Monday, March 1, 2010

Action on Greenways, and Encouraging Bicycling Discussed at Last Meeting

Just for the record!

Notes from the last meeting:

In attendance: Malari Coburn, Sarah Savage, Maurice Loridans, John Davenport, Jeff Welborn, Feico Kempff, Loren Demerath.

The meeting centered on how to increase walking and biking in the city:


Maurice described the "Urban Bikers" Saturday coffee run that he and Valerie and Cynthia and Carolyn did through Meet-Up. They biked from Betty Virginia around South Highland and up to the Naked Bean. Meetup hasn't seemed to work that well for recruiting people, but Carolyn said it gradually builds through a grapevine--starts with a few and eventually you end up with lots; part of what they plan to do on these kinds of rides is scout a few garage sales and estate sales and second hand clothing shops; Maurice noted they didn't have cargo capacity like he and Val did with baskets. Backpacks would do though.


Feico and Jeff had been talking about funding; The Community Foundation had said it would be willing to serve as umbrella organization for holding funds that people might donate to some sort of "Friends of Shreveport Greenways Foundation"; donors could take advantage of the tax benefits of that.

Loren relayed Jon's announcement that at the meeting on March 8 we would begin planning for the bayou and trail cleanup on Sat., March 27. He's asked Andy Goldthwaite to help him work up that plan. Andy was involved in the organization of the cleanup last year and does maintenance cleanup regularly. We (ABS) can then discuss/tweak the idea and assign tasks if need be."

Loren and Feico described the meeting with Mike Strong and how it was basically good news in terms of being able to use these unused, unoccupied spaces for trails. The cleanup and maintainence involved improves the value of the properties that surround these areas, and doing what we've done in terms of first getting nearby the approval and support residents and neighborhood associations is the appropriate thing to do.

Loren reported that Matthew Linn had researched for us the parcel of land running from Anderson Blvd. to E. Elmwood into the Madison Park area, and said it was owned by one resident and the city. The Centenary Environmental Association is interested in cleaning the trail there and making it a more attractive area to walk. ABS will ask for a map from the city to as part of researching who should be contacted to solicit approval for doing that.

Jeff mentioned that Gary Hanson at LSUS could map some of these trails for us with the backpack GIS rig he has access to, as Jeff Girard has already done for us at Coates Bluff; he suggested we might want to contact their department to ask for that favor of mapping that would also give the opportunity to train some of their people, as well as providing a service to our community.

Jeff noted that once if the trails are mapped, we can then give the city or parish the data of where the trails are then they can piece them together; Malari said providing crosswalks and signage could be the kind of thing that would help; Feico noted that when demand arrises it give something for the city to respond to; it was noted we can use the ABS site to show where the trails are and have them become unofficial-official trails.

We noted that Mike Strong had related in our meeting that he thought much of the land of the easements were state property; it was noted that we can go through Larry Raymond and ask him to be the liaison with the state; he could find out if they're state and how we can use them and how to tie them to the park. It was noted that we'd get more protection with the state involved than we'd get with the city. Experience with developing Bickham Dickson has shown that. It was also noted that we are proposing no permanent structures; even pavement can be "picked up" so it makes it easier to get permission to use the land.

Centenary student, Sarah Savage, said she has been in conversation with National Park people about the best ways to have non-invasive trail markers and educational tools, particularly for projects like ours that don't have a lot of money. Sarah has worked with the National Park Service in doing educational programs in the past.

Jeff noted that establishing trails by use creates a common property notion; what would especially help is a complete plan that develops and coordinates this so they're not separate pieces; Feico said they may be waiting for the Master Plan. Jeff said any of these trails in use can be woven into it the plan; we shouldn't let waiting for that stuff stop us from establishing trails.

Maurice asked if Tim Wachtel's suggested improvements came up in the meeting; Shelly Reagle has said those are part of their planned improvements, and they're in the budget documents Matthew Linn brought to a meeting recently.


Feico asked John how many students in John's class bike, and Sarah said probably none in Shreveport, though she does in New Orleans.

A lack of a working knowledge with how to bike around Shreveport was discussed. How would a Centenary student get to Walmart for example?

Jeff and Maurice said they'd seen the bike racks ready to put on the buses. People have been asking about when they'll be there for a year in this group. Maurice heard you'll need a certificate to show the driver you know how to use the rack to be able to use it.

Sarah said if we can show how and where to use bikes in Shreveport, it would increase use; a kind of bike orientation for incoming students would help; Maurice has noticed a lot of bikes on Centenary's campus aren't stored; many of the Regents donated bikes have rusted (until professors John Davenport, Troy Messina and others took them inside). The campus could offer storage in some indoor facility, such as the basement tunnel of Mickle Hall.

On the notion of using bike racks to increase ridership, Jeff noted that they had tried to use bike racks to do that outside of the downtown YMCA but it wasn't successful.

Maurice said he plans on opening a bike coop downtown someday that would offer a place to shower, store your bike, and a locker. It was noted that that kind of thing is the sort of active lifestyle ammenity that would attract young educated "creative class" types. Similar to the Cohabitat shared workspace and work community facility being opened by Blake Burris and John Grindley.

Back to making S'port more bikable, It was also noted that a street map of recommended routes would help; although there are very few bikes on campus, with no places to put them and it being a small, somewhat hilly campus, there are many places students travel off-campus. Sarah said a list of places to which you can ride your bike and where you can stow it or lock it would help. (Maurice noted that the Kings Highway Brookshires lets you lock your bike on the railing by the entrance.) Putting it on our web site "" would be a way of publishing it.

Sarah said we could use "surveymonkey" to poll the entire school. We could ask how many student have bikes on campus; how many would if there were lanes on the streets? bike paths going from campus to Walmart? etc. We could also ask how Shreveport compares to their hometowns on biking and what they'd like to see here that they have at home.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

These are great ideas! Thanks for posting, and good luck!!