Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Downtown Photography, the Farmers Market and artists, Downtown Safety, Multicultural Center of the South, Grants

By Loren Demerath

In attendance: Sue Stella, April Waren, Susan Fontaine, Jamie Heiges, Michael Lott, Maurice Loridans, Robert Trudeau, Kathryn Usher, Loren Demerath, Garrett Johnson.

The meeting began with two newcomers, Jaimie Heiges and Michael Lott introducing themselves, interrupted by enthusiastic conversation about their interests could help further a better Shreveport.

Jaimie's a photographer who recently graduated from U.L. She is photographing old buidings downtown. ABS wants to raise awareness of the beauty downtown and photography would raise awareness. The group discussed various downtown scenes (April mentioned purposely traveling one route to see the "Hope is a dead end street" sign). It was noted it might help people see the possibilities of living downtown to show downtown living spaces as part of Jaimie and Michael's documenting project. Could show interiors of spaces, without revealing addresses, then faces and profiles of people who'd be your neighbors. Adam Causey is a source of links and ideas as well; has talked with Michael and pointed him to the Shreveport Historical Society who in turn directed him to important buildings.

Michael has also been here just a year; works in the oil and gas industry; worked previously in non-profit administration for a brain injury rehabilitation clinic; was a psychology major. Michael lives downtown. He likes it because he can walk everywhere (he walks to the Robinson Film Center mainly). April noted she'd like to live downtown but has a pet, and many downtown apartments don't allow animals. Micheal noted there's a high occupancy rate in apartments. (It was noted that the Fairmont is a cool space with cool owners; the pool isn't open, though it's been redone).


April noted that she mentioned to the Caddo Federation of Teachers about the Farmers Market and integrating artists. Jackie Lansdale of the CFT (leader) keeps the school board in line with regard to education policy and teachers; her daughter Joanne Maguire, lived in Oregon and knows about bike-ped issues and might be a good ally to ABS.

The group then reviewed a letter it plans to send to the administrators of the Farmers Market suggesting some ways an artists market might be located nearby.

During the discussion it was noted the only problem with the previous position of the artists being located by the building the market patrons view of them; it seemed like only 10% made it to the artists. Michael Corbin runs the Barnwell, and it was said that although he has a lot of good ideas, there is not a carnival atmosphere drawing people down there. It was also said that there hadn't been any signage pointing people at the Farmers Market to the Artists Market at the Barnwell. Thoughts of how to make it more appealing ranged from jugglers, to ice cream trucks, even to re-enactments.

Some noted that the city has a big drama core in the city that would be willing, as well as a big Society for Creative Anachronisms crowd as well. Could program it and be a bus stop destination for people to come from Texas.


Susan said she works at edwards and travis, but parks down the street, A 15 minute walk away north of the municipal auditorium on douglas; people have told her she can't park there because of safety. Makes her sad that people think they can't walk there. A couple of homeless folks do live in the greenspace adjacent to Sprague St.; Susan's been approached a couple of times but handled it o.k.; she's lived in New Orleans and is used to being aware and handling that sort of thing.


It was said the new multicultural center of the south at 520 Spring St. is much nicer than the last location. Sue is showing an exhibit on a pre, during, and post Katrina photographs starting August 28th, the night before the anniversary of Katrina.


Some talked of another work session this Friday at CoHabitat.

Others (and some of the same!) talked of a hooping and drum session from 6 to 8 pm at the disc golf course on Clyde Fant. It was said Katie Rubben is an awesome hooper who's organizing it -- but it's unofficial.


From ( "Focus Roots Fellowships to support stand-out student and young adult applicants with $10,000 grants to demonstrate clean energy innovation in the name of powering their community past coal." Discussed briefly as something to pursue, particularly to help fund anyone who could use it to work full-time on bike-ped or public transit issues in town. Could it be used to leverage other funds, such as to match funds from other grants to pay for a full salary?


