Saturday, July 31, 2010 features ABS and looks for comments on Don Shea is a new urbanist-oriented web site with much of a similar mission as ABS of improving the city's quality of life. It's much bigger, though, with 300,000 readers and over 1,000 forum contributors.

Steven Dare, one its editors, recently called me to let me know they'd featured us. They're looking for people to comment on Don Shea, who'll be leaving his post here as head of the DDA to serve as a Council member in Jacksonville. They'd like to know what we know about him.

Also, btw, looks to be a terrific resource and model for smaller and newer groups like us. Steven tells me there's actually a new wave of groups like ours, and with blogs like ours, that have popped up all over the country.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

At Last Meeting: KSCL Radio Show, Blue Goose Development, Forums, Candidates Bike Ride

A Better Shreveport
Originally uploaded by trudeau
Notes by Loren Demerath.

In attendance: Robert Trudeau, Micheal Laffey, Caz Verbois, Carolyn Manning, Sara Hebert, David Aubry, Steve Godfrey, April Waren, Feico Kempff, Carolyn Manning, Askari Hinton, Deborah Allen, Garrett Johnson, Dan Marcalus, Loren Demerath

What a great meeting! Here were the main topics discussed:

* New Taco Bell--and more--on Kings Highway
* City Council Forum and preliminary bike ride with the candidates
* Radio Show coming August 16th, 5 p.m. on 91.3 FM, KSCL
* Downtown properties to buy for condominium development
* Possibilities for the Blue Goose area

Carolyn updated us on the bike-ped plan work. She's chatted more with Stacye Palmer at the National Park Service; Stacye has talked with her boss and is collecting other successful bike-ped master plans from around the country that she’ll be using with us to create one for Shreveport. Carolyn will be going down to New Orleans August 18-20 to meet with her. Feico will be able to join them while he’s downstate at the same time representing ABS and the city at the Keep Louisiana Beautiful conference courtesy of the Committee of 100. By that time Stacye hopes to have a skeleton plan ready.

After reviewing the chain of emails from Jennette Ginsburg, Dan Marcalus, Monty Walford, and Kern Courtney, on concerns about the new Taco Bell on Kings, David noted that Liz Swain and others had ridden the backs of McDonalds and others franchises for a while now on these kinds of issues. April noted that Subway might the most likely to pile them in without regard to density, as they’ve got no stipulations on that kind of thing (and are also the cheapest franchises to own).

Robert thanked HRA via Dan Marcalus for their work in tempering the impact of the new Taco Bell; Feico said it's over 5 acres and was originally a planned Albertson's market; so other things might be coming in there along the lines of the zoning that’s been established.

Based on the work done last Friday, including a spreadsheet of tasks and deliverables compiled by April, Carolyn, and Stephanie Pedro, the group discussed the bike ride, including the route, the tasks, how to contact the candidates (Steve mentioned the elections division of city government), the benefits of publicizing it by getting Mayor Glover to join us (Robert said he would be contacting Ian Webb about a bike loan for the Mayor following up on the discussion the Cedric and Ian had at the press conference for bike racks on city buses), as well as the value of publicizing it on the radio show. (We may be posting the spreadsheet.)

Centenary Faculty Advisor to KSCL, Dr. Michael Laughey, and KSCL Station Manager Caz Verbois discussed with the group the possibility of having a radio show devoted to informing people and inviting their contributions to ideas and projects for a better Shreveport. (The full proposal is online as a shared document.)

The following decisions were made:

* The show will be mix of previously recorded segments and live talk. Although KSCL doesn’t have the technology to put live calls on the air (one needs a delay to ensure no language violates FCC regulations) we might be able to use a new, free technology such as google voice or youstream to the same effect. We can use email and instant messaging as a way of interacting with audience during show.
* We will aim to debut the show on August 16th. This will allow us to talk about Feico and Carolyn’s trips coming later that week, the Mayoral Forum that’s the following week, the warm-up bike ride to the City Council Forum on September 2nd, and the Council Forum itself on the 9th.
* The show will be from 5:00 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday afternoons. That’s a prime drive-time spot, its weekly regularity will allow people to know when to find it. The slot would also give us a chance to advertise the weekly ABS meeting that’s at 6:00, and that would start a half an hour after the show ends.

