Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Social Ride to Robinson Film Center Scheduled, Guest Sara Hebert Speaks, Farmer's Market Discussed

In attendance: April Waren, Carolyn Manning, Robert Trudeau, Garrett Johnson, Cynthia Keith, Maurice Loridans, Kathryn Usher, Loren Demerath, Sara Hebert, Feico Kempff

From the gleaming note pad of Loren Demerath: the meeting started with chat and introductions. Included was Garrett Johnson's note that he earned his free bike by volunteering 15 hours at a bike coop in Boulder, Colorado. It's a "classic & vintage" motobacane with cool yellow handlebar tape. (Coincidently, the next day KSLA news featured a story on the owner of a bike shop in Washington D.C. ["Phoenix Bikes"] a non-profit that offers to train young people for free in bike repair (and "leadership"); many of the youths eventually use those skills to get jobs.)


Carolyn Manning mentioned a campaign she is starting on her "Complete Streets" Facebook page: "It's Cool to Ride the Bus". The group discussed the bus system in the city. Some noted they wanted to use it more in conjunction with biking but wished more than two bikes could go on the buses for the purposes of group rides. It was also wondered whether the schedules available are current. They were updated in 2005.

One of the main interests with regard to the buses was finding a way to have the schedules be available. Sara suggested possible guerrilla project for ABS might be to print and fold the schedules and put them in drop boxes by stops.

Some proponents of the bus service are out there; one person noted that Mrs. Lisa, a toddler teacher at Montessori, has a yearly field trip of taking her kids on the bus every year.

April noted that there should be bus service to the U.S. Support Company at Pines Roads & Bert Kouns. They've got 1700 people on their employees list right now and their demographics suggest they would value the service.


Sara Hebert then spoke on what she has done related to the group's interest in making Shreveport a more bikable and walkable city. Sara works in web development and public relations at Williams Creative Group, and has a bachelor's from Centenary and a masters in digital media studies from the University of Denver. Sara said she's organized some rides from her house in Shreve Island to go downtown to see movies. To and from downtown from her house is 10 miles, and she noted that can be difficult for new riders. It helps, though, to go at a lollygag speed; being social and relaxing. Sara did this because she wanted to ride her bike, but didn't have time to bike to work, so chose instead to bike to the movies once in a while. One of her first social rides was to the Roller Derby at the Municipal Auditorium, and with her group of women riders wearing helmets, she said it was blast to tell folks where they were all headed that day.

The group organization helps with feelings of safety, Sara said. Three or people allows a sense of security. In discussing different routes downtown, and how Highland felt safer than Creswell at one point, Sara mentioned she actually feels safer biking in the city at night than in the day.


The group discussed parking bikes downtown, and Sara mentioned she and Bruce Allen once got in trouble for parking scooters on the sidewalk in front of RFC. Maurice pointed out those ordinances weren't written for those sidewalks that are three times bigger than the normal sidewalks in the city's residential area. A bike rack near the ticket window of Robinson would help, where there is a chance the thief with the chain cutters might be observed.

Garrett said the architect for the Central Fire Station renovations for SRAC is coming to town next week and Garrett will bring up with him the need for bike racks; perhaps there could be a line of them in front. It was noted that reusing old buildings is a need in Shreveport. The group then discussed for a bit Texas Street, Texas Avenue, TACA, etc.

Sara will be friending Carolyn and putting her rides on her Complete Streets page on Facebook. It was noted that people don't seem to use meet-up as much as Facebook. Sara said that in general online social media aren't the key; that calling folks that would be interested and putting out press releases is still important. Carolyn mentioned getting good results using Constant Contact, a program that sends out nice graphically organized emails.

Kathryn mentioned that we need to have rides that are short, so that anyone can do them, and have necklesses or hats or shirts or something very visual would help, and others agreed.


The group decided to schedule a ride from Columbia Cafe to Robinson Film Center on Saturday, July 17th. The group can go through Graffiti Park and see the stuff there. (All was painted over recently but the one of Ronald Reagan, it was noted.) Sara says it's good to leave an hour and a half before showtime. The time will be announced later.

The next day, as if happens, Carolyn and Maurice along with Valerie Loridans are leaving Columbia Cafe via bicycles at 7:45 to go to the minicine event on Texas Avenue that starts at 8:30. It was noted that David Nelson has been encouraging people to come to minicine on bicycle, saying they can park their bikes in the courtyard where the films are being shown over the summer.

The group then discussed the Farmers Market and how it has grown. For the past two weeks a number of members have biked there from their homes. Kathryn Usher noted that the artists used to be a mainstay at the market, but now are located at the Barnwell Center where the foot traffic is much lower.

The group wondered if the artists couldn't be put in a location that would allow them to take advantage of the crowd at the market. It was noted that the more things there are to look at and buy, the more appealing a destination it would be. Maurice noted that the more appealing months of the year to go to the market when it's not as hot, the market could still exist with flea market stuff; it needn't only have produce, and indeed, doesn't seem to, as most of the tables do not seem to offer produce. It was also wondered why the artists pay more for a table than the farmers, and why the artists are judged by a jury before being admitted, while the farmers are not.

The group discussed how to approach the administrators fo the Farmers Market to ask about this, and that we could propose an improvement to the situation. The group wondered about using sidewalk on Commerce street, which unfortunately would have sun in the morning, or perhaps using CoHabitat, which, of course, does have air conditioning, though it is not a public venue and its use would have to be negotiated. Another locale suggested was under the Texas St. bridge. Kathryn said that had been tried before and didn't receive enough pedestrian traffic coming over from the market to make it work. Loren wondered if it might work now, since the market is now bigger; walking between the two sections one can see down Commerce to the bridge; Maurice mentioned a band set up under the bridge might attract attention of those at the farmers market.

It would surely have to be a coordinated and organized effort. Kathryn noted artists can't set up on any sidewalk as they'd have to put up one million dollar insurance policy to have just a little vendor's cart.

Members of the group decided they would talk to Kip Holloway to find out what could be done to allow the artists to be included in the market again.

Garrett Johnson made a "shameless plug" at the end of the meeting for a "Hafla" this Saturday at Taylortown -- a dance party featuring students of the Lotus studio, with performances all day as part of the Pork Belly Project.

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