Carolyn via cell phone noted that Feico was there Friday to help with writing; Stephanie had asked about membership; $5 is currently membership, but Carolyn suggested increasing it to $20 (though $5 student) and all agreed; Feico's willing to take over from Ian for treasurer duties if he wants to hand them off.


The next meeting was set for the following Monday. In the meantime, the Farmers Market letter will be sent out with revisions, and we will seek to have the letters soliciting paint for sharrows signed and distributed. Work on PSA's, and bus service improvements will also proceed.

Should Cities Build Specialized Roadways for Cyclists?

Haven't read the article yet (again passed on by Michael Carmody), but as a professor, I'm a trained professional at talking about things I haven't read. And my immediate reaction is a confident "yes we SHOULD build specialized roadways for cyclists". I'm out there cycling on the streets myself, and with my family, but I wonder if I'm being over-confident.

Let's face it, being a bicyclist riding on roads shared by automobile drivers who are supposedly law-abiding and not distracted by their self-phones and radios, is sorta' like being an antelope walking through a pride of lions that are supposedly tame and well-fed. "Yeah, but, what if?" Sure feels better to be off the savanna and on a bike path.

And now, I'll read the article...

...Read it and I was right.

And look, it's affordable to become number one in the world! Even for Shreveport!:
"And even within the cycling-happy Netherlands, as David Hembrow has noted, the cities that have better infrastructure—and not necessarily the most densely populated ones—have higher cycling rates. And what's the annual cost of the world's best cycling infrastructure? By Hembrow's estimates, is roughly 30 euros for each Dutch citizen—well less than a tank of gasoline."

Could Shreveport become one of the best places to live in the world, let alone the United States, just by investing in bicycle infrastructure? Apparently, yes.

But here's where my heart is in all this: making people live longer because they're healthier, and live happier because it's just more fun to ride a bike than be carried in a car.


"I do believe the separate facility is the best," says Jacob Larson, a researcher at McGill University who recently completed a study of Montreal's bicycle infrastructure. "Not only in terms of actual safety performance but in terms of encouraging people who are less likely to ride their bikes. These people shouldn't have to be some kind of breakneck radicals that are really diehards—it should be a clear and safe option, and I think separate facilities give the perception that it is, and often do provide a truly safer alternative."

I wanna get our seniors biking, triking, walking, whatever, but they do not feel safe on a street. But can we build a network of roadways and paths devoted to bike-ped use affordably? Yes we can.

Here's an example of how. Barclays bank is sponsoring two bicycling projects in London described in this article posted on their website. An excerpt:

"The Barclays Cycle Hire and Barclays Superhighway schemes will launch in July 2010 and provide an environmentally sustainable way to travel.

Approximately 6,000 Barclays-branded cycles will be available for hire from 400 specially designed docking stations, covering nine 'Zone 1' boroughs in central London, providing a network where cycles can be picked up and dropped off.

To encourage a switch from other modes of transport for shorter journeys, users will be able to access the scheme from £1.

The separate Barclays Superhighway scheme will create designated cycle routes across London with two routes open initially with a further 10 more planned. These will deliver a much safer environment for cycling in London."

Think there are any companies that might like to sponsor such a project in Shreveport?

A City for the Next Decade?

From Angie White via Matt Smith via Cynthia Keith -- ah, the email trail!:
This article, by the editors of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine,
is entitled “The 10 Best Cities for the Next Decade,” and other than
the top 3 cities, the list may surprise you. Let’s learn from it and
use it for inspiration as we gear up for the next phase of the master
plan – implementing it!"

Peddaled Taxis, Anyone?

Here's an article on "pedicabs" that may be coming to New Orleans (passed on from Michael Carmody). Does Shreveport have the downtown density for a few of them? Maybe not. Nonetheless, could be the wave of the future for our cities with properly dense and healthy cores. Talk about green.

