Sunday, June 19, 2011

ABetterShreveport Meeting Monday, June 13, 2011 AT COHABITAT

In attendance: Maurice Loridans, Garrett Johnson, Jennette Ginsburg, William Hartman, Jack Waterman, Carolyn Manning, Cynthia Keith, Steph Pedro, Robert Trudeau, Feico Kempff, Susan Keith


Maurice opened the discussion with the Times article on the annexation and it’s impact on the City and how it does not jive with the Master Plan. He enjoyed the good journalism that it portrayed. Carolyn commented that we need new businesses, and tax dollars, and annexation is not the answer.

Jennette brought a book by William Upski Wemsatt, Bomb the Surburbs, to share with Garrett.Stephanie is currently reading Wemsatt's book No More Prisons which references that book and it is quite refreshing.

There are urban pioneers that develop an urban core correctly. Maurice: Austin is not a good model because they have a huge university and Austin is the state capital. Steph: We should look as close as Tyler, TX; Lafayette, LA; and Little Rock, AR. Just like New Orleans, the nonprofit sector is fully engaged in the progression of the city, and they get the big rock of local government slowing beginning to move. First things first: have a solid, fully vetted, and UPDATED zoning code! Zoning is one of the most powerful tools that local governments have! So let's use it to reduce risk in investment!

Cynthia shared a FB group on Stoner bike trails. These guys are putting in long hours of sweat equity--join the fun and see what they're up to!


Maurice and William are volunteering on the DDA's Edwards Streetscape project. Other members include Liz Swain, Tim Wachtel, Valerie McElhose (Sportran), Donna Curtis. Edwards ends up dead ending at the convention center. The grant is to fix Texas as far as Milam, one street short of the bus station. We will figure out a way to get it all the way. Trees, planters, bike racks, trash, Maurice wants to see how many bike racks our citizens will need. Bike rack designers were talked about. It was asked why the grant is focused on Edwards. Convention Ctr was to help spur tourist activity (Edwards is conduit to street level retail on Texas & Milam). There is a ½ block gap between Fannin & Travis. It was asked where the tourists walk around? No where, cause the retail is obsolete as of now. Casinos never gave the tourist flow through downtown. Edwards could end up as the sidewalk cafĂ© street. William asked the streetscape committee why it doesn’t go all the way to Crocket, where the bus terminal, residential buildings, and Festival Plaza are? Well, because Andy Taft, past DDA Director didn’t think it should go beyond Milam, and they can’t amend the grant right now.


The following locations have been identified for needing bike racks. ABetterShreveport members suggested the following be added to the list:

2 at Festival Plaza

Noble Savage


Lee Hardware

United Jewelers

Water Spray Fountains


Travis @ Market

Travis @ McNeal

Travis @ Louisiana

Texas @ Common (Outbound Side)

Texas @ McNeal (Inbound Side)

Texas @ Marshal (Outbound Side)

Texas @ Spring

Milam @ McNeal

McNeil @ Crockett

Edward @ Milam

Cotton @ Common

Fannin @ Spring

Spring @ Caddo

Maurice: bike rack style should conform to the green streetlamp color, called bollard, a post with a loop that needs to face so that bike is inline with street traffic. There is a city that did lamppost bikeracks.


Did you? Maurice shared a nice poster promoting Valerie McElhose's Dump the Pump Day, June 16. She is quite the progressive assistant director of Sportran, a semi-new position for her. She came from Monroe, and is from Kentucky. She's managed transit in various cities, and is a go-getter! Yay! Robert has noticed bikes on the front of buses. Robert asked how many of us will commit to riding the bus Thursday. Carolyn wanted to know where the maps of the routes were, and it takes too long. Steph noted that you have to call the number to get the schedule. Robert and others did not know that—most people don’t!


Since we are in a long range planning cycle, (October 22), Matthew Linn, Donna Curtis, and Hallie all have approved of the date. Robert is in contact with League of American bicycles and they want $75 for one-year of membership which includes insurance. The group thought it was a great deal. The next step is to ask Pratt Industries for a donation. Dates need to be included on t-shirts. Jennette: In New Orleans, there are tree tours of what happened during that tree’s lifespan and brought in historical antidotes that way. Hallie does a little bit of that, but attention is lost after about 1.5 minutes. Robert will mention the idea to Hallie, and she can feature the log jam. The tree planting was a favorite among some of the members that rode last year.

