Sunday, June 6, 2010

New Members and New Ideas at Last Meeting! Next One Tomorrow!

In attendance: Stephanie Pedro, Garrett Johnson, Loren Demerath, Robert Trudeau


Steph and Garrett shared favorite bike routes they use. Both live in South Highland. Garrett chose that area when he recently moved here in part because it is so bike-able.

Stephanie is a new urban planner in town, and is launching her own firm, "Vicini". We discussed planning and mixed-used development in Shreveport, and she mentioned that the picture of Bayou St. John on the web site happens to a neighborhood that has many uses; festivals, schools, retail, etc.; and it may have come back fast after Katrina largely because of that; Robert remembered biking through it fondly; its just north of city park.

Stephanie noted that certain elements of that could be brought here, though not all; Shreveport is a distinct area with it's own surpluses and deficits, e.g., no large, ph.d.-granting university...

Garrett is a development assistant for the Shreveport Arts Council and is from Mandeville; Steph likes Mandeville it because it's quaint and has lots of festivals; Robert recalled the "Smokey Mary" train would carry a band that would for the journey out from New Orleans.


Stephanie noted that she is about planning infill development for urban areas. Many places could be converted to villages; a reuse of buildings can happen; Robert thought Shreveport was particularly good at that.

When the talk turned to downtown residential development, Stephanie noted that people would need balconies to not to live like rats; its difficult for people from suburbs to move into high density space without some outdoor spaces like balconies.

We also talked about the facades of historic buildings being used. In Nashville and Memphis they've stripped the whol building except the facade, holding it up with steel girders and having outdoor spaces such as coffee shop courtyards in those spaces behind the facades. Shreveport certainly has the climate for it. Even in the summer, awnings for shade and portable fans make even the dog days doable outside. But it notable that many places where outdoor spaces do well have months where they are not used because of the winter.


When Loren updated the group on his discussions with Mayor Glover, and about how we'll still be needing to find funding for the costs of the paint for the sharrows. Garrett said the visitor's bureau has done in-kind printing for SHRAC; as 501 counts as tax write-off. For printing maps or donating paint, they'd calculate the value of the donation and we'd give them our federal tax i.d. number. As for city donations, Steph noted that transit authorities usually run in the red.

For paint donations, it might be best to target a company that uses the paint anyway. Developers perhaps? Stephanie mentioned that sign manufacturers could have it; street paint has the same qualities as sign paint. Stephanie also knows Dan Jatres who was on the statewide committee for the bike-ped plan and is the bicycle transportation coordinator in New Orleans and he might know where to get the paint.

We discussed asking the mayor for a letter saying that he supports our sharrow painting, which we can then take to companies who we'd ask for a paint donation.


Garrett went on a green tour in Baton Rouge sponsored by Abita beer among others (so there as beer at all the stops) and featured a stop at a solar panel plant. Were we to have a bicycle tour downtown we could include a stop at Robinson that where we could show the film made in California about bicycle safety and street ettiquitte. (One member said she was beeped and almost run off the road biking recently in Shreveport. Others said they hadn't had a problem. Sexism was speculated as a cause. We noted the value of having enough space to ride in pairs when safety and security is a concern.)

Jane's Walk is an organization and movement of walking cities that we can use as a template for organizing city walks.

Garrett mentioned have loved reading "Pedaling Revolution," a book about how people are coming back into the cities to reside, partly empowered by being able to bike everywhere. Loren was excited to hear about it and is planning to review it for use in his urban sociology class.


Minden raised some of the most money in the south per capita for its non-profits.

Might take year or more to see spending from shale profits; though hotels and restaurants have had business increases from employees.

Haynesville was Gregory Kallenburg's film that was recommended by Robert and Loren.

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