And don't cha' think any cab drivers that make the switch to pedicab driving would work happier and live longer? Or is that just a cycling nerd talking?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Request for Artists Market by Farmers Market, Bike Coop Grant, and other projects to be discussed tonight

At the regular ABS meeting tonight, the group will discuss a number of developing projects, some of which were worked on at Friday's work session at Cohabitat:
  • a requesting an artists market to be situated near the farmers market
  • a grant funding young persons to work in community, quality of life tasks
  • a grant funding a bike coop
  • a radio show proposal
  • bike sharrow paint donation to-do's
  • upcoming social rides
As always, we meet at Centenary Square, room 206, 6:00 to 7:00. Join us!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bicycling Safety Clinic, PSA's, Farmers Market, Bus Service, Critical Mass & Social Rides, Bike Coop, SHRAC Headquarters all discussed at last meeting

What a meeting last night! Scheduled for an hour, stretched to two in the parking lot afterward! Here's the summary:

In attendance: Susan Fontaine, Jennette Ginsberg, Stephanie Pedro, April Waren, Carolyn Manning, Robert Trudeau, Maurice Loridans, Cynthia Keith, Kathryn Usher, Loren Demerath, Garrett Johnson, Susan Keith

Newcomers introduced themselves. Susan Fontaine graduated from LSU in Baton Rouge recently and is now working in town at Merrill Lynch as a client associate. Jennette Ginsburg is a graduate student at LSUS in non-profit administration, and uses space at Cohabitat on Commerce Street.


Carolyn announced that she recently talked with Stacye Palmer of the National Park Service down state about holding a bike clinic on safety. Stacye said she would be able to get us bike helmets to give out for free to the attending children. It was mentioned that we might hold it at "Safety Town," where children reportedly learn about 10 areas of safety, including vehicle, pedestrian, bicycle, fire, and electrical safety; it's a project of Caddo Parrish Sheriff Steve Prader, located at 8910 Jewella Avenue next to Summer Grove Baptist Church.

It was noted that we could use the clinic to publicize our social bike rides, our map of recommended bike routes, and other bike-related issues, such as the need for sharrows, the utility of combining bicycling with public transit via bus bike-racks, and driver-cyclist coeducation on proper street etiquette, and the possibilities of bike commuting and running errands. (Carolyn, who lives in Broadmoor, said she's now almost completely car free, as is Maurice, who lives in Highland.)

The group decided that it would adopt the safety clinic as a project. First among the tasks would be to contact Safety Town and decide on a date on which to hold it.


The group then discussed how it might promote alternative transportation, downtown development promoting density and infill development, among other quality of life issues.

Videos could be produced that could be posted on Facebook and spread "virally". Robert is experienced enough to produce them, and others could learn as well. Additionally, professionals in town might volunteer their services to help us produce a higher quality video. (John Perkins and Tracy Thomas are two professional camerapersons in town who might be willing to help.)

A goal of some PSAs would be to change the mentality about biking. Many people who view it negatively--as class-stigmatized, or "weird"--might not be reached through a Facebook video, but could be reached through a network TV PSA.

It was mentioned that Rick Rowe on KTBS is often looking for stuff to broadcast on his early morning show -- and that's a time when many older people are awake and may be watching.

A talk radio show, perhaps on KSLA, was also mentioned. People could call in to discuss different ideas for the city with a panel on the air. KSLA's range now reaches over the whole city. They also regularly broadcast PSAs.

Digital billboards could also be used to reach a broad audiance, and they do display PSAs. Also, the "Share the Road" lawn signs have been popular and some say effective.

Among the tropes or themes that could be used would be remind people how using human powered transportation reduces the need for oil dependency and foreign policy entanglements, environmental risk from oil spills, and increases one's health, happiness, and opportunities for socializing; "street cred" could be spun effectively.


Susan asked about Critical Mass and if anyone had been there at the last one; those people might be interested in what we're doing. (On the topic of other interested, helpful folks, Carolyn noted that there's a person here now in the film industry that Steve Godfrey knows who she may meet soon.)

Jennette said she admired Critical Mass for the way it was community led, with rules set out, and people are made to understand if they want to participate they must follow those rules. Others agreed, though there was also much agreement that it could end up as a negative when drivers are made to stop and bicyclists violate rules of traffic.

