Friday, September 17, 2010

"Coalition for Better Bus Stops" born of meetings with Sportran, SRAC, Shreveport Green, and ABS

Rough notes from this week's meeting:

In attendance: Stephanie Pedro, David Aubrey, Susan Fontaine, Garrett Johnson, April Waren, Jennette Ginsburg, Maurice Loridans, Loren Demerath

The group discussed making ABS letterhead for thank you cards, but decided just plain will work for now to send to the candidates involved in the forum.

Jennette Ginsburg and Stephanie Pedro reported on meetings with Pam Atchison of SRAC, Gene Eddy of Sportran, and Donna of Shreveport Green on the bus project. Jennette and Steph have had a series of meetings with Pam Atchison and Gene Eddy. Using the amenities funds from SGA that have to be spent on things like shelters, benches, etc. Eddy was willing to work with SRAC to design shelters. Pam was already working on a design competition for shelters. Gene didn’t want anything that would require high maintenance, though, and liked the concrete mosaic benches already around town. Using the festivals in festival plaza would be good where neighborhood associations can come and work on their benches. Jennette has talked with Donna Curtis (with whom she works at Shreveport Green) who has committed to planting 10-20 trees at stops in November. Pam said SRAC is proposing a landscaping ordinance to the city that includes public art. It was noted that it’s not clear how they’ll get the money if its not through a public bond issue; but Garrett said it’s part of SRAC’s money that it would receive from the city from the Riverfront Gaming Fund. The city is drafting a budget now and all those non-governmental functions like SRAC and the Sports Authority, etc., have submitted their requests on August 31st. The cost for the public art is 1.5% of the total money in the bond package for infrastructure projects.

David mentioned that we should get in on asking for projects. Pam needs letters of support of the ordinance.

Pam wants the benches to go through her design competition in conjunction with Moonbot at ArtSpace, and the public will invited to observe the process. We would like the benches to come out of the exhibit space and be used.

This is a collaboration between non-profits and neighborhood associations and other groups and individuals to contribute.

The group then brainstormed on a name for the project of collaborative design and construction

Artsy Greener Better Bus Stops
Coalition for Improved Transit Infrastructure
The group settled on: Coalition for Better Bus Stops

“Art in Transit” is the name of SRAC’s design competition.

We will now be able to approach other organizations, schools, churches, etc., and invite them to participate through donations or hands-on work; especially places along the line, e.g., Willis Knighton on the Linwood line. All the hospitals would be good candidates for that.

April is meeting with the recruitment director at U.S. Support Company at West Bert Kouns and Pines Road. They have 1,400 people on their employment roles and take low skill applicants and pay them better than minimum wage there. April wants Sportran to extend one of their routes to their. Their employees don’t have expensive cars and would often need public transit. They’re also planning a new expansion. David noted that’s good, since we have lost some jobs in customer service call centers, and those are good places to work when you’re going to school. In the past they’ve talked about building a fitness center, apartments on site, bringing in a caterer, etc.

Jennette and Steph asked about extending lines and Gene said they have binders full of research on extending lines, and they show that there’s a lot of bureaucracy and cost involved in extending lines. It sounded like they had looked into it thoroughly and rejected it.

Going to city leaders and asking them for more money to allow Sportran to extend its lines is what Gene would ask us to do. Feico mentioned you could get grant money for van pools or car pools just to/from the nearest bus stop. David said you’ll find 2 or 3 more employers that will move to West Shreveport real soon and Gene will have to address the demand.

At the forum all the city council candidates were for better stops, but didn’t say we should raise taxes to do it.

David said the city got between .5 and 1 million to do landscaping and make the interstate prettier; whatever that means, “landscaping” we can get in on the front side of that; David serves on the review board for landscapers/architects and engineers; they’re going to submit plans to spend that money. If there’s a group that’s interested in greenways, we can put in our two cents on how that money should be spent. Others said they thought the land around interstates was off-limits for greenway and bike path development.

Feico mentioned the head of the housing authority Richard Harrington, is one of 10 in the U.S. to go to South Africa to an international symposium on public housing, and he should be congratulated.

We videotaped the pub quiz, and before the battery ran out it’s 2 megabytes. Steph is trying to cut it up but will ask for Robert’s assistance.

Congratulations to all for the forum and ride/walk...

Jennette said to call Shreveport Green for hazardous waste drop off, such as paints and computer materials.

Also, people can drop off books at Cohabitat for the prisoner book drive.

At the Taylor town store there’s a world premiere screening of the Pork Belly Project about a belly dancing group; 7:00 Saturday the 18th.

The next meeting will be next Monday, as usual, 6:00 to 7:00 in Centenary Square.

No comments: