Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thanks to Cynthia Keith for organizing a fun Tramp in the Park Saturday!

A nice breeze, sights from years past, musical instruments and voices, wine and cheese, and enthusiastic Shreveporters celebrating a locale's past and future. Thanks Cynthia!

Street Painting Set for June 5th, Social Bike Rides, and Community Supported Agriculture Discussed at Last Meeting

In attendance: Carolyn Manning, Laura Crawford, Russ Roca, Maurice Loridans, April Waren, Loren Demerath, Cynthia Keith, Susan Keith, Pam Raintree

The group chatted about how fun it was to have celebrity guests at our meeting: Laura Crawford and Ross Roca who've bicycled around the country, while seeking stories of unusual living. They looked happy and fit, as you'd expect.

We discussed the bike sharrow painting to begin the meeting, and set the date for June 5th, Saturday at 9:00 a.m., meeting at Betty Virginia before setting out to paint the Creswell to Downtown and back by Highland route. We're grateful to Mayor Glover who has said he would help us get paint.

We'll also be looking to borrow a compressed air tank to blow off dust and pollen, and we think we know someone who'll lend us one.

Russ and Laura mentioned the green lanes in Long Beach's business district have been used effectively. Russ was interviewed about them. The best application is colored asphalt; its higher dollar, but lasts longer. Somewhat controversial 'cuz seen as a recreational path sometimes vs. just for transportation; motorists perceived they were not allowed to be on the lane. When Russ returned after a few months there was more order in how they were used; the lanes doesn't actually change the legality of how the roads are used.

Asked what works to get people pedaling who wouldn't otherwise; Russ said social rides as in Austin; they're socializing as well as learning how to ride and routes. All using volunteers to organize the rides.

Bike paths wouldn't be as useful for bikers when they're packed with dog walkers and you can't get by.

Russ first used the beach path in Long Beach but saw it's limitations in access points; getting to where you want to go was sometimes a problem. However, Laura said for getting out on a bike and getting accustomed to it, MUPS as good; they'll get you used to biking.

Maurice reported on being interviewed about the legislation requiring a light on all bikes. Maurice surveyed other bikers and to a person they didn't like it. Congressman Waddell who initiated it called Maurice and asked if it was only required at night if he'd support it; he said he wouldn't object; Hallie Dozier and the BRASS folks opposed it in that form as well. The bill died in the house by just two votes. An ammended bill passed the house and awaits the senate. Now it doesn't have a penalty, so people can be pulled over and lectured, and maybe asked for their identification (green cards--one person worried).

Another bill that mandates complete streets is being discussed in committee in Washington.

Another bill seeks to penalize motorists not giving clearance...

Share the road license plates was unanimously approved.

Cynthia described the Trampin' in the Park event coming on Saturday.

Russ noted that Austin Social Rides are a recommended model for getting people biking. The most important thing is to have a good website and have a good facebook page; Austin on Two Wheels is a model. Can connect with bike shops, don't have to be the only author. Can have the illusion of numbers and gave the example of now bike friendly oak cliff in Dallas, where one guy wrote about how it'd be great to have a trolley, and that cuaght the eye of developers and now they're going to have it.

April announced that if you care about the food that ends up on your plate, there's a couple in Jefferson Texas who raises grass food beef, and she also gets wild rice in Baton Rouge. It was mentioned that Jennifer Courtney, who's attended an ABS meeting in the past, runs a food coop. There's also a CSA community supported agriculture farm in Greenwood, but can pick up your share in Shreveport. Can go to and find these people. Maurice said he can't find local produce through that other than Marvin's Gardens and Ed Lester's in Cashatta. Used to put in order on Wednesday and pick it up on Saturday at Whole Food.

Carolyn and April are doing the Great American Bake Sale at 2121 Fairfield at College St. intersection Saturday for childhood hunger at 100% of proceeds donated to

The next meeting will be in two weeks on the 31st.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Trampin' in the Park Saturday at 4:00! Recall Tramps, Great Live Music, the Future Dog Park!