Among the social rides discussed: using the Thursday pub crawls as a destination; an architectural tour via bicycle; the parade route cyclovias Maurice has started which could be more heavily publicized and amended to include a finishing meeting place at which to watch the parade. Garrett Johnson made the brilliant suggestion that we call someone with a beerbike to come to town for those two weeks. Similarly, maybe a few conference bikes could be brought in and tickets sold for their rental.


Carolyn reported on her research of interviewing farmers who'd been at the farmers market. The farmers are spread out there appears to be extra space but those spaces may be needed for occasionally spreading out or for patrons to use to relax.

Loren reported that he'd e-mailed both Kip Holloway and Noma Fowler-Sandlin but hadn't heard back from them yet.

Jeannette said she'd worked for the Crescent City Market and thinks what makes it work is the rules; e.g., they have to sell what they've made and not hire people or have friends sell for them. Jennette also said it was important to have the food and produce separate, so shoppers will know where to find that if they want it.

Carolyn thought the sidewalk on Crocket right outside the market could be used, and people would have to walk past the artists to get into the market. It was also noted that space along the train station on the market side could be used again. Spaces going east-west would be better than that going north-south with no morning shade such as the sidewalk along Commerce in front of Cohabitat.

Jennette also Farmers Market could at least have coolers with water. Related to the heat, the Police have a squad car running with the hood up:
- it makes the market space hotter
- its wasteful


Garrett then talked about Gregory Free being in town, the architect designing SHRAC's new headquarters in the old Central Fire Station building downtown. He said they want this design to involve community input, and representatives of ABetterShreveport would be welcome to come see the architect give his vision and give feedback. The architect will speak this Thursday at 5:30-7:15 at ArtSpace.

Garrett has talked to Pam about ABS and greenways and bike paths, and she supports our efforts at increasing Shreveport quality of life through bike-ped ammenities.

Garrett showed a variety of bicycle racks that had been designed by artists that increase the value of a space for the public generally, whether they bike or not. Here's an example of an assortment in L.A.

Loren noted there could be bicycle sharrows painted throughout downtown with indicators of the direction to take to SHRAC for downtown bike parking and bike commuter ammenities (lockers? sh----? [rhymes with "bowers"?]). Could also be located near a depository for old bicycles and parts that could contribute to a reservoir of available recycled metal to be used for sculpture and other arts.

Garrett said it will be more of a community building than an arts office building. For its offices, SHRAC just wants the top floor. Below will public space for an emerging arts gallery. The point of people coming Thursday is to give suggestions about what the community wants.


The group discussed where a bicycle coop might locate, and downtown property in general. Carolyn is talking to someone about developing a piece of property downtown. Garrett noted that whoever owns the Fairmont apartments owns a lot of that property around there.

With regard to combing a bike coop with other efforts, Garrett noted that SHRAC is looking at consortium grants as well (Garrett is one of SHRAC's primary grant-writers).

The main purpose of a bicycle coop is to provide a depository for used bicycles and bike parts as well a place for tool-sharing and education on bike repair. April said she could get a lot of tools donated; her grandfather has a surplus.

Jennette noted that a bike coop here may be more purposeful for a working class crowd who uses bikes out of necessity, rather than serving college students. Such people may already know how to repair but could use the tools or parts often. At the coop in New Orleans you can go in and build a bike for free if you build another and leave it there. Susan Keith said in Minot, North Dakota there's a guy who fixes up old bicycles and lets people just take them for $10, or borrow them and bring them back when they're done with them.

  • A number of folks are committed to helping with the PSA's: Robert, Loren, Carolyn, Jennette, Garrett among them.
  • Jennette will be heading the effort on the buses, perhaps drafting a letter; Sara Hebert has volunteered to help with graphics for schedules.
  • Loren will draft a letter to the Farmers Market, and is finishing the drafts of letters for the paint donation and letter of support from the Mayor's Office.
We'll meet again next week, Monday 6-7pm. See you then!

