Saturday, August 21, 2010

Meeting with national Park Service: how to get help creating a Bike & Ped master Plan for Shreveport and additional issues

Notes by Loren Demerath.

All abuzz with the success of the first radio show (see the post below), and with Stacye Palmer with us all the way from New Orleans, the focus of the meeting was on ABS’s partnership with the National Park Service’ Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program.


Stacye Palmer gave some background on the grant:

* Bill Lane was initially the lead for the project; he created a conceptual map of Coates Buff (NPS can’t have the liability of a detailed map) for Coates Bluff.
* In 2001 Stacye and Deidre Hewitt came up and met with Shreveport Green.
* Stacye’s been working with Michael Domingue is the office of state trails and is her state partner, but is also more than that; he’s the equivilent of us but larger--for the whole state. Our trails will be part of his network. He handles LWCF funding.
* Stacye said its unusual to work with a group like ours that has already so much going on in ideas, events, and planning, so where NPS comes in isn’t typical here but there is organizing that can be done.

Stacye reviewed how NPS has an MOU with the ASLA (Association of Landscape Architects). Stacye will be more involved with this than as she was with the Lafitte Corridor; this is an official project because Loren has submitted an application with requests for continuation, has gotten a DUNS number, etc.

By reading the blogs Stacye has been able to get an understanding of what we’re doing beyond government policy and political statements. Involving community partners is the next step.


Steph and Caroline asked Stacye about what RCTA's capacities are for helping us with the following:

1. Coates Bluff: a success this group could have on the ground and demonstrating what a greenway can be, and a way of getting support for a plan for a network of bike paths and greenways.
2. A bike-ped master plan: it would take a lot of money, about $250,000 minimum.
3. The greenways plan: it would cost even more, about $1,000,000. (Will joked he’d do it for half that; Steph and Caroline said they’d like to partner.)

Stacye said NPS does workshops and community outreach; they also get announcements for grants and funding assistance they can forward to us; they also have a landscape architect who can do some things -- though we have Dana Brown already; they have a graphics person who can help with designing brochures. Stacye has been trying to gather information on models that are similar to our situation. Mandeville here in Louisiana, and other cities, some in Pennsylvania. Stacye can help with grant writing as well.

It was noted that Shreveport’s new master plan does not have detailed plans for bike lanes, sharrows, and bike paths -- as most such documents wouldn’t; its a foundational launch pad for such plans. As such a bike-ped plan amounts to an implementation of the master plan.

Caroline looked over the bike-ped plans NPS has done and thought maybe there’s a way of piecing together our resources: some from NPS, some from the consultants they have access to, some from our local landscape architects and planners who care about the project. Loren noted that Stephanie and Caroline have already invested a lot of their time in it.


Steph noted that the city won’t fund something that’s not equitable, so we need to get buy-in for the plan from all parts of the city. Thus, its important to have professional analysis of the city to make sure the plan is equitable and reaches all parts of it. Creating the plan then involves a lot of outreach work that we could use Stacye’s help with. (Robert noted that Cat-Daddy is the unofficial mayor of Mooretown in West Shreveport. He could partner with us to involve that area of the city for a bike-ped plan.) Stacye said she would gather data, it was noted ABS volunteers could, and others, possibly.

As for funding, it was noted that Parish Commissioner Matthew Linn has talked about the need for a bike-ped plan. The Parrish’s deadline was Sunday for funding requests, but there may be possibilities in the near future for making requests.

Caroline mentioned there are groups that are looking for opportunities like this to do the planning pro-bono -- she was in graduate school at the University of Washington and did a project in Louisiana as part of her training.


It was concluded that we need to put together a scope of services with NPS. That would include a timeline, and we could then go to Caddo Parrish for supplementary funding. It was mentioned that we could do dynamic job of pitching it with all the work we’ve done already, and given the position the city is in.

Caroline, Steph, and Stacye set a date as September 1st for meeting and making strategy.

Will said it sounds like we’re next in the cue for work from ASLA. It was noted that it sounds they’re on the hook and we should work to keep them on the hook.


As for more immediate, concrete things to do, Will commented that the sharrows are small, but effective ways of changing the culture and raising expectations for bicycle transportation. Steph said we’re lucky to have a city that will let us paint wherever we think is prudent. It’s a chance of a lifetime that we shouldn’t pass up.

The group also discussed the the bike ride warm-up for the city council forum, and how it too should raise expectations for alternative transportation in the city.

It was noted that we should expect safer walking conditions as well. For example, Byrd students crossing Line Avenue are in a dangerous situation jay-walking at Forest and Line. Something should be done about it. The group agreed ABS should draft a letter to send the DOS and/or MPC and/or City Council.

There was also consensus that the group should draft a letter to the Mayor’s Office, City Councilpersons, and the Parish Commission requesting ordinances that mirror the new state law mandating complete street standards for all new state road construction. The rationale for this seems obvious: this is an improvement to state standards that should be followed by cities and parishes.

Caroline noted that if there is a choice between bike-ped plan should come before the greenways plan because the former will tell us where bike paths, for example, are most needed and least needed.

Feico noted there appear to be two institutions that should have people biking to them but don’t, LSU Health Center and LSUS.

Cynthia noted that community meetings are going on right now with the new Police Chief with city officials are sitting right there; we could make sure one of us is at every one of the remaining four and note the safety problems for walkers and bicyclists at different places in the city. Some man at the last meeting complained about the Southfield and Youree intersection as being dangerous for him and his family. Mike Strong was at the meeting.

Stephanie noted that we should ask about urban design elements that combat crime at the forums. One mayoral candidate’s crime plan published in the Forum didn’t say anything about that, but in many places that’s the only thing you can do. “CPTED” is crime prevention through environmental design; e.g., the broken windows theory where enforcing maintenance or cleaning up graffiti lowers crime; or putting more eyes on the street by making sidewalks more walkable; lighting; having windows on the street as a design element; the distance from the street of houses and stores; the last chapter of the master plan addresses those issues.

Next meeting: Monday at 6:00 p.m.

In the meantime, considering calling 734-9101 to record a comment for us to discuss on the radio show, "Time for a Better Shreveport" Mondays at 5:00 p.m. on 91.3.

Also attending the meet: Robert Trudeau, Steph Pedro, Cynthia Keith, Feico Kempff, Will Lowe, April Waren, Carolyn Manning, Caroline Majors, Stacye Palmer

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