We'll meet at the Disc Golf parking lot of Veterans Park off of Clyde Fant. Bring a blanket and/or a lawn chair, nibblies, and be ready to revel and recall a great old Shreveport locale. Once a unique and special place: an outdoor amphitheater hosting nationally known acts, as well as fabulous local ones. Some of those very musicians will be on hand to jam and allow the rest of us chances to sing-along. (So bring your guitar, harmonica, bongos, whatever you like!) We'll also get a feel for what the land can offer us in the future, such as trails and added park facilities. Anyway, should be a beautiful day and a fun time! Join us!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ozark Society brings "The Path Less Pedaled" by Russ Roca and Laura Crawford Tuesday night at Centenary

The Bayou Chapter of the Ozark Society meets this Tuesday May 18 at 6:30 pm at Carlyle Auditorium (first floor Room 114) Mickle Hall on Centenary campus, just west of the Chapel on Woodlawn off Kings highway.

Our program next week is titled: The Path Less Pedaled and will be presented by Russ Roca and Laura Crawford.

The Path Less Pedaled is an exploration of what it means to live outside the lines. In March 2009, Laura Crawford and Russ Roca made the decision to drop out of the status quo and find others around the world who have done the same. Paring down their lives to just what will fit on two bicycles, Laura and Russ embarked on an extended bike tour throughout the US and beyond – with the goal of connecting with and collecting the stories of people who followed a calling to live their lives in unique ways, while revitalizing the model of the traveling artisan and inspiring others to travel by bicycle. Through photos, interviews, presentations, and an extensive web presence, Laura (an art jewelry maker) and Russ (a photographer) are compiling examples of lives less ordinary and sharing their experiences with the world. Their website is: The event coincides with National Bicycle Safety Month.

Friday, May 7, 2010

An Urban Group Hike for Shreveport? Why Not?

Steve Godfrey wrote: Maybe we can have a hike/walk like this one that they're organizing for the Lafitte Corridor Greenway in New Orleans; notice that they're having refreshments and music as part of the event:


Grab your walking shoes and a water bottle and join the Friends of Lafitte Corridor for their annual hike of the Lafitte Corridor on Saturday, May 8th. The free, public hike will start at 10:00 am at the front gates of Armstrong Park and finish at 1:00 pm with return transportation provided by Massey's Professional Outfitters. While hiking the Lafitte Corridor, you will learn about future plans for the three-mile pedestrian and bicycle greenway connecting Lakeview to the French Quarter, while stopping to enjoy refreshments and music. Registration is free at folc dash nola dot org

And where would we hike in Shreveport? Well, we've got a greenway too, along Clyde Fant. We've also got other possible routes into downtown or out to 70th and Youree that could be publicized as walkable by walking them together.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Friday, May 7th, come join the members of CoHabitat for Friday FREE for ALL!

The above photo is from a New York Times story on shared workspaces, & the following announcement is from John Grindley:

Get out of your stuffy office (or cubical, or Starbucks, or spare room) and join us for an afternoon of productive work at the CoHabitat space at 610 Commerce Street! Starting at noon, we're throwing the doors open, and inviting all of our friends and fans (likers!) to get out of their normal work space and work from our space for a few hours. Our friend, Matt Bailey came up with the brilliant let's try it out.

Perks will include networking opportunities, a chance to grow your business and your social capital, work from our stainless steel desks, great internet, great coffee (thanks Columbia Cafe!), a chance to get some fresh air on our wifi patio, and an overall sense of well being to head off into your weekend!

Jessica can probably even be talked into picking up some snacks for the impending masses. Pizza, beer, and you can bring whatever!

Friday afternoon, come whenever you can...the more the merrier...Bring your laptop, cell phone, and whatever you need to work and let's do this...

Hopefully, Cohabitat will bringing the recent national success of shared workspace to little old Shreveport. The idea is that you work in an open space sharing essentials like wifi, coffee, and meeting rooms with others who have complementary interests and skills. It draws on the same priniciple that urbanization does: mobility and connectivity leads to productivity. So, while we'd all be helped by spending some time on Facebook once in while, we'd also all be helped by spending some time at places like Cohabitat!

Ecologist to Speak on Oil Spill at Sciport Friday

Thanks to Caroline Majors for passing this on. Oil, oil, go away!

Dr. Dave Klein will be at Sci-Port this weekend. The lecture this Friday May 7 will feature an Alaskan Ecologist who will compare the Exxon Valdez and the Louisiana coastal Deepwater Horizon disasters. Dr. Klein was originally to talk about the changes taking place in the arctic due to climate change, but now his talk will also focus on the oil spill.