Other related notes:

* Robert noted that people come to him to record a piece for the show, having it already outlined in detail, nearly scripted, will help with quality.
* Caz said he would give us a mini-training session and tour of the studio some time prior to the first show.
* Michael said he would like to have a student host or co-host the show, and he and Caz were thinking Marquette LaForest might be a good person already on the staff of KSCL to do it.
* Loren asked about theme music, and Michael said they pay a regular fee to BMI that would allow us to play anything. (So think of theme music y’all.)
* Caz noted that pieces produced for the show could also be disseminated through other media, such as youtube, facebook, the ABS blog, etc.
* Garrett said Ian could be a guest on a show on bike repair.
* Debbie suggested that one show could devoted to health issues in Shreveport, and others agreed. Debbie mentioned that Shreveport has the second highest rate of HIV in the state, and funds have recently been cut that would’ve helped with treatment.
* (BTW, we didn’t talk about the title of the show. How about “Time for a Better Shreveport” “A Better Shreveport Quality of Life” or “What’s a Better Shreveport?” or “30 Minutes to a Better Shreveport”. Comments? Other suggestions?)

The group then heard Askari Hinton talk about his hopes and plans for the Blue Goose area downtown. Properties there have been in Askari's family for over 60 years; his family owns land there, and he thinks it could be a good place for historical tourism. He’s currently trying to raise money to refurbish the area. The two anchors of the area are Fertitas and Blue Goose, and if they’re both open and healthy, that area will be an asset to the city. September the 6th is the date for a music festival Askari is planning to raise money for the area. It will be in Festival Plaza and not in Princess Park because the latter has been abandoned and neglected “as if the land as been written off”. Currently, it’s a park that the children who live there can't play in.

Many in the group noted that its a promising area. Debbie said, when you walk the tour you can feel what the park was and what it can be in the future. Robert said if you walk down from Municiple Auditorium to the railroad tracks you can feel the history of the area.

Carolyn said a problem is not having a safe public parking lot downtown, and doesn’t like having to use the Casino parking lots. Another person said it was as if the city was forcing us to the casinos.

Debbie said part of the plan is to restore some of the homes. Garrett said the Blue Goose area borders the Shreveport Commons area of the West Edge being promoted by ShRAC. On August 25th will be the formal announcement and a push for developers to invest in that area.

Askari has a drawing of the potential development including studio, bed & breakfasts, houses, and a park, by Allan Dyson. Askari has started rennovating one of the shotguns (his family owns 12 of them) and it is now very open and feels like a big studio apartment. Feico said he thought Ron Hardy is trying to do similar with other properties.

Carolyn is looking for someone who wants to buy a building downtown to turn into condominiums. This person is looking for something that’s not too expensive and not too hard to refurbish.
ABS could get a tent/booth as the music festival, but we don't have funds.

Feico reported that April Dahm says there's a call for proposals for master gardening; it would be for setting up and planning community gardens; slow food at camp forbing is April Waren’s community garden; Jon Soul, Maurice Loridans and Leia Lewis are all ABS members who have helped organize community gardens.

It was mentioned that there's an old building that's being refurbished on Lake Street at Marshall, facing the Times' new press building. Apparently the owner also owns the Tatoo School and the offices there will be for his businesses.

Stay tuned for a work session announcement from Stephanie Pedro. The next regular meeting will be Monday, August 2nd, 6:00 to 7:00, Centenary Square room 206 as usual--though Garrett has agreed to chair and take notes, as Loren will be out of town.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Getting more deeply into the 1 World 2 Wheels life

1 World 2 Wheels is a movement supported by those who believe the bicycle can be a vehicle for positive change. Explore our site and learn all about how to go by bike .