Monday, June 21, 2010

PSA's, Guerrilla Projects, Farmers Market, Downtown Retail agenda items at tonight's meeting

Tonight, at our regular meeting, we'll be meeting to discuss the following topics:
  • making public service announcements related to: Carolyn's Complete Streets In Action Facebook page, bus bike racks, bike commuting
  • new ideas for guerrilla projects like: posting bus schedules, downtown property owners, hosting a radio call-in show, etc.
  • improving the farmers market
  • steps towards a bicycle coop
  • steps towards getting retail destinations downtown
Join us!

Centenary Square, room 206, 6:00 to 7:00. (Across the street from George's Grill; enter from the back parking lot and you can't miss us!)

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.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Another Tree Tour Ride, New Farmers Market Ride, Coming Dog Park, Floatilla, Sabine River Float, Discussed at Last Meeting

At our meeting last Monday, we had great news on social bike rides and street painting. Here are the notes for the June 7th meeting:

In attendance: Stephanie Pedro, Cynthia Kieth, Maurice Loridans, Loren Demerath, Matthew Linn


With ride organizing as the priority, what a pleasure it was to have Matthew Linn come and announce that he and Hallie Dozier are up for joining us to organize another bicycling tour of city trees next fall! Many of us remember so fondly the tour last fall. Once again, the low registration fee will cover insurance for all riders, as well as t-shirts, and a fabulous picnic lunch will be donated by Columbia Cafe. But the highlight, of course, will be just bicycling through our beautiful city with so many other folks, stopping along the way to learn about trees and tree-care from our state's leading professional expert, Dr. Hallie Dozier.


Another ride to the Farmer's Market this Saturday was scheduled. This time we'll meet at 8:45 in the Columbia Park parking lot (or earlier for breakie at the Cafe for those wanting fine food for fuel) rolling out at 9:00 a.m. sharp. The route will be Creswell to Marshall. Loren and Maurice reported a lot of fun rolling in with the kids last Saturday. Easy relaxed pace mean they didn't break a sweat getting there, yet it still only took 20 minutes to get there.

Maurice has noted that in many places the farmer's market is year-round. Kip Holloway is in charge of timing for Farmers' Market; could be flea market stuff; the need for it here is more acute since we don't have a Whole Foods and it's a great place to get organic food, much of which isn't produce and seasonal.

A future ride could be one to "Hot Jazz on the Red"; could be biked to from Stoner Boat Launch; meet at 6:00, ride to the jazz, ride back at 8:00; could do last one on June 24th with AJ and the Two-Tone Blues Band.


Great news too from Stephanie. In her meeting with Mike Strong, Director of Operational Services for the city, he said he was ready to help us carry out the painting. With the Mayor supporting us, we're good to go. So, thank you so much Mayor Glover! And thank you so much Mike Strong!

Loren will be in touch with Mike about when to schedule painting dates. Saturdays are good because of less traffic, but Strong's people might not be available then.

Maurice mentioned Shreveport bicycle club and Ian Webb deserve a lot of credit for promoting proper driving ettiquitte in the city. Ian's bike shop, Rivercity Cycling, developed and sells the "Share the Road" lawn signs that we see around town. Get you one!


Cynthia Keith reported that the Shreveport Dogpark Alliance (SDA) is meeting with Shelly Raigle (executive director of SPAR) as well as councilwoman Joyce Bowman on the dog park.

They are deciding that it should be something that would include a large fenced-in area, a pavilion, access to water, benches, and would be on the river side of Clyde Fant just north of the Jimmy Davis Bridge.

Dog would have to be registered to go in; go to city, show vacination reords, sign to show you've read the rules; would get owners' release of liability ("CYA" before anything happens); would get a tag

Julianna Hofpower started interest in this project before moving out of town; Cynthia Keith has since taken it over and made it all happen, founding and directing the SDA.

Once this park is established and accepted, other areas would be established as permissible to have dogs off-leash.