If you’re interested, more info can be found here: or you can call (318) 424-8660 to RSVP.

Downtown Walking Tours, May 22nd Tramp and Bake Sale, and "Dirty Thirty" among topics at last meeting

In attendance: Carolyn Manning, April Warren, Susan Keith, Loren Demerath, Cynthia Keith.

Some rough notes from our meeting last week:

Loren mentioned the kind of walking/biking tours his friend is trying to promote with the national web site he just started Carolyn said she's been thinking about putting together a walking tour of Shreveport. She wants to publicize it and get in "In the Know" and other forums like the FunGuide online. People who never come downtown could come to do it. April mentioned it could be combined with a film showing at the Robinson. The walk could feature homes, stores, restauants, museums, art, historic sites, etc.

April mentioned that the Robinson has a pamphlet of sites used in movies; they've got a map that could be integrated into the walking tour. Other possibilities mentioned were "Downtown Architecture," "Moments in Musical History," "Good Eats," or "What Happened Here" walking tours.

Carolyn thought it could be a way to show off the diversity of functions there are downtown. It could be a part of a series of summer walking tours. Several people recalled the great tour of downtown homes that the DDA held a while back. Susan noted that the Barnwell Jazz Series on the River is starting May 6th, and walks could end there maybe.

Turning to downtown development generally, it was mentioned that Larissa Brown came to the TACA meeting last week and showed a rendering of what Texas (Ave/St.?) could be like. The group talked about the Farmer's Market only operates during the summer, and although its because of the time for harvasting fruits and vegatables, much of the stuff sold there isn't fresh produce. Susan mentioned that for a while Shreveport had an Italian Festa before they moved it all to the river front.

Cynthia described the 19th annual Cross Lake Flotilla that's coming up, and even showed off a hat she's entered in a past "crazy hat contest". The floatilla has a facebook page, and its happening Saturday, June 12TH on Cross Lake at the American Legion. It's gonna a big ol' time!

On other announcements, on May 22nd, April's women's group is doing a bake sale the proceeds of which will go to a charity (dang! why didn't that write down? April?) at 2121 Fairfield Ave.

On the same day but later in the afternoon, we'll try again for our first outdoor meeting and picnic for "Trampin' in the Park" at the site of the future dog park. Fingers crossed for fair skies on the 22nd!

The group also discussed bicycling events, and how biking on the sidewalks downtown can be fun. (!!!)

We also learned about the "Dirty Thirty" from Magnet High educator Susan Keith. Come to the next meeting on May 17th and we'll tell you all about it. Not to mention plan for walking tours, bike sharrow painting, communal bike events, a dog park picnic party, and synergy with DDA!

Bus Bike Racks, Texas Avenue Community Association. and Downtown Development Among Topics at Well-Attended Meeting April 19

Lots of people in attendance at the April 19th meeting: April Warren, Sarah Savage, Maurice Loridans, Carolyn Manning Lamar Wright, Him Broyles, Susan Keith, Mark Hand, Matthew Linn, Feico Kempff.

The topics discussed were:

  • Routes for Bike Lanes and Sharrows
  • Coming Bike Racks on Buses
  • May 1st "Tramp in the Park"
  • Coates Bluff Nature Trail Maintenance
  • Texas Avenue Community Association
  • Downtown Development for Residential Spaces

Here are the rough notes:

Routes for Bike Lanes and Sharrows:

Will need to paint both north and south-bound routes for sharrows; need 3 times as many sharrows per mile as we currently have on Creswell route. Painted sharrows from last year is fading -- need better paint this time; Mayor Glover has promised his help in getting us good paint, and we have approval from Mike Strong. Also need volunteers to help and a warm day. Preferably the day would be one where its rained recently cleaning the street and where it won't rain soon in the future so it'll dry.

Lamar commented on how Milicent could use help, and Maurice said it would be good target for the future. First finishing the initial project from Creswell to downtown should be a goal, though. A friend recently lost the route because of not enough sharrows.

Coming Bike Racks on Buses:
Loren reported on the news from Ian Webb and Gene Eddy that bike racks will be available to use on city buses starting May 12th (officially being unveiled at 12:30). Many were excited at the news, though some said they'd like to buses to run more frequently to really be effective means of transportation when paired with bicycles. Loren said he'd heard Gene say in a Transportation Work Group meeting for the Master Plan that he was well aware of that problem and wished he had a budget that would allow more frequent runs (Gene rides the bus himself, as you might expect of a good bus administrator).

