Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bicycling Safety Clinic, PSA's, Farmers Market, Bus Service, Critical Mass & Social Rides, Bike Coop, SHRAC Headquarters all discussed at last meeting

What a meeting last night! Scheduled for an hour, stretched to two in the parking lot afterward! Here's the summary:

In attendance: Susan Fontaine, Jennette Ginsberg, Stephanie Pedro, April Waren, Carolyn Manning, Robert Trudeau, Maurice Loridans, Cynthia Keith, Kathryn Usher, Loren Demerath, Garrett Johnson, Susan Keith

Newcomers introduced themselves. Susan Fontaine graduated from LSU in Baton Rouge recently and is now working in town at Merrill Lynch as a client associate. Jennette Ginsburg is a graduate student at LSUS in non-profit administration, and uses space at Cohabitat on Commerce Street.


Carolyn announced that she recently talked with Stacye Palmer of the National Park Service down state about holding a bike clinic on safety. Stacye said she would be able to get us bike helmets to give out for free to the attending children. It was mentioned that we might hold it at "Safety Town," where children reportedly learn about 10 areas of safety, including vehicle, pedestrian, bicycle, fire, and electrical safety; it's a project of Caddo Parrish Sheriff Steve Prader, located at 8910 Jewella Avenue next to Summer Grove Baptist Church.

It was noted that we could use the clinic to publicize our social bike rides, our map of recommended bike routes, and other bike-related issues, such as the need for sharrows, the utility of combining bicycling with public transit via bus bike-racks, and driver-cyclist coeducation on proper street etiquette, and the possibilities of bike commuting and running errands. (Carolyn, who lives in Broadmoor, said she's now almost completely car free, as is Maurice, who lives in Highland.)

The group decided that it would adopt the safety clinic as a project. First among the tasks would be to contact Safety Town and decide on a date on which to hold it.


The group then discussed how it might promote alternative transportation, downtown development promoting density and infill development, among other quality of life issues.

Videos could be produced that could be posted on Facebook and spread "virally". Robert is experienced enough to produce them, and others could learn as well. Additionally, professionals in town might volunteer their services to help us produce a higher quality video. (John Perkins and Tracy Thomas are two professional camerapersons in town who might be willing to help.)

A goal of some PSAs would be to change the mentality about biking. Many people who view it negatively--as class-stigmatized, or "weird"--might not be reached through a Facebook video, but could be reached through a network TV PSA.

It was mentioned that Rick Rowe on KTBS is often looking for stuff to broadcast on his early morning show -- and that's a time when many older people are awake and may be watching.

A talk radio show, perhaps on KSLA, was also mentioned. People could call in to discuss different ideas for the city with a panel on the air. KSLA's range now reaches over the whole city. They also regularly broadcast PSAs.

Digital billboards could also be used to reach a broad audiance, and they do display PSAs. Also, the "Share the Road" lawn signs have been popular and some say effective.

Among the tropes or themes that could be used would be remind people how using human powered transportation reduces the need for oil dependency and foreign policy entanglements, environmental risk from oil spills, and increases one's health, happiness, and opportunities for socializing; "street cred" could be spun effectively.


Susan asked about Critical Mass and if anyone had been there at the last one; those people might be interested in what we're doing. (On the topic of other interested, helpful folks, Carolyn noted that there's a person here now in the film industry that Steve Godfrey knows who she may meet soon.)

Jennette said she admired Critical Mass for the way it was community led, with rules set out, and people are made to understand if they want to participate they must follow those rules. Others agreed, though there was also much agreement that it could end up as a negative when drivers are made to stop and bicyclists violate rules of traffic.

Among the social rides discussed: using the Thursday pub crawls as a destination; an architectural tour via bicycle; the parade route cyclovias Maurice has started which could be more heavily publicized and amended to include a finishing meeting place at which to watch the parade. Garrett Johnson made the brilliant suggestion that we call someone with a beerbike to come to town for those two weeks. Similarly, maybe a few conference bikes could be brought in and tickets sold for their rental.


Carolyn reported on her research of interviewing farmers who'd been at the farmers market. The farmers are spread out there appears to be extra space but those spaces may be needed for occasionally spreading out or for patrons to use to relax.

Loren reported that he'd e-mailed both Kip Holloway and Noma Fowler-Sandlin but hadn't heard back from them yet.

Jeannette said she'd worked for the Crescent City Market and thinks what makes it work is the rules; e.g., they have to sell what they've made and not hire people or have friends sell for them. Jennette also said it was important to have the food and produce separate, so shoppers will know where to find that if they want it.

Carolyn thought the sidewalk on Crocket right outside the market could be used, and people would have to walk past the artists to get into the market. It was also noted that space along the train station on the market side could be used again. Spaces going east-west would be better than that going north-south with no morning shade such as the sidewalk along Commerce in front of Cohabitat.

Jennette also Farmers Market could at least have coolers with water. Related to the heat, the Police have a squad car running with the hood up:
- it makes the market space hotter
- its wasteful


Garrett then talked about Gregory Free being in town, the architect designing SHRAC's new headquarters in the old Central Fire Station building downtown. He said they want this design to involve community input, and representatives of ABetterShreveport would be welcome to come see the architect give his vision and give feedback. The architect will speak this Thursday at 5:30-7:15 at ArtSpace.

Garrett has talked to Pam about ABS and greenways and bike paths, and she supports our efforts at increasing Shreveport quality of life through bike-ped ammenities.

Garrett showed a variety of bicycle racks that had been designed by artists that increase the value of a space for the public generally, whether they bike or not. Here's an example of an assortment in L.A.

Loren noted there could be bicycle sharrows painted throughout downtown with indicators of the direction to take to SHRAC for downtown bike parking and bike commuter ammenities (lockers? sh----? [rhymes with "bowers"?]). Could also be located near a depository for old bicycles and parts that could contribute to a reservoir of available recycled metal to be used for sculpture and other arts.

Garrett said it will be more of a community building than an arts office building. For its offices, SHRAC just wants the top floor. Below will public space for an emerging arts gallery. The point of people coming Thursday is to give suggestions about what the community wants.


The group discussed where a bicycle coop might locate, and downtown property in general. Carolyn is talking to someone about developing a piece of property downtown. Garrett noted that whoever owns the Fairmont apartments owns a lot of that property around there.

With regard to combing a bike coop with other efforts, Garrett noted that SHRAC is looking at consortium grants as well (Garrett is one of SHRAC's primary grant-writers).

The main purpose of a bicycle coop is to provide a depository for used bicycles and bike parts as well a place for tool-sharing and education on bike repair. April said she could get a lot of tools donated; her grandfather has a surplus.

Jennette noted that a bike coop here may be more purposeful for a working class crowd who uses bikes out of necessity, rather than serving college students. Such people may already know how to repair but could use the tools or parts often. At the coop in New Orleans you can go in and build a bike for free if you build another and leave it there. Susan Keith said in Minot, North Dakota there's a guy who fixes up old bicycles and lets people just take them for $10, or borrow them and bring them back when they're done with them.

  • A number of folks are committed to helping with the PSA's: Robert, Loren, Carolyn, Jennette, Garrett among them.
  • Jennette will be heading the effort on the buses, perhaps drafting a letter; Sara Hebert has volunteered to help with graphics for schedules.
  • Loren will draft a letter to the Farmers Market, and is finishing the drafts of letters for the paint donation and letter of support from the Mayor's Office.
We'll meet again next week, Monday 6-7pm. See you then!

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