In attendance: Maurice Loridans, Carolyn Manning, Steph Pedro, David Young, Patti Young, Garrett Johnson, Cynthia Keith, Brian Salvatore, Robert Trudeau, Loren Demerath
REPORT ON BIKE-PED MASTER PLAN
Three weeks ago Pedro and Caroline Majors spoke to the city council about the bike-ped plan. In past meetings ABS has called for such plan, noting that it is essential for making our city more walkable and bikable, giving it a better quality of life and increasing the likelihood of economic investment and sustainable growth. Councilman Joe Shine asked if they had talked to SPAR, which suggested he saw it in terms of recreation. Pedro and Majors responded that they felt the plan should be housed in the city engineering department because this is about creating commuter-based transportation network for bicyclists. The council asked Shelly Ragle--the director of SPAR in attendance--about the plan and she said she thought Majors’ firm MHSM had already done a plan for SPAR some years ago. Later, in asking MHSM about it, Majors and Pedro learned it was not a plan but a sketch of ideas.
It was noted that local government officials don’t appear to understand what a true bike-ped plan is and how it facilitates bicycle transportation. The need for a bike-ped plan to facilitate walkability and bikeability is stated throughout the master plan, and yet it is odd that there was nothing about it in the bond issue. In contrast, some of the SPAR projects funded by the bond are just more buildings that we are going to have to pay to heat and cool and maintain.
Brian talked about his problem riding safely years ago in Connecticut and wished there were better facilities in Shreveport. Maurice pointed out that a good portion of riding safely is in education in proper technique. For example, many people don’t know it’s safer to ride on the street (a residential, non-arterial; not Youree, that is) than it is to walk on the sidewalk. Campaigns for public awareness in how to bicycle safely is a need for the city.
It was noted that SPAR has resources that can be used for a bike-ped plan. Maurice described Tim Wachtel’s drawing of an extended bike trail going to Bickham-Dickson, and how Maurice has said it should go all the way to LSUS. Tim has drawn plans for a system of bike paths, such as taking the Fern Avenue corridor and making a complete street on Gilbert. Maurice has suggested Creswell because it is flatter.
(It was noted that that’s the kind of local knowledge that a proper constructed bike plan takes into consideration. A lot planning is facilitating discussions that draw information for the community to create something is more fitting and usable than it would otherwise be. Steph, noted though, that another reason we need a bike master plan is because we need equity; we need to hear from various parties.)
Maurice pointed out on the map where Tim Wachtel had sketched a plan for a bike path going along Cross Bayou and 12 Mile Bayou. It would extend north for about five miles from the far northern section of the river-front bike path. That section takes a turn west for one block and stops, seemingly pointing the way it would continue to the west and then north. Conceivably it could go up to 220 and proceed under the bridge that goes over the bayou. The satellite image showed the forest along the bayou, and the group “oohed and aahed” about how beautiful the trail would be going through the woods. Cynthia mentioned that the river tour person might be willing to give a special ABetterShreveport tour; it might be possible to be taken up Cross and 12 Mile Bayous.
It was generally agreed that ABS should write a letter asking to resurrect those plans that were drawn up by Tim Wachtel.
David asked if the city has Federal Department of Energy stimulus funds to spend on a plan and Steph said the city has a line item to spend those funds on this kind of thing. They don’t have the time and resources to come up with a thorough plan, so we’re going to do that for them.
Whoever wants to can speak next Monday at 3:00 p.m. to City Council about the need for a bike plan. We’ve now lined up enough including Maurice and Loren.
CENTENARY COLLEGE TO HOST AND CONVENE MEETING ON COATES BLUFF
Loren and Steph described the meeting they had last week with Centenary College President David Rowe, the Vice President of Finance Bill Ballard, and MHSM Architects partner Kim Mitchell and planner Caroline Majors. The President was enthusiastic about the possibilities of the trail and how it can raise the quality of life not only for Centenary students, but for members of the surrounding community as well. President Rowe said he would be willing to convene and host a meeting among potential partners for developing the trail. In addition to interested Shreveport residents, those partners could include the Stoner Hill and Anderson Island neighborhood associations, the Montessori School for Shreveport, Stoner Lab Elementary School, Magnet High School, Valencia Park, the Veterans Administration Hospital, SPAR, Caddo Parish Department of Recreation, The Bayou Chapter of the Ozark Society, LOCO Mountain Biking group, and others. MHSM Architects will facilitate the meeting, and ABS will invite the potential partners. It was noted each ABS member could invite 5 people to get the word out personally and effectively.
ABS TO PARTICIPATE IN SCIPORT’S “SUSTAINAPALOOZA” APRIL 16
ABS has been invited to participate in Sciport’s Sustainapalooza, and the group made plans for what they’ll do. One idea would be to have people post on the blog there at the table the ideas they have for sustainable quality of life improvements in Shreveport, or their opinions on the various projects that ABS has worked on. Carolyn and Steph will also make a slide show that would illustrate ABS projects and activities, as well as ideas that we support. For manning the table, Carolyn and Cynthia will start it off from 11-12, Robert will take it from 12-2, and Garrett from 3-4. It was noted that two likely work better than one, so others are free to volunteer to join Robert and Garrett. We’ll be advertising it on the radio show as well.
