Friday, November 15, 2013

Joy of Biking Expressed in TV Story on ABS Proposal for Network of Paths

I know I wasn't wearing a helmet in this KTAL story on our effort, but look how slow I was going!  Anyway, you gotta love the simple fun of bicycling expressed by the little boy.  

Was also interviewed today on KTBS and will try to post that soon.  I'm sure the press is interested because they know their viewers are too.  People want it, and it's do-able!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Presentation at City Council for Trails Network Effective and Well-Attended

Thanks to those who attended the City Council meeting yesterday! The council saw you, and that had to help nudge them forward!  So thank you, Kelly Pledger Weeks, Cynthia Keith, Katherine Brandl, Maurice Loridans, James, Patrick Furlong, Matthew Linn, Kathy Fontaine, Lani Duke, Sam Whittington, Brittany Smith, Ema Viskozki, Cathy Smith, Rob Ajluni, Kelly McDade, and others I've probably overlooked.  We know many couldn't come but support the notion of a network of paths for transportation.

Those of you there heard Jeff Everson's advice to us on how to move network of paths close to reality, and we had a great conversation with Dara Sanders about it afterward as well.  Next Monday night's meeting we'll be debriefing on all of that and planning our next moves. 

The gist of it all seems to be: we can make a city trails plan largely by ourselves, and use that both to apply for grants, and also to get others on board for what a paths network could do.  Join us Monday night to strategize!  6-7 at the Wright Math Building at Centenary.

Monday, November 11, 2013

ABS and Friends Go Before the City Council at 3 p.m. Tomorrow (11/12/13)

As the time draws near for presentation of the multi-use path proposal to the city council on Tuesday, the team members are focused and ready. The meeting Monday night began promptly at 6 p.m. and focused mostly on the upcoming council meeting scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
In attendance was Maurice, Loren, Cathy, Katherine, Brian, Lani and intern, Amanda. Victoria Provenza, and Dr. Kelly Weeks were in attendance as well.

Victoria was a guest on the radio show tonight with Loren. She was proud to make the announcement of the upcoming Living Passionately in Shreveport radio show that will be thirty minutes of 'passions' and special guests, and will feature things such as Mardi Gras season and some of the other main highlight events and artists in the area.
Brian touched on Educational Reform and suggested we hold off on another education meeting so soon. Things are really going well since the meeting we had last month. It was the first time that the RSD and the state's history has partnered with the school district. They are going to come in and advise the district and give them the chance to make the modifications necessary. The collective feeling was to have the state partner with us instead of taking over, and this is in fact what happened at the education meeting we had. Those parties present felt grateful for being able to express their concerns on a neutral ground and have their voices heard.

The new superintendent Theodis Goree will take office on December 1. Mary Nash-Robinson will go back to her position as head of human resources. She was the one that initiated all this correspondence and partnership with the RSD, so she is to be commended.
We will be postponing the Education Meeting for a later date and will be following up next week with a recap from the city council meeting on Tuesday.
In the way of Maps, we need to finish up on the spokes. Maurice will lay out the empty spaces and map out the proposed routes. Stephen will take the paper map and use arc maps to draft a digital copy. The Tips for Safety including the legal specifications “Cyclists’ rules and recommendations for safe riding”  and the local hazards (places to use caution) will be put together by Maurice.

Also inside the pamphlet there should be some key destinations including sights, resources, bike shops, parks, event sites, festival plaza, basic schedule of bikeable events, tours, etc.

We also still need supporters to attend the city council meeting on November 12 @ 3 p.m. and will need to come wearing white shirts to show their support.
We have 5 presenters at the meeting to cover various aspects of the proposal of multi-use paths for cyclists, pedestrians, and mobility aids as alternative modes of transportation. The presentation should take about 18-20 minutes to present to the council on Tuesday. There will be a powerpoint presentation prepared (in hopes we can use it) with images to include the map, like the one we have posted on the blog, and images to correspond with each presenter's topic including images of how these trails work in other areas including Bentonville, Arkansas, and Alexandria, Louisiana. Other areas to consider touching upon include: The Environmental aspect, health, transportation, obesity, life longevity, and above all, safety.