Stephanie noted that when one started in New Orleans, there was a line to get in; it's been very popular. She noted that it's also a social amenity for pet owners, and it's an excellent way to meet and socialize with others beginning with shared interests. Cynthia mentioned that people visiting here often ask where a dog park is.

The parks are also fun to watch too. Garrett Johnson said he'd almost gotten in so many wrecks looking at the dogs in the Raising Canes Dog Park in Baton Rouge. Stephanie said the rubber necking can be downright dangerous.

Cynthia noted the issue of policing and regulation is an issue; but often people self regulate out of care for own animals that are there (like P.T.A.'s; neighborhood watch organizations, etc.).

The SDA has been in contact with the Baton Rouge Parks and Recreation Department about the verbage on their ordinance, their regulations, etc. It's basically going to be a city park; not run by animal control of Caddo; it'll be all SPAR's deal; they'll be taking care

A resolution was moved and passed at the meeting that ABS write a letter of support for the dog park; Stephanie also plans to write one from the perspective of an urban planner and former resident of a city with one that's been a success.

Dovetailing with the group's interests in the social benefits cycling as transportation, Cynthia told the story of passing Charles Grubb, former city attorney and mentioning the dog park while she was biking and he was running. As she passed she mentioned the dog park to him and he said he'd support it. Later, he told Cynthia of his dog's routine of going in the water during his daily run, and would really appreciate the dog park.

Maurice also mentioned Janet Creech as a potential supporter of the dog park; she is a horticultural expert who is often flown to China for consulting.

Cynthia said once the park opens we'll have to publicize it heavily then have people at the park to register dogs on the spot.


Currently boaters have to pay for a permit for each boat the own when boating in something like the Foatilla, as the permit takes the form of sticker. Maurice said Dick Maxwell (who builds his own canoes; lives on an arm going into Cross Lake on the south shore) told him that we're required to each boat individually. But Maurice said it's not appropriate for non-motorized boats; they're like bicycles in that most people have a "quiver" of them and only ride one at a time. The license should be transferable. Also, canoes and kayaks do not pollute, use as much space on the water, or creating as much noise as motorized boats.

Local artist Su Stella is selling ceramic pelican magnets to help fund her trip to the Mississippi coast to help with the clean-up. (See her facebook page.)


One of Maurice's favorite floats is on the Baudcaw Bayou well upsteam from the dam; floating from Sarepta to Cotton Valley.

A can't miss float is the Sabine River float in September on the labor day weekend; from wee hours Saturday until Monday evening; from Leesville to Deritter; spend two nights on the river; can easily arrange to rent a canoe; camp on beautiful white sandbars and bring tents, cooler, etc.; cool clear water from the bottom of Toledo bend dam; paddling clubs from all around come; typically 100 boats; great for families -- kids can get bored in canoes, but you can drop them off on the sand bars and they run along the sandbar.


Maurice noted that Russ had said we need an aggregating site like Austin on Two Wheels that may not have its own content but compiles all the stuff around town for biking. Our site, could serve that role. It needs to have a way of getting what the different rides and routes are, recent posts from other sites, etc.; aggregating is the mechanism.


The meeting began with chat about Maurice's bike helmet, home-made from a Hummers' bee keepers hat. Coolest thing rolling with the ventilation and wide brim.

Garrett recalled how he built his bike for free in exchange for volunteering two hours a week over a period at the bicycle coop in Boulder, Colorado. (Many of us hope to have a bicycle coop in Shreveport someday.)

While Garrett recommended "Pedaling Revolution," Maurice recommended "Bicycle Diaries" by the Talking Heads' David Byrne. (They pledged to exchange books.)

NEXT MEETING SET FOR MONDAY: 6 - 7. See you then!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Farmers Market proves a fun social ride destination Saturday

A bunch of us rode down to the first Farmers Market of the year Saturday. Could become a regular thing to promote bicycling in the city.

I rode with Maurice Loridans, as well as my kids, and though we going at kid-speed, we still made it from Centenary in about twenty minutes. Stephanie Pedro and cousin made it from South Highland without a hitch, as did Garrett Johnson and Susan Fontain.

