making exciting progress on both the greenway and the bike routes plan! Onward and upward!

Coates Bluff / Stoner Hill nature trail exploration

Intrepid trekkers Loren Demerath and Robert Trudeau recently grabbed vegetation cutters, gloves and long sleeves and picked their way along the proposed nature trail territory that lies between Caddo Magnet High and the Fant Parkway.

Trudeau, who has taught geography at CMHS for decades, had never explored the terrain adjacent to his classroom. "For years I've taken my students to the fence to discuss the terrain on the back side or river side of Magnet. But I based my remarks and questions on historic material and geographic generalities. Now I'll be able to give first-hand descriptions. And I was surprised to find an active bayou at the bottom of the old Bayou Pierre channel."

Both of the hikers felt strongly that the forest - cut through with old pathways of varying size and direction - offers a rich opportunity for development as a historic and nature trail.

Initiative and research for this proposal has come from the equally intrepid Jon Soul and Feico Kempff.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tomorrow's meeting agenda, Facebook, Coates Bluff explorations, etc.

First off, if you're reading this, you might be interested in joining our Facebook group. In the first three days of the group it's grown to almost 700 members. It's nice forum for having discussions (there's a few going on already), and for sharing information about things that could help us improve our city.

So, if you haven't joined us already, consider joining and inviting your "Facebook friends".

Anyway, we'll meet tomorrow at 8:20 at Centenary Square, as usual. Again, that's across the street from George's Grill; enter from the back parking lot and you can't miss us.

We'll talk:
  • update on non-profit status
  • to do's on the bike routes plan
  • to do's on the Coates Bluff greenway
    • report from Robert and Loren on what they learning on their scouting hike
    • (an idea that came to us was removing the fence going along the edge of the forest and having that be a paved bike path go along the back borders of Magnet HS and Swepco Park before going into the forest below Coates Bluff)
    • Stacye Palmer's help with promotion, our further thoughts on design, routes, etc.
  • logo for ABS letterhead
  • improvements to site
  • improvements to site
  • discussion topics for Facebook site
  • other uses for Facebook site
Join us!

Friday, July 24, 2009

ABS meets with National Park Service, moves toward non-profit status, supports a city grant, gets media coverage, and more!

This post provides updates on:
  • recent media coverage
  • non-profit steps taken
  • the new facebook group
  • additions to on safety and legality
  • ABetterShreveport letter in support of a city application to the E.P.A.
  • summary of last meeting's discussion on:
    • abandoned railway
    • bike route plan
    • whether and how to monitor the Zoning Appeals Board
    • non-profit status
  • summary of meeting with Stacye Palmer of the National Park Service
    • Coates Bluff greenway
    • Bike routes plan


Thanks to Kate Archer Kent for her fine story about our group which aired Tuesday morning on KDAQ, Red River Radio. For those who missed it, here it is:
And while we're going through KDAQ's archives, I might as well point us to the story Kate did on the greenways proposal back in May:

O.K., well, back to earning our press.

Ian and I are filing the non-profit papers. We've now got our Federal Tax I.D. Number, we've deposited our first donation check, and we're on our way. We'll be receiving our certificate from the state within a month. Hooray!

We discussed possible members of the board of directors at the meeting. In addition to prime movers and contributors, a lawyer and an accountant would be handy to have on "board".

Robert Trudeau has set up a facebook group for us. I believe you can get to it and join it by going to the link below:;
Joining helps our numbers, helps us network, allows us to solicit and distribute information, all of which can make our proposals stronger and more likely to succeed. So, please do join.

Once you join, you can also then send a batch invitation to all of your "friends" to join as well. No one gets repeated invitations as Facebook doesn't send an invite to someone if they've already received one. Might as well put these new fangled social networking sites to use for us; the rest of the world sure does.

In fact, it's already proving to be an effective way of building our member, and more than just numbers; there's been a fair amount of activity on the discussion forum just in the first few days.


Our new site is developing. Robert added Maurice's wonderful pamphlet on the pleasures, saftey, and legality of biking for transportation.

We're working on putting a map image on the front page, as well as adding other stuff. Let us know if you'd like to help and we'll give you administrator privileges. All you gotta do is ask!


Roy Jambor called and asked for a letter in support of the city's application to the E.P.A. for help funding the aspects of the city's master planning that would work towards reducing carbon emissions (primarily by increasing access to public transit and promoting density in our development). I've attached a copy of the letter for your perusal in case any of you are interested.