Think of all the short trips you take by car. To the store, the gym, to your hair salon. Try to take many of those miles by bike (we can agree it's OK to leave out the salon).

Rack up your miles at the 1W2W site.

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.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Basic Goals of One City's Bicycle Program

Jeff Girard just passed on this site about Seattle's bicycle program. The goals are their "Urban Trails System" are as follows:
  • "Facilitate bicycling as a viable transportation choice;

  • Afford citizens the opportunity to experience the City's unique scenic and natural amenities;

  • Provide access to healthful recreational activities; and

  • Link major parks and open spaces with Seattle neighborhoods."
Not outrageous goals, right? And I bet they don't have the public right-of-ways in place from drainage canals that we do. Bless our bayous!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Security of a Cyclist's Separation from Automobile Traffic

Michael Carmody passed on another news item on YouTube: a new kind of separated bike lane in Seattle. Would parts of that work in places here?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Louisiana Bike Racks and Other Topics Discussed at Last Meeting

At the last meeting the group discussed statewide Louisiana bike racks, grants, ABS dues and contribution levels, Complete Streets as Louisiana law, and the Farmers Market.

In attendance: Robert Trudeau, Carolyn Manning, Maurice Loridans, Garrett Johnson, Loren Demerath.

Carolyn Manning showed pictures of the new bike racks that the state DOTD is encouraging use of state-wide.

Garrett Johnson talked about the federal government grant that Pam is mulling it over right now to see if they can get it together in time. It’s a 25 page grant and would involve using partnerships that aren’t quite in place yet. It would be written by the people that collect data for the city.

The arts community that Pam and others want to create in the arts district could be highlighted by an arts and music festival. The triangular space at Common and Texas could be a space for that, as well as a regular artists market perhaps, or a farmers market in the months when it isn’t in Festival Plaza.


Carolyn said because we’re growing as an organization and developing higher aspirations, we should do things like formalize our board positions, and develop procedures for fund raising.

After some discussion, the consensus was that could we have different levels of organizational involvement and support (e.g., gold, platinum, silver, etc.) and it would be voluntary what people do. People who want to contribute more to support things like letterhead, hosting guests at meetings for coffee and refreshments, sometimes lunch for small group meetings with government officials, etc., can do so. It was noted that we should take advantage of our current momentum or we’ll lose our new members and energy. Garrett mentioned that we could have a sponsorship page as part of our website with the names of sponsors displayed there according to level of sponsorship as ArtSpace does on it sponsor wall.

Carolyn said she’s willing to do a fund raiser such as what they often do in Dallas: a scavenger hunt, pub-crawl. The streets are packed with hundreds of people; they’re very popular. Here it would be a smaller scale, of course, but Carolyn thinks she could get enough people to build on if we each recruit some friends. Even if we just had 25 people the first time it would be a success. It would also be an opportunity to show off downtown. That could be the motive for holding the event as much as raising funds.

Carolyn held little street festivals (100 people went to the first one including the volunteers) to raise money for trolleys, and eventually it worked.


The group briefly discussed the Farmers Market briefly. Loren said he had communicated the gist of the group’s letter in an email to Kip, and was sending the hard copy with the picture.


Carolyn said she’ll be talking with Stacye Palmer about helping us to put together pieces for bicycle-pedestrian master plan. Such a plan is what the grant is really part of, and support for which is the reason we began working on the Coates Bluff Greenway and Nature Trail some time ago. Stacye had been spending most of her time for a while on the Mississippi River bike trail, but can now take direction from us on what we need.