The November 4th meeting hosted a map emphasis night that included lining out proposed paths and recommended bike routes to present to the city council at the meeting on Tuesday, November 12, 2013. Our Guest attendees for that meeting included Stephen Pederson, Victoria Provenza, James Bobbitt, and Maggie Malone. Our regular members in attendance were Loren, Maurice, Lani, Chris, Cynthia, Cathy, and Feico. Intern Amanda was also present to take notes from the various highlights of the meeting.

Our goal is to create a pamphlet of recommended bike routes. People can make their local versions. Victoria can get the permits for those.  Those routes most travelled by those in attendance were drawn onto the map to be laid out in the proposal for the recommended bike routes. These maps and pamphlets can be passed out to cyclist enthusiasts at local grocery stores as well as the tourist bureaus.

Guest Stephen Pederson recommended the use of the Arc Map program to help draw in these multi-use pathways, and agreed to take the map and put some drafts together for the group. The program will allow the lines to create the paths and make networks. We can even put it up on Arc GIS online. Map My Ride by ESRI, the eminent mapping software, have online a place where experts like Stephen can create geo-database that includes all your data and upload it to a usable format on the web that any user can access. It has way more user functionality than Google maps.

Stephen has biked in San Francisco and in LA, where they have two separate systems of bikeable pathways. Motorists were aware of cyclists in LA, and were incredibly bike-friendly. His suggestion is that we need more education here on pedestrian and cyclist safety for everyone. Also, if cyclists adhere to the rules, then the drivers can adhere to the laws for safe cycling. Having basic rules for safe biking may be good to put in this map.

Stephen also biked while living in Ruston, Louisiana, where he attended college at Louisiana Tech University. He participated in the annual bike night there at LA Tech, and he rides recreationally (mountain & road biking) and commutes daily via bicycle as an alternate means of transportation. He says he has often seen people riding the wrong way. From his personal experience in the last six months since moving here to Shreveport, he has not had an incident or any negative feedback to report, but he was hit twice and harassed while cycling in Ruston for several years during his college experience.
Amanda suggested that we talk to the local libraries about a series of educational programs to be hosted in their meeting rooms across Shreveport. These lectures could be entitled “How to get from A to B safely on a bicycle in Shreveport” to help educate our public about bicycle and pedestrian safety rules.
Victoria showed us the Official Louisiana State Bicycle Sustainability Map for tourism and cross country as a visual to aid us in implementing the bike routes into the map systems for Shreveport. We can ask the DOTD (dept. of transportation) to create “call outs” or zoomed in maps of the bikable routes in the Shreveport area.
Remember, those of you who can, we encourage you to come out to the city council meeting at 3 p.m. tomorrow (November 12). We will all be wearing white shirts to show support, and hopefully we can move into the next phase soon. See you there.

Next Education Forum---Update

      One of the things that we discussed at the ABS meeting on Monday night was the best time to hold our next Education Forum.  Recently, there have been some very encouraging developments in the Caddo Parish School District.  First of all, the CPSD recently hired a new Superintendent, (Dr. Theodis Goree), who starts next month  He is a capable, young and energetic person, whom we have high hopes for, and whom we believe the CPSD was fortunate to hire in the middle of the school year. 

    Second, the CPSD is on the verge of forging a "shared partnership" agreement with the Louisiana Recovery School District (RSD), thereby managing to avoid an outright state takeover of several of its most academically troubled schools.  CPSD Interim Superintendent, Dr. Mary Nash Robinson and RSD Deputy Superintendent for Transformation, Mr. J. DeLano Ford, should both be commended for negotiating this partnership agreement, something that is really unprecedented in our state!   We are pleased with this tentative agreement, because we believe that it will help our students a lot.   We would also like to believe that last month's special ABS Forum on Education played a small part in helping to facilitate this partnership.

     Considering all of this, we decided to wait 2-3 months before holding the next ABS Education Forum.  This will allow the RSD and CPSD to continue to work together, in peace, and also provide our new Superintendent some time to assume his new responsibilities here.

   Then, in February, we can invite Superintendent Goree to be our special guest for what will surely be another interesting and constructive Forum.