Whatever we can do to promote planning for a healthy, happy city, we'd be behind. I think we'd all agree that it's good thing that our group is be able to help the city's effort in that regard.


Thanks to all contributed. In attendence: Sally Spruel, Mark Goadrich, Ian Webb, April Dahm, Feico Kempff, Loren Demerath.

(Now that I write this, I realize that we forgot to share this first item with Stacye Palmer; we should mention it in the future. She might could help us write a grant for it.)

Our meeting started with a discussion of the abandoned railway that runs across the Kansas City Southern Railroad Bridge (the only bridge of it's kind left in North America, I believe--and which Sharron Swanson successfully worked to have donated to the city) from Caddo Street all the way to the Arkansas state line. This is a resource that could readily transformed into a real drawing card for our area: a long distance bike trail cutting through the countryside. It would be readily transformed because it's been done so often and so successfully elsewhere around the country. The Rails to Trails Conservancy specializes in taking old railways just like this and turning them into beautiful bike paths. Doesn't it sound great? I'd be up for teaming up to write a grant for that.

Sally Spruell shared her recent experiences with the Zoning Appeals Board. She asked if might want to monitor the Board. There was a concern that the Board might not consistently follow principles of preserving neighborhood attributes, but instead often responds more to the intensity and number of objections to any given proposal. The group seemed divided on the question of whether ABS weighing in on one case would change the overall pattern of how the Board makes its decisions. It was also recommended that emailing, blogging, even twittering live from the meetings to a large group of people would enable others to become informed and to support or object to a specific change being proposed at a meeting.

The group discussed the bike route plan, and Mark Goadrich updated us on his research into the kinds of standardized signs that would serve the project, and the bike lanes vs. sharrows debate, as noted in a post below here on this blog.

The group was in favor of moving forward on non-profit status, noting that it would allow us to accept donations and to win grant funds to use for small things like buying letterhead and coffee for meetings, or larger projects such as greenways, downtown development, creating a bike route system, a food/bike/hardware coop center, etc.

There was some discussion of the kinds of board members that we would want. Some suggested using people outside the regular group, to take advantage of their expertise or vantage points. Others suggested using insiders, at least at first, mainly to maintain the cohesiveness we have developed in our thinking about what the mission and nature of the group.


Stacye Palmer of the National Park Service then met with us about what we had been working on since meeting with her in December. We told her about how our work had become focused recently on the bike route network and the Coates Bluff Trail project. Both can be seen as part of an alternative transportation network, and the Coates Bluff Trail could be a pilot greenway--though not one that uses the drainage ditches as proposed in our grant.

We described, the historic nature of Coates Bluff and the abandoned cemetaries in the forest there, and how a nature trail loop could go off the greenway to provide a tourway for education on nature and history. We also described the different partners that could potentially be involved with us in creating the Coates Bluff greenway and adding value to that area: neighborhood churches and community organizations such as the Stoner Hill Neighborhood Association, the Stoner Hill Lab elementary school, Magnet High School, Swepco Park (adjacent to Magnet), David Alexander and Vintage Realty's Riverscape Development, and the Clyde Fant DGC Veterans Park, the Caddo Parish School Board, and the Shreveport Department of Public Assembly and Recreation.

As well as helping us with our bike routes network, Stacye said she would help us develop a promotional flier for the Coates Bluff greenway that would help our potential partners and others conceptualize how the greenway could benefit the city as whole, and that area in particular.

Onward and upward! We'll be meeting on Tuesday again, 8:20 a.m. in Centenary Square. See you then!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Please see updates at the new ABetterShreveport site,

Progress is occuring at the recently established Photos and links have been added this week.

The latest addition is the well-composed article, Bicycling and the Law from a Bicycle Commuting Lawyer, the material from Maurice Loridans' time-tested brochure.

Feedback welcome at

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bicycle Route Guide Signs and Sharrows

National Standards for Bicycle Route Guide Signs and Markings.

According to MUTCD, we would be proposing Bicycle Route Guide signs. Background must be green, text and border are white (Section 2A.11). Section 9 discusses all approved signs pertaining to bicycles. Minimum sizes are specified in section 9B.3.