Maurice made the official announcement that Complete Streets passed and was signed by Governor Jindal, so that means the DOT has to include not motorized use of all their projects. It doesn’t apply to private or local government projects, only those that receive state funds. It also only applies to new projects. They’re not going to go back and refit the Shreveport-Barksdale bridge to get to Bossier, etc.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cycling Getting More and More Social

Check out this page that describes many of the "more than one" pedal vehicles that now exist, and here's a place in Austin that rents Conference Bikes. Even the beer bike is there. (And I'm sure they've ironed out those sticky legal issues by now.) Can't you see that pre-touring the mardi-gras parade route this spring? Or how about a fleet of Conference Bikes, or 4 person surreys to rent for our own Mardi Gras, Cyclovia season?

In the long term, though, bikes that are tricycle tandem or surrey models might be just the thing to give seniors, families, and more safety conscious types the confidence to pedal.

Cities have been known to buy experimental vehicles like these and rent them out or use them for special occasions, a bit like Shreveport did with the downtown trolleys. A bunch of partying friends likely wouldn't be able to rent the trolleys out though.

I'm gonna be on Sanibel Island in Florida soon, where I hope to rent a 4 person surrey for my family. I expect it to be fun, social, relaxing, good exercise, a bit slower than regular biking, but still a lot faster than walking. I'll post on what it was like.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Cell phone tours by bus, bike n' foot, bike coop, SPAR customer service, bike racks, and a big grant all discussed at Friday Cohabitat work session

Notes by Loren Demerath.
Reminder: meeting Mon, July 5, from 6:00 to 7:00.

Jeannette Ginsburg, Garrett Johnson, Loren Demerath, and Carolyn Manning met on Friday at Cohabitat as part of an unofficial work session. Among the things we discussed:


Now that we’ve sent our letter and had email communications with Kip and Noma, we can probably hand off the Farmers Market – Artists Market negotiations to the Shreveport Arts Guild. They’re an organization of artists that’s probably best suited to handling the negotiations. It was mentioned that it’s conceivable that the Artists shouldn’t be located near the Farmers Market; that, for whatever reason, it would detract from the Farmers Market. That doesn’t seem likely to any of us, but we conceded that we don’t know everything there is to know about the situation.

Anyway, the likely outcome that seems reasonable is that Shelly Raigle, Kip, Pam, and a representative from the Shreveport Arts Guild will all get together and work it out.


We also discussed the video Jeannette had sent out showing a showing a bike tour of folk art in Los Angeles. We really the video’s tone and style, other than the fact that it was a bit long and never showed the route of the tour. We thought it would be a good way of publicizing any city tour.

We discussed different kinds of tours to have, tours of the city’s public art, historic architecture, sites of historic events, the city’s music history, etc. Jennette mentioned that the Goody-Clancy folks were given (or did they host?) a bus tour of the city as part of beginning the master planning process. Offering that tour again, maybe for $10 per person, perhaps as a fund-raiser for ABetterShreveport, could be an effective way of increasing interest in downtown revitalization, and of recruiting more people to help with ABS in general. Bus tours are more accessible than bike tours; could appeal to older people; could give maps of Sporttran bus routes during the ride.

For any tour, the system could be used that one project in L.A. has developed where you call a phone number and put in a certain code devoted to a given locale in order to hear the details related to a given site; can also record a message to contribute details for others to hear.


When discussing the bike coop, stages of development, the site, staffing, and aspirations were all discussed.

Site: Garrett mentioned that maybe it could be in or around the Highland Center. A good site given it’s centrality in Highland, and even the fact that it’s all downhill from any direction there. As much as we want to assist downtown, it’d been mentioned that it wouldn’t be seen as accessible to as many Shreveporters as perhaps a Highland location. Indeed, it’s tough to make it downtown on a bike if you don’t know about Marshall, and just one of two plausible entries from the south.