And as we pedaled in, we passed Centenary math professor Mark Schlatter already pedaling home with his lot from the market. He told us it was a good crowd we were headed for, and it was! (One of the benefits of bicycle travel: talking with people you ride by.)

We'll be planning more such rides at Monday's meeting, for any who'd like to join us.

New Members and New Ideas at Last Meeting! Next One Tomorrow!

In attendance: Stephanie Pedro, Garrett Johnson, Loren Demerath, Robert Trudeau


Steph and Garrett shared favorite bike routes they use. Both live in South Highland. Garrett chose that area when he recently moved here in part because it is so bike-able.

Stephanie is a new urban planner in town, and is launching her own firm, "Vicini". We discussed planning and mixed-used development in Shreveport, and she mentioned that the picture of Bayou St. John on the web site happens to a neighborhood that has many uses; festivals, schools, retail, etc.; and it may have come back fast after Katrina largely because of that; Robert remembered biking through it fondly; its just north of city park.

Stephanie noted that certain elements of that could be brought here, though not all; Shreveport is a distinct area with it's own surpluses and deficits, e.g., no large, ph.d.-granting university...

Garrett is a development assistant for the Shreveport Arts Council and is from Mandeville; Steph likes Mandeville it because it's quaint and has lots of festivals; Robert recalled the "Smokey Mary" train would carry a band that would for the journey out from New Orleans.


Stephanie noted that she is about planning infill development for urban areas. Many places could be converted to villages; a reuse of buildings can happen; Robert thought Shreveport was particularly good at that.

When the talk turned to downtown residential development, Stephanie noted that people would need balconies to not to live like rats; its difficult for people from suburbs to move into high density space without some outdoor spaces like balconies.

We also talked about the facades of historic buildings being used. In Nashville and Memphis they've stripped the whol building except the facade, holding it up with steel girders and having outdoor spaces such as coffee shop courtyards in those spaces behind the facades. Shreveport certainly has the climate for it. Even in the summer, awnings for shade and portable fans make even the dog days doable outside. But it notable that many places where outdoor spaces do well have months where they are not used because of the winter.


When Loren updated the group on his discussions with Mayor Glover, and about how we'll still be needing to find funding for the costs of the paint for the sharrows. Garrett said the visitor's bureau has done in-kind printing for SHRAC; as 501 counts as tax write-off. For printing maps or donating paint, they'd calculate the value of the donation and we'd give them our federal tax i.d. number. As for city donations, Steph noted that transit authorities usually run in the red.

For paint donations, it might be best to target a company that uses the paint anyway. Developers perhaps? Stephanie mentioned that sign manufacturers could have it; street paint has the same qualities as sign paint. Stephanie also knows Dan Jatres who was on the statewide committee for the bike-ped plan and is the bicycle transportation coordinator in New Orleans and he might know where to get the paint.

We discussed asking the mayor for a letter saying that he supports our sharrow painting, which we can then take to companies who we'd ask for a paint donation.


Garrett went on a green tour in Baton Rouge sponsored by Abita beer among others (so there as beer at all the stops) and featured a stop at a solar panel plant. Were we to have a bicycle tour downtown we could include a stop at Robinson that where we could show the film made in California about bicycle safety and street ettiquitte. (One member said she was beeped and almost run off the road biking recently in Shreveport. Others said they hadn't had a problem. Sexism was speculated as a cause. We noted the value of having enough space to ride in pairs when safety and security is a concern.)

Jane's Walk is an organization and movement of walking cities that we can use as a template for organizing city walks.

Garrett mentioned have loved reading "Pedaling Revolution," a book about how people are coming back into the cities to reside, partly empowered by being able to bike everywhere. Loren was excited to hear about it and is planning to review it for use in his urban sociology class.


Minden raised some of the most money in the south per capita for its non-profits.

Might take year or more to see spending from shale profits; though hotels and restaurants have had business increases from employees.

Haynesville was Gregory Kallenburg's film that was recommended by Robert and Loren.