Our sign cluster would have:
  • Standard Bike Route - D11-1
  • Destination - D1-1
  • Directional Arrow - M7-1 to M7-7 depending on the arrow type

Underneath this cluster would be the locally designed Best Bicycle Route map depicting all routes, and a link to


From the Seattle Department of Transportation website

Shared Lane Pavement Marking a.k.a Sharrows

Shared lane pavement markings (or “sharrows”) are bicycle symbols that are placed in the roadway lane indicating that motorists should expect to see and share the lane with bicycles. Unlike bicycle lanes, they do not designate a particular part of the roadway for the use of bicyclists.

What do sharrows mean for motorists and bicyclists?

• Expect to see bicyclists on the street
• Remember to give bicyclists three feet of space when passing
• Follow the rules of the road as if there were no sharrows

• Use the sharrow to guide where you ride within the lane
• Remember not to ride too close to parked cars
• Follow the rules of the road as if there were no sharrows

Sharrows are a recent development, currently in testing stages in San Francisco, Seattle, Cincinnati, and other large cities. Sharrows have been recommended for inclusion in the next MUTCD manual, but as of now, there is not an official guideline for their size.


Tuesday agenda

Dog day at Captains Game, Friday
Nat'nl Park Service today on greenways
Troy Messina's message
A check to deposit...
  • establishing ourselves as a non-profit (it's time!)
  • letterhead
  • bike route plan
  • pilot greenway

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!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bike Route Network, Cycling events, Bickham-Dickson Park, Great Expectations City-wide Vision Forum; next meet Tues, July 14, 8:20 am

From Loren Demerath:

Thanks to all who attended the meeting Tuesday the 7th. In attendance: Jamie Johnson-Eddie, Mark Goadrich, Dan Marcalus, Ian Webb, Robert Trudeau, Feico Kempff, Jeff Welborn, Barbara Jarrel, Ford Bevins, David Nelson and Loren Demerath.

The meeting began to thin out after 9:30, but Ian, Mark, Jamie, and Loren stayed for two more hours (!) mainly discussing the bike network signage.


On that note, thanks to all of you who registered your preferences for the various names. There was no runaway winner in e-mail responses, with HUB and BAHN tied in the lead, and BiRN coming in second. And that was without many viewing the options submitted by Dan Marcalus (I likeed "SPINR" personally, for ShrevePort Interconnected Neighborhood Routes).

HOWEVER, despite all the good suggestions we decided that an acronym would be less effective than a simple two or three word title to the map. People driving buy need to understand it and can't stop their cars to read what the acronym stands for. We tried simple titles then, and arrived at "Best Bike Routes".

Jamie suggested that beneath every route sign a web site could be shown where people can get the map, as well as educational cycling information. We settled on, and I've just gone ahead and bought the domain for us. (We beat Santa Barbara! San Bernardino! And Stockholm and... whoever!)

We also settled on the idea that we would not have abbreviations for the routes, or logos for each route, but simply label the destination of a route given the direction and side of the street of the sign. The painted chevrons on the surface of the street would also not have have logos or destinations on them, just a bike image.

All that said, a number of wise people have said we shouldn't try to reinvent the wheel in all of this--forgive the pun--and should research what other cities have done in their efforts to publicize safe routes. Jamie Johnson said she would get phone numbers from Ian, and call people in national organizations such Bikes Belong and the Thunderhead Alliance to ask about that. Mark Goadrich said that he could conceivably design a cellphone application where people could bring up the network on their phones. After the meeting, Mark found a link to Austin's most recent bike plan from the city: He doesn't know know if it has info on designing signs, but he said it looks comprehensive and might help us out.

We decided that our goal should be to spit and polish a specific proposal that we can all support and which we then invite Mike Strong to review. Mike Strong is head of the Department of Operational Services in the city and the main person in charge of things like painting streets. I had a very encouraging conversation with him last fall, and he said if we come up with a plan, they'll consider it.


On other topics, it was mentioned that ABetterShreveport could help sponsor various events such as the velo dendrum tree tour Hallie Dozzier has been organizing for the fall, if we have a means of insuring participants. That would be assisted by our becoming a member of a national organization such as Bikes Belong, The League of American Bicyclists, or the Alliance for Walking and Biking (formerly the Thunderhead Alliance).


Earlier in the meeting Jeff Welborn informed the group that the flooding of Bickham-Dickson is intentional, and is done partly in order to study it. The park is supposed to flood, in other words, and it's part of the bargain that was struck to make it. (Do I have that about right?)