1—location for bike coop that could serve as a depository for donated old bikes until other stages are completed

2—collecting tools

3—bike stands (pricey; might need grant help)

4—staff and volunteers: people to serve as staff on weekends, maybe just Saturdays; often open three or four days a week in other cities; Job Corp could be a partner; as Shreve Corp is with Shreveport Green; can serve the youth in that they learn a new trade, also learn to follow through with tasks, to deal with people they’d be helping, design and administer projects, even design bikes for certain populations such as seniors. Kelsey, who’s organized GRITS in town, was working with Ian on a few workshops, and could be a person who might want to help, as might Greg Lewis of and who refurbishes and donates bikes to low income folks and is a long distance biker and friend of Ian Webb’s.

5—decide of days of the week and hours of operation.

6—develop signage and promote visibility and community awareness of the coop.

7—design and hold workshops; including inviting in “experts” such as those who regularly give safety clinics from the Leagues of American Bicyclists or locatable through such sites

Aspirations: We gotta be realistic. We ain’t Baton Rouge, or even Nacodoches or Ruston with larger student populations. But, who knows what might happen if new things were tried that serve the populations we do have. Pedal cars for seniors built for comfort and cargo room, with roofs and baskets? Bikes for hip hop fans, ready to be pimped out for maximum chilliness? Bikes for social groups, seven pedaling at once? Who knows what might make us a bicycling city? Whatever works to do it would serve as an example for similarly university-challenged cities like us.

But at minimum, we could use an old bike depository, and there’s no doubt there are enough old bikes in town to fill up whatever space we can get, and there’s also no shortage of unused spaces in town.


Loren questioned the importance of bike racks, but Jennette and Garrett straightened him out, reminding him how it looks and feels to park a bike on a tree or chain link fence: sloppy, unwelcome, unsafe, inappropriate. Bike racks being present also increase awareness of biking as a possibility, and is just a part of bicycling infrastructure.

To increase awareness of the lack of bike racks, a friend of Jennette’s took a lot of photographs of bikes locked to trees – Garrett’s is often locked in front of Robinson. Cyclists could keep in their bag a postcard they could leave that would say something like: “I rode my bike to your business today because… but I wasn’t able to park it…” To have a bike rack makes a business look urban, knowledgable, current, and accommodating.

Public installation of artistic bike racks, such as those designed by David Byrne, once of the Talking Heads, also beautifies the property. A grant could fund such public art installations, bolstering the local arts scene and our alternative transportation infrastructure at the same time.


Garrett (who, you’ll recall is a professional grant-writer working for ShRAC) discussed with Loren a grant opportunity being jointly funded by the EPA, the DOTD, and HUD to improve a city’s qualities of transportation, water, and air. It is has a 5 million dollar ceiling. It’s due August 28th, and it could be done if everyone “plays nice”.


Katy Rodden is a hoola hooper who’s going to school in Ruston, and was on an exchange program in South Carolina where she got into hooping. She tried to organize a collective hooping event, and called SPAR about it, and spoke to a gentleman there who gave her the impression it was impossible for her to use the space for that unless she had a very expensive insurance policy. She apparently felt like her idea was being unceremoniously crushed, and was very discouraged and even offended by the way she was treated. It was mentioned that this kind of protective view of parks will not draw young people to Shreveport, but drive them away.

(After the meeting we all went to the hoop and drum circle event at Veterans Park and it was great! Thanks for persevering Katy!)


Carolyn Manning said she had a good conversation with Stacye Palmer of the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program, from whom ABS won a grant a while ago. We haven’t been able to do much with them to this point, but we love Stacye and Carolyn said she just needs to know a list of things we need. Carolyn’s going to be in communication with Stacye about the kinds of things they can do for us to create a greenways plan for the city, or, better yet, help us create an overall bike-ped plan. It may be that combining the Stacye’s work with contributions from Tim Wachtel (SPAR planner) and Roy Jambor (MPC planner) we could end up with the bicycle-pedestrian master plan for the city that will then make greenways, bike paths, bike sharrows much more feasible to fund and construct.

Next meeting: Monday, 6 to 7 p.m.