Saturday, September 28, 2013

ABS Gets Focused, Bikeable Shreveport Meeting Set for 10/7

In attendance: Amanda Currier, Kathrine Brandl, Loren Demerath, Lani Duke, Maurice Loridans, Cathy Smith*, Susan Keith, Cynthia Keith, Feico Kempff

At meeting of Monday, September 23, 2013, the group welcomed Amanda Currier, a senior communication student from Centenary College, who is also currently employed by Townsquare Media as the staff photographer. She will be volunteering for this semester as part of her Trek learning and has pledged to serve by archiving podcasts, doing website cleanup, summarization of weekly meetings, and any research or task the board members may require.  (And Amanda is the author of this week's meeting summary that you're reading right now!)
Other group members made their introductions, and the meeting commenced.


In cycling news this week, Cathy Smith reported an incident that happened to her  while riding in the 700 Block of Linden Street. A woman driving a black Volvo harassed her, and she believes it may have been the same woman that Carolyn described that was harassing her the week before.

There was mention of proposed educational materials that could aid in bringing bicycle safety awareness to our community including a blog entitled, “Share the Lane,” and the possibility of grants to help aid in educating the community on Bike Safety.
Many don't know that sharing a lane applies to all SMV’s, (slow moving vehicles).  It is the responsibility of the motorist who is passing to make sure it’s a safe thing to do at that moment, with a minimum of three feet of space between vehicle and those on the bike paths.  Many also don't know that it is the law for everyone under 15 to have a helmet on in the state of Louisiana.
In Bentonville, Arkansas, every 250 feet there’s some kind of bicycle indication. In Shreveport, there is not.
In the Bert Kouns (outer loop) area, there is a wide enough space to add bike paths. However, the medians are not a safe, acceptable place for cyclists to travel due to traffic crossing over the center lane. Cyclists will be less likely to yield to motorists in this situation, and therefore this proposes a dangerous scenario, but the route is in definite need for paths because it is one of the major routes of the city.
Most people are not comfortable riding anywhere but inside the bicycle lanes because the motorists are usually not considerate and do not share the road. Loren had an experience with his family over the past weekend, and his wife said she’ll bike anytime it’s on a bike path, but that it’s too stressful for her often being on the main roads where safety is more of an issue.

Loren Demerath and Michael Laffey have met with Nick Carroll, KSCL’s station manager, and Patty Roberts, grant writer for Centenary recently. Patty will be heading the work on getting the campus radio station the funding for upgrades this fall.
Hamilton Terrace is being proposed to be sold to Shreveport Rescue Mission.
Chris Chandler spoke about a change he's suggested to the approach of A Better Shreveport’s meeting structure. The idea is to invite people directly involved by mandating them into the meeting to discuss the topic of the night. E.g. Bicycle Paths/Bike Enthusiasts
The idea is to construct five goals that come from the meeting, prioritize them by importance, and then the group would be committed to implementing the goals and seeing them through in order to make this a bike friendly community.
This type of organizational structure to the weekly meetings will allow for insight, outside of the box, from other community members and leaders that will help advocate and structure the movement. It also gives ABS a deadline with a set schedule to aid in the success of meeting the goals.
There is hope for the use of current social media to organize, invite, and publicize the cause. Lani Duke announced that she is currently working on publication access to a community rag that will start monthly, and the hope is that it will help spread the word.
In order to bring about this change, ABS will still need time to plan and organize the topics and meetings in advance. The first meeting of the month can be set aside to organize these themed meetings. With this idea of Themed meetings people can be invited that are interested in the topic of discussion for that night’s meeting, along with city officials who are in charge of the proposed area that ABS tends to discuss. There can even be other community organization leaders and related business owners who can help make things happen.
For instance, the first themed meeting will be on Bicycle Paths & Safety. At the next actual meeting, ABS plans to put a panel together summarizing what they would like to see happen. An ABS member, business owner and government official will correlate 5 things for Bike Advocacy with regard to educational materials and funding, signs, code changes, bike racks at local businesses, establishing bike presence, and so forth.
The audience could vote on the priorities to work on, post-meeting.  E.g., if you’d pick two places for bike paths, where would you want them? You’ve got to pick the right three people to represent the whole, and not anyone who may have a private agenda, or preconceived negative feelings in the matter. Trust that the best ideas will rise to the top.

Key things to consider in all of this: The issue of timing is important; The city won’t start from scratch; The Unified Development Code is an immediate opportunity; and there is no money sitting around waiting to be spent.

Activities such as painting the sharrows, would require say some 20-25 people, a pickup and a trailer, and plenty of paint with a clear Saturday. Within 6-7 hours of time, it could be finished, and as long as we’re paying for it, we can paint!
Cathy Smith mentioned the the signs for cyclists are relatively inexpensive. ($8-11 for each metal traffic sign). The need to place them along with painting the sharrows is because the paint will wear away over time. Some signs say ‘Share the Road’  and some just have the image of a bicycle on them. The point of the lane is to indicate to the cyclist which direction they are supposed to ride with the traffic. (Ian Webb)
Also GPS and Google Maps do a good job routing your bike journey to offer the best route, but there could also be a city map devised to include the areas with bike paths.
Finally, in addition to discussing the implementation of themed meetings, the proposal was made to devise a Top 5 List of the most critical needs for Shreveport specific for this group for the next year. By doing this, it would really allow for concentration on the topics of need, and would narrow the focus of the group’s time and efforts making each moment count.
Someone suggested taking “One Neighborhood At a Time­” as one of the goals starting somewhere like Highland. (Reinventing Highland)
In the meantime, next week is a focus week to organize future themed meetings, and  the first themed meeting will be Monday, October 7, 2013, when we’ll focus on how to make Shreveport more bikeable! 

1 comment:

Michael Carmody said...

Hey, Are you all having the Velo Dendro ride this fall?