TITLE INSURANCE PROBLEMS FOR ADJUDICATED PROPERTIES POSTPONED FOR RON ADAMS
Brian suggested we save our discussion about solving title insurance problems on adjudicated properties until Ron Adams can be here. He noted in an email he is determined to be able to attend soon (but was at the moment enjoying his retirement in Hawaii--good for him!). Brian noted the problem can be solved in some cases by the city taking the risk and leasing the land, as it is doing for Millennium Studios. Monty Walford has told Brian that the laws are in place as an issue of principle for people who live in rural areas. An environmental court (operating in many cities like ours) would help deal with adjudicated properties. Steph, based on our previous discussions, has told Oliver Jenkins we’ll be writing a letter of support for it.
PROPERTY TAX DISCUSSION TO COME WITH CITY COUNCIL GUESTS
Steph reported that Jenkins and Corbin would like to come to one of our meetings and talk about the fees and what’s a fee vs. a tax. ABS can use that discussion to create a document clarifying those issues and publish it. Those numbers can then be used to make proper comparisons with other cities.
INFORMAL DRUM CIRCLE AND “HOOPLA” BACK WITH THE NICE WEATHER
Trudeau, Loridans and Pedro testified to the success of the “Rendevous on the Red” that happened last Friday featuring hola hooping and a drum circle. They may move it back in the evening as the weather gets hotter, but for now it starts at 6:00 p.m. and people meet at the riverfront across from SciPort.
POGUE WINS APPEAL FOR MUSIC HALL
Loridans reported Bill Pogue won his appeal with the MPC and is o.k. to continue referbishing the historic building downtown into a music and dance hall. (ABS had written a letter to the MPC in support of mixed-use development of urban space and how Pogue’s plans seemed to fit in with that kind of development.)
DOG PARK FUNDRAISER ANNOUNCED; COMMITTEE MEETING WITH SPAR SOON
Cynthia announced the Bistro Byronz fundraiser for the dog park on Monday the 11th for $25 for food and live music. The committee will be meeting with SPAR soon and hope to learn answers to questions such as the location. Jeff Everson will be there, as well as Shelly Ragel, Charles Grubb (the Parrish Attorney), Everett Harris (Director of Caddo Parish Animal Services), Catherine Kennedy (in SPAR over this project) and others.
NEED FOR A RENTERS’ CODE TO PROTECT CITIZENS?
Brian mentioned that Lady Carlson of the North and Central Louisiana Interfaith Alliance has worked previously on getting a renter’s code for Shreveport could be a good guest for the radio show. Landlords have said it’s up to the tenants to inspect the properties before they rent them. It was noted that’s akin to asking consumers to inspect their own cars, food, medicine, and workplaces for safety. Saul Alinsky inspired community, grass roots organization. It was noted that the 100th anniversary of the New York Triangle fire was last Friday. David said Calvin Lester gave the renter’s code a try but was shot down. No codes or enforcement of regulations make it dangerous and inexpedient for renters, as well leading to lower property values for the surrounding neighborhood.
KUDOS TO SPAR AND FARMERS MARKET: THE ARTISTS ARE BACK
Maurice and Loren mentioned that SPAR will be allowing artists to join the Farmer’s Market again this year, instead of being down at the Barnwell Center which had less foot traffic and was more out of site. Much thanks to Shelly Ragle, Kip Holloway, and Noma Fowler-Sandlin for continuing their work to make our Farmers Market better and better every year!
RECALLING A GREAT WEEK
Brian recalled what a great week it was with Millenium Studio opening, then Blade Studios, then the bond issue passing. Maurice added the downtown tour of homes, the drum circle, the “Cork” wine festival. A great week in Cap’n Shreve’s ol’ Port!
May 16th to the 20th is National Bike to Work Week. The Friday (20th) is often bike to work day for Magnet High School.
June 4th will the Cross Lake Floatilla. Crossroads will be planning to hundreds of boats behind the American Legion. More details to come.
NEXT MEETING ON SUSTAINABILITY AND HEALTH; ABS EFFICIENCY
The next meeting (and radio show) will talk about both health and sustainability and how the many ways they intersect. We’ll have Sabre Hicks from the YMCA to talk about the City Fit Challenge, and Karen Wissing to talk about Sciport’s Sustainapalooza. Walking the bayous, biking the streets, urban farming empty lands, yoga, ti chi and hoola hooping on the riverfront, who knows what we’ll talk about!
Also on the docket: how to make ABS more organized, transparent, and productive; a subcommittee may be forming, and ideas and suggestions for how to improve things will be welcome.