After a summer hiatus, ABetterShreveport is back in session. We had an interesting first meeting of the year, but we've barely begun to plan, so come on down to the next one if you want to help set our agenda.
In attendance: Maurice Loridans, Chris Chandler, Jon Soul, Katherine Brandle, Loren Demerath, Cynthia Keith, Lani Duke, Nic Runyon
DOG PARK UPDATE
Cynthia Keith updated us on the dog park: The District Court told the Mayor he has to sign to accept the money by a certain date. They got an appeal and got a writ of review where three judges review the ruling. The first judge has now said he’d let the second circuit decide the stay and won’t do anything until then.
Cynthia recounted how the Mayor has recently increased the requirements to having the dog park to $1 million there at Hammel's because he is now requiring a playground, bathrooms, and a maintenance shed. At one town hall meeting, reported by TV news, Cynthia was very animated against the Mayor as were other people Cynthia had never met before, though the Mayor said they were planted by our organization.
COMBATING OBESITY THROUGH DRAINAGE DITCH BIKE PATHSLoren talked about ABetterShreveport's recently joining the Healthy Green Into the Outside
|one vision of a bike path converted from a drainage ditch (cycleicio.us)|
WALKS AGAINST OBESITY DISCUSSED AT HGIO MEETING
Later in the week, Loren attended his first meeting of HGIO. There was a lot of He was asked to chair the advocacy group, and looks forward to it. It was a useful meeting, hearing about what the coalition of agencies has done already. The value of increasing Shreveport's perceived walkability and bikeability was agreed on at the meeting. Ideas were discussed for how to do that, and one was having organized walks to destinations, in part to raise awareness of the most walkable routes. Painting markers, noting historic points, and other features were mentioned as ways of giving the walking routes even more value.
On the heels of hearing a proposal for part of the Barwell Center being used for community gardening, or the site of a "farmery" (see a post below), the group noted that the center is a historic building. Chris Chandler said his parents used to take him there as a kid, to see the plants, the water features, etc. At very least, we need to preserve it, he said, others noting that it's a great location.
The group agreed that we should take this opportunity in the Barnwell's renovations to help brainstorm about how it could be used. We'll be inviting Grace Peterson and others to do that with us this next month.
NEW BIKE RACKS NOTED DOWNTOWN, THOUGH NOT OF MUCH USE
Maurice Loridan updated us on bike facilities downtown. There are three new sets of bike racks that someone at Sportran has installed, apparently without educating themselves in how bike racks work. One set is at Elvis Presley and Milam that look like microphones; they’re not especially functional as you have to thread your lock through a space that’s easy to overlook; it’s also right next to an iron fence where people often lock their bikes more easily. The other racks are on Travis Street where you can only lock your front wheel. Bike thieves can easily disconnect a quick-release front wheel, take off with your bike and leaving you the wheel. These racks are all positioned by public surface parking lots--not a popular destination for cyclists. ABS and this blog has long advocated bike racks being placed at places where alternative transportation users tend to go, like Robinson, Artspace, Co-habitat, etc.
DARA SANDERS TO GIVE UNIFIED DEVELOPMENT CODE TALK SATURDAY
Jon Soul said on Saturday at the Independence Stadium Skybox, Dara Sanders will be presenting the latest on the Unified Development Code.
The group discussed how important it is that the Code is created and passed as soon as possible, since until that point there are harmful structures being built (streets and bridges with no shoulders and sidewalks for example) and natural amenities being harmed (trees removed along a waterway on Fern, south of 70th). Jon noted that it’s anything but smart growth to remove the organic growth buffer along a waterway.
Until the code is passed, what to do? Chris said that if there was a community of people that went down and contested things like that at MPC, they’d have to respond to it. It was agreed that ABetterShreveport will have to be on alert for that kind of thing from here on.
PLANNING THE YEAR'S MEETINGS AND OBJECTIVES STILL TO COME
As the meeting broke up at 7:00, Loren noted next week we'll continue talking about themed meetings and aspirations for the year.