"Tramp in the Park":
May 1st is still set {though later canceled due to weather!} for the first ABS meeting/picnic at the future site of Shreveport's first dog park. Cynthia Keith is still working on getting Barbara Jerrel to come, but Dan Garner's coming with his axe, so others are invited to bring whatever instrument they'd like, as well as lawn chairs or blankets.

Texas Avenue Community Association:
David Nelson updated the group on the Texas Avenue Community Association. (And btw, check out their terrific new website!) He said they have been developing partnerships with businesses there, have done some fundraising, have set up 501c3 structure, and members have been attending the master plan meetings. They are working with the Shreveport Historic Preservation Society and other groups to take advantage of the rich historical character of the area that hasn't been brought out to this point. The group is also looking into the federal main street program--started by Mary Means who's a partner in Goody-Clancy. The corridor could eventually extend to the fairgrounds eventually, but they're first concentrating on the area to the east. They see as a walkable, mixed use, residential community. Susan Keith has put a copy of a research report she did on the history of that area at the library at the state fair grounds (do I have that right, Susan?).

Maurice asked if someone wanted to open a bike coop there, wouldn't getting it up to code be the first step? David said "I wish." He said one task is often tracking down ownership. He said there's a lot of property that's adjudicated, and there are a lot of environmental issues such as underground fuel tanks -- they've been working with the D.E.Q. on that. Many property owners have moved away, and they've been working with assessor's office to find out who and where they are. David noted that they're beginning to accumulate sympathetic owners; also that 75% of the buildings are in use there.

The group discussed with David how zoning allows for residential and commercial uses in that area, national historic landmark and national register status.

The group also discussed how the DDA has been mostly focused on the central business district, but has wanted to extend a cultural arts district to the areas noted on the map.

Downtown, the Homeless, and Development:
The homeless population downtown was discussed. One person said they thought the certain groups did everything they could to stop the building of a place to house the homeless. Currently homeless people they can sleep in one location but are flushed out during the day and have no place to go but the streets. It was said that some homeless people want to be homeless. It was also said that cities like New York, with denser development and more active pedestrian spaces, have supported marginal "businesses" of selling recycled books and magazines run by homeless people. These homemade, temporary "stores" have helped some people move off of drug and alcohol addiction to self-rehabilitate.

Turning to downtown development generally, it was noted that coordinators help developers plan that process; Fort Worth had a development kiosk where developers could go have their interests integrated and coordinated with other projects and an overall plan. The main street u.s.a. program is like that, and its apparently on the table with the DDA.

(Later that week, as it happens, Loren and Mark had lunch with Sherricka Fields of the Downtown Development Authority, who said the DDA would like to develop more of a relationship with ABetterShreveport. We were enthusiastic about the idea, and saw lots of ways in which synnergies could develop.)

Jim talked about he recent history living in DC not owning a car; ride bikes and subway and use "zip car". To apply a denser, bigger city experience is worth going for; can let free market cap run free and let people "pillage"; but one way streets in and out of downtown seem to indicate the city is just a site of pods used for work. He saw a need to jump start residential community, such as with a destination shopping place; or with gas station and grocery store. Jim has a background in banking and said that for a project to get financing you need to show what the comparable sales are; when it's just limited, the bank won't buy in; to give a developer confidence in what's there, though, an organization could come along side and say this is what it could be; pioneer investors are needed to partner with that type of organization.

When it was mentioned that the reason Whole Foods and other such stores won't locate here, particularly downtown, is because the average income level in the city is too low, Mark Hand said that we shouldn't try to answer questions that we don't have the right answers to, but ask a different kind of question: how can it happen? He gave the example asking children if a paraplegic person can drive a car and they'll answer no, but ask how a paraplegic could drive a car and they'll come up with lots of ways in which they could. It's the same question for downtown; it's not a matter of whether, or if, but how.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Michael Carmody just passed on a story about Austin working on a map of bike routes and looking for input on whether it should be wall-sized, wall-sized; one-sided or two, etc.

And that's just what we're working on!
(We're amateurs though. No doubt Austin's got pro's working on it. But, hey, the DYI culture is more fun!)