The group also discussed the Citizen Advisory Group caucuses and how members of our group should be part of them. Loren later reported on several underrepresented areas he learned about. It was suggested that a range of different people normally part of ABetterShreveport could still consider attempting to become part of the group.

PLEASE NOTE: If you want to apply to become a member of the citizen's advisory group and need information or an application, feel free to e-mail me.

If I missed anything, let me know, and I can ammend this summary as posted on the blog.


Because we have momentum on projects this summer, we've decided those of us who can will meet weekly. So, we'll meet again this Tuesday at 8:20, and and we'll do the following:

* look over our draft of a letter requesting the Mayor's office to appoint a commission for establishing new construction standards that consider bike-ped needs
* look over some logo and type logo suggestions for our letterhead
* review what Jamie and Mark's research tells us about what other cities have done for recommending bike routes
* review what April, Robert, and Mike Harold have done in the technology group
* review what the downtown group has done and on what tasks it needs help.

Join us!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tomorrows meeting: Logos and Lingos!

Tomorrow morning at 8:20 we'll discuss the logo for bike route network, possibly logos for the different routes themselves, and a logo for this very forum,

We'll also try to settle on a name for the network.

As Steve Shelburne, our resident Shakespeare scholar would probably tell you, that guy didn't know much. For example, what's in a name? Everything!

A good name for our network of recommended bike routes could make more people use it. It would make it easier to talk about, remember, advertise, etc.

Some acronyms have been bandied about:
The "BAHN" Bicycle Access Highway Network (connoting Germany's Autobahn, and using a bicycle wheel as a logo)
The "BARN" Bicycle Access Road Network (and using a rough map of the city's network that would resemble a barn's profile)
The "BiRN" Bicycle Route Network (and billboard showing relaxed, smiling bicyclists just gliding with the slogan, "Feel the BiRN!" could promote it).

That's on the agenda for tomorrow. Join us! The coffee will be fresh!

Sharron Swanson suggests we request of the Mayor's Office a means to the ends, not just the ends...

As always, it's wonderful to have people contribute to our work even they can't make the meetings. In our last meeting summary we described two of the letters we're been working on:

1 - establishing road construction standards that would consider bike-ped needs

2 - establishing subdivision standards that allow connectivity.

In response, Sharron Swanson wrote the following in an e-mail to me:

I would suggest you that you combine letters 1 and 2 into one letter. I would suggest that you reference in your letter a desire for the city to adopt “Complete Streets” standards that address the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, children, the handicapped, etc. Regarding cul-de-sac’s and “connectivity”, the issue is slightly larger and should be addressed as such. Subdivision standards should be changed to require connectivity—including streets aligned with adjacent properties, elimination of cul-de-sac’s unless needed for environmental design reasons as well as elimination of gated communities. For existing cul-de-sac’s I believe it would be very difficult to create easements for bicycle/pedestrian ways because it would require property acquisition and you would be dealing with owner’s side yards versus rear yards as in your linear park concepts.

Your letters to the Mayor need to be clear and to the point. You need to know exactly how you want the Mayor to respond. Do you want the city to establish a committee to develop the new street standards or subdivision standards? Do you want them to simply pass your ideas along to the Master Plan group? Can work be done concurrently with the Master Plan effort?

Thanks for those helpful thoughts, Sharron. Personally, I'd think we'd want to request an appointed commission or committee to set the standards. I don't know if it can or should be done concurrently with Master Plan effort. Comments?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Adjustment: Bike logo and network meeting Thurs, July 9, 8:20 am

Please excuse the adjustment in your calanders, but we have to move our ABetterShreveport meeting to Thursday, 8:20 a.m.

It should be a fun meeting, particular for those of us who like logos or slogans. We'll be trying to design the bike network logo, the schematic of the bike route network (what's makes a memorable map worthy of a street sign? hmmm) and the ABS letterhead.

REMEMBER: we could be designing the signs that would point Shreveporters to their network of recommended bike routes... for GENERATIONS!

We'll also be designing a name for the network as a whole. Just to get you thinking, how about the "BARN" i.e., Bicycle Access Route Network, "BiRN" Bicycle Road Nework, "NOBS" Network of Bike Streets (which implies streets should be off limits if they're not part of the network), or the "SPOKE" the "WHEEL" the "PEDEL" etc.

Our very own artist-in-residence Ford Bevens will be there to discuss ideas. Hope you can join us! (8:20 am, Centenary Square, across the street from Georges, room 206.)


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.