Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Political candidates pedaling on bicycles down Texas St, additional mayoral & council forums, bus shelters, linking to statewide bike-ped network

Stephanie Pedro, Shreveport
Originally uploaded by trudeau

Notes by Loren Demerath.

During the chat opening the meeting it was mentioned that a $100,000 grant was received for the arts district “triangle” development (being referred by ShRAC as the “Shreveport Commons”). Robert mentioned that Askari Hinton has ties to the Blue Goose and is the head of the Blue Goose Foundation that is working on developing that area of historic importance for music.
Later, the group briefly discussed urban sprawl and the problems in quality of life and productivity it causes because restricts mobility and connectivity and reduces efficiency. April noted that when she met with David Cox he said he supported density in development, but was also supporting developments north and south of the city limits. He might be able to explain how that’s not a contradiction. One person said its fine if those outer residents pay for their own infrastructure, but not if they ask the rest of us to pay for their own “paranoid subdivision flight.”


Stephanie Pedro then led discussion on the Mayoral and City Council Forums. She reported that YPI has invited ABetterShreveport to co-sponsor the Mayoral Forum, and we could do that partly to see how things could work for a potential following City Council Forum that ABS could sponsor as well, and that Jeff Everson recently suggested to us.

A preliminary informal event of a downtown bike ride with candidates and ABS members and others, could be used as a way of showing candidates our interests and perspectives on the city, and understanding theirs’. In conversations with candidates at the post-ride reception at Cohabitat, where drinks and alcohol could be served, questions could be developed for the forum that would follow in a week or two, and be left in a “questions for the forum” drop box.

Through email or phone calls, questions could also be solicited from community organizations, neighborhood organizations, and even prominent individuals such as the mayor, mayoral candidates, or outgoing city council members, such as Monty Walford.

Questions could also be solicited from the public through the ABetterShreveport radio show on KSCL. (Robert Trudeau and Sara Hebert have both met with KSCL directors about the show and the station is ready and willing to broadcast a 30 minute show on whatever time period may work--bi-weekly, monthly, etc. The show would consist of prerecorded interviews, discussion topics, profiles, announcements, etc.)

The format of the City Council Forum (and doesn’t this sound fun?) would be similar to a trivia night at a restaurant or bar, where music would play between moments when a host would read a question (“This next question was submitted by the Rotary Club...”), candidates would answer questions. This would give people opportunities to chat with each other about the questions and what the answers might be like, then, later, what they liked or didn’t like about the answers they heard.

The date could be September 9th, a Thursday that is two weeks after the Mayoral forum.

A number of themes for the City Council Forum were discussed, and the group tentatively settled on: “Quality of Life through Mobility and Connectivity”.


Jennette and Stephanie will be trying to meet with Gene Eddy about bus shelters and service. The extreme heat and rain Shreveport can get can make it virtually inhumane to have people have to wait for a bus in the open. The problem, though certainly doesn’t seem to Mr. Eddy, who is a real public transit advocate; rather, it may be taxpayer funding. The meeting with Mr. Eddy will allow us to see what we can do to help make the bus system better.


Stephanie has identified funding possibilities for bike-ped improvements through the Louisiana DOTD specialist in bike-ped, Brian Parsons. He used to run the program where Stephanie used to work. He’s recently gotten 1.4 million to promote bike transit; all on the web site. BRASS has gotten funding, and he’s told Stephanie we could too.


ABS was named as a bicycle-pedestrian advocacy organization by the LADOTD, and referred us to the newly forming statewide advocacy organziation. They’d like to receive comments on the document they are developing. Stephanie will circulate that via the ABS bicycle email list.


April might have found someone willing to donate paint for the bike sharrows. Bless April! Bless that donor!


Feico received an email from the Kinsey family who are on the committee of 100. They agreed to sponsor a member of someone from ABS to go to the three day Keep Louisiana Beautiful conference in Baton Rouge, including a $500 coverage of costs. The group nominated Loren, who invited Feico to accompany him and share the hotel room. However, Loren has a conflict with the Centenary’s faculty retreat, so his plans were tentative. Carolyn said she could coordinate her visit to New Orleans so that Loren and Feico could join her in meeting with Stacye Palmer at the National Park Service to work on the city bike-ped plan.


Feico reported that he and Jon have been working on the greenway proposal, that Jon has presented it to the Montessori Board, and that Don Weiner has agreed to help with the legal research to establish ownership; Don would be in a good position to help convince the city to accept donations of land or leasing of easements.

Feico also reported that Jeff Girard has made Coates Bluff a state archeological site. Jeff will soon be presenting on the great raft at a presentation for the Northwest Louisiana Historical Association led by Jameel Damlouji.


Garrett reported that all the key people have been brought together for the HUD grant; it might be championed by Caddo and Bossier Parishes; they’re hiring a professional grant writer to complete the application; it’s a 2 million dollar planning grant guaranteed and more based on the grant and planning itself.

There’s a big chunk of the grant devoted to transporation and even a greenway connecting Shreveport and Bossier--which is probably Tim Wachtel’s design of the expanded Clyde Fant bike trail to cross on the a new Jimmy Davis bridge.


Speaking of grants, the Texas Avenue Community Association (TACA) got a Neighborhood Improvement Program grant from the city administered by Bonnie Moore. Congrats to April Dahm, David Nelson, and all the other TACA folks!

In attendance on July 19: Stephanie Pedro, April Waren, Cynthia Keith, Carolyn Manning, Maurice Loridans, Robert Trudeau, David Aubry, Feico Kempff, Loren Demerath

Next meeting: Monday the 26th, 6:00-7:00.

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