The contact lists are scarce. Michael Hartman and Carolyn will research it. Carolyn will also ask Matthew Linn about the contact list. Steph will make a project timeline. Posters, t-shirts, are needed, and marketing to bike stores should be heavy. Ian has been contacted, but the Peddler needs to be contacted, as well as Scooters. Garret will serve as Robert’s soundboard for input.Safety wagon logistics is needed, last year there were 2 incidents, need to purchase first-aid?


The top left gray background looks great! All the icons will be different links on the website.Icons: people, bus, tree, city, bike, bell pepper, anchor with people on both ends. Italicize ‘better’ through in a recycle sign. Narrow down to 5 symbols. The framed look is nice to apply to every other icon. Move Shreveport to second line and then have icons spaced evenly. Could be a winding road to keep symbols. Love the colors. The group got a little unwieldy and some who were trying to voice their opinions were not heard. Perhaps they could reply to this blog for the unheard critiques.


Stephanie spoke to the City Council about the history of the three intersections, E. Washington/Youree; Youree/Kings; E. Kings/Shreveport-Barksdale Highway. The project has been in design since 1989. It was noted that traffic patterns have drastically changed in those locations since 1989, and the enlarging of the intersection could be a waste of taxpayer dollars. A few ABS'ers have been filming at the intersection of Youree/Kings at 5pm on various weekdays, and there is hardly a traffic que even at peak traffic flow! If alternative modes of transportation were integrated into the design, then there would possibly not have to be any widening, only geometrically correcting, and painting crosswalks and installing pedestrian count-down signals. One of our ABS members put Stephanie in contact with the engineer that the City has been contracting with since 1989, and when asked if Complete Streets policies would be used, he had not heard of the Complete Streets Policy.


Our new design intern presented a rendering of the Sheriff's Marina bridge over Bayou Pierre where Woodward Street deadends. The group was thoroughly impressed, and decided to pursue the engineering report from some of our engineer members. Susan Keith has put us in contact with the school board engineer that has done a similar bridge at Caddo Magnet High, and we will follow up with him as well.


Carolyn and others like the old Centenary meeting space and the downtown library. Parking is free for those auto-dependents in both places. Jennette thinks eateries are discourages and exclusive, but it’s a good time to start our road show, and meet every first week at the host location. Feico got us signed up starting Monday, June 20 at the downtown library. ABS will be road showing it beginning in July hopefully with Caddo Heights/Ingleside neighborhood...there is a lot of culturally significant activity happening there and Stoner Hill, as well as North Highlands...all representing our City's core.


Susan spoke with Diane about Coates Bluff funding, and Diane asked if Billy Montgomery was contacted because he got them a $70K grant for trails. Maurice knows Billy and will reach out to him.


Loren Demerath said...

Love the logo in general for both the look and functional design the icons being links! The one suggestion I'd make would be to make it read instead of A Better Shreveport. Putting in the .org automatically stamps our locale and some legitimacy in people's minds, I think, and taking out the spaces makes it our organizational title, and not a semantic phrase. (Come to think of it, though, we should make our home page such that people find it whether or not they search on it with or without spaces.)

Loren Demerath said...

As for specific preferences, I sort of like the bouyant optimistic active mood expressed by the italics. My top choice might be the last one in the italic column, but using the grey background. Way to go Jack Waterman! You're awesome!

Loren Demerath said...

In regard to Steph Pedro's report that an engineer charged with designing the intersection of Youree and Kings Highway, shouldn't that engineer have heard of the law, or at least of the concept? Or is that not the domain of engineers but of planners? I wonder if the problem is that planners have been excluded from the process altogether to save money. But I also wonder if funding for the professional development of planners and engineers--going to conferences, workshops, etc.--has been cut. That would mean city planners and engineers are less likely to hear about best practices and the latest legislation.
I'm sure there's a side that says the problem is just lazy government workers, i.e., a lack of accountability in government, but I assume we've got to pay for that too. Have we cut positions that would be reviewing the development of such engineers and sanctioning them if they're not up to standards?
Either way, doesn't this indicate a problem?

Vicini said...

Our public engineers depend on the private firms to know the most innovative best practices, which is why they outsource in the first place. Plus, it infuses money into our local economy from the government to the private sector. If the firms that they choose do not have the capacity, then we all lose!