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#OneRouge Friday Community Check-In (Week 47, 48)

Updated: May 3, 2021

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in EBR, The Walls Project has been hosting weekly video calls with leaders of nonprofits, foundations, city government, and local businesses from a

cross the parish. The intention of these weekly community check-ins is to share information and resources to help the Baton Rouge community respond and recover from the pandemic. Weekly topics range from access to basic needs such as food, medical care, and safety to thought-leaders' insights on equitable opportunities for youth enrichment, nonprofit financial solvency, surge in unemployment, and the disproportionate impact on impoverished neighborhoods in regards to accessing fresh food.


'Children Living in Poverty'

Meeting Notes Prepared by Helena Williams (Walls Project)

Eric Horent, Ph.D (Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services)

Changes in the Federal stimulus program and lifting children out of poverty

Affects agencies in 3 ways:

  • Food insecurity

  • Child support payments decrease due to employment/unemployment

  • Child welfare - less contact for children in schools and health care providers, so reporting is decreased

SNAP Funding for lunch

  • $5/day per lunch $285 per child affecting 280,000 families in LA

  • Supplemental SNAP - 30 months get the maximum allotment for household size

    • $.5 billion in benefits

    • 70,000 children in BR area - 10% increase

    • 5x more applications for SNAP

    • 1 million SNAP benefits, 2 million of benefits issued, mainly with children

Foster Care Visits

  • Ipad, virtual visits w/ foster families

  • Web-based training for parents

  • CARES act to PPE/childcare when schools closed/emergency need

Child Support

  • Child support decreased 50% dues, down to 50% or less now

  • Est. child support during pandemic

Neva Butkus + Jan Moller (Louisiana Budget Project)

Child Tax Credit

  • Child poverty 2nd highest 28% in nation every year

  • (43%) 1 in 3 black children are growing up below poverty line

  • 2019 report Roadmap to Reducing child poverty

    • Experts from different disciplines to cut child poverty in half

    • Child poverty is extremely expensive and charges interest $800B - $1 T/ year

      • Lost earnings, increased incarceration, high healthcare costs

      • Less expensive to mitigate upfront ($100B/y nationally)

      • Most effective ways is through Govt transfer programs/tax credit programs

      • Earned income credit and child tax credit expansions

    • Invited to New Orleans to present

    • In LA can we do something at the state level to put money in the hands of low-income families

  • Neva: State earned income tax credit (only few states have this expanded)

    • Why state level one if fed is expanding?

      • It is temporary - credit left out a lot of low and moderate-income households

      • Making under $30K/y

      • $1400-1600 refundability, paying taxes you get isn’t coming to full amount

      • State child tax credit a crucial program to break up the poverty and address specific needs

        • 2 income brackets/2 age brackets

          • Bracket Income: $0-50K, $50-100K

          • Under $50, 5 or under $500 per child extra credit

          • More in attachments

          • Bracket Age: 0-5, 6-18

        • Costs to do under $165(m) for state less to spend to subsidize the film tax credit (an example of a program we do)

        • 94% benefits to households making under $55K/y

      • 888,000 children would benefit from this

      • 250,000 children in black led households

Q: Casey Phillips : Around the state child tax credit, what are the pushback points that are logistical?

A: Money, Louisiana’s budget is ok and don’t know what that’ll be in a year or two

Funded by getting rid of the state tax deduction, itemized federal taxes to deduct

1 of 5 other states do this, most cap it to only itemize $10G, LA is untapped

Too flexible due to being tied to the federal taxes, and can be unpredictable for how much money the state gets in

Fiscal session coming up with all kinds of tax policies with centralized tax collections, income tax, franchise tax, tax reform proposal, when talking about who should pay taxes, how much who should pay, but we think the state needs more revenue, we want child tax credit to be a part of the conversation. A lot of times the convos go around how can we make life easier for the top and businesses. We need to focus on not leaving out families with kids with the most expenses.

Q: Dean Andrews: What if you are unemployed and have no earnings?

A: (ERIC HORENT) American Rescue Act, very little in terms of assistance from a social services perspective. Only funding Child Abuse is $1.5 m.

SNAP increases 15% of the maximum for everyone. Benefits $600 on average.

Started last year to Workforce Initiative, not expecting new help, working with LCTCS to provide workforce development opportunities to get them to a livable wage.

(JAN MOLLER) We understand that this is a downpayment towards reducing child poverty. In chat is the breakdown of the American Rescue Plan

Started working on the child tax credit way before COVID

Expanding Child Tax Credit, starting in July will get $250-300/m/child based on age of child

Only temp till end of year

Landmark change in public policy, hoping the State child tax credit piggybacking does a good job of lifting children out of poverty line

Edy Addison (CAUW):

  • CAUW VITA (Voluntary Income Tax Asst.) - added virtual VITA and

  • No reason for client to pay for their taxes to be filed

  • 1 on 1 financial coaching to help you meet your savings goals

Judith Rhodes (LSU SREC)

  • Katina Semien working with - $ pushed to nonprofits to prevent child abuse and neglect, working to prevent. 46 np doing this work. Using evidence-based practices

  • Emphasis on protective factors, parental support, afterschool programs, wide variety

  • Using evidence-based programs to start, not making up something new

  • Building on body of evidence to prevent

AIMEE MOLES (LSU SREC) - offering assistance to agencies doing these works to build evaluations and skills to provide offerings to prevent abuse

Q: Casey Phillips : 1 in 19 children are homeless (pre-pandemic). What is being done to address homelessness in children and their families

A: (HORENT) Gordon Levine at LA House Inc. for Homeless Populations. Working with a coalition in NOLA to gain access to the population to get access to Medicaid, SNAP, etc. To extend over 3 metro cities in LA

Judith Rhodes ( or

  • Working w/ LA Dept of Education, LA Attendance Alliance Initiative starting in May

    • 17,000 children in pre-k not attending (gone missing) to find where they are to get them re engaged in school

    • List of students per school from LDE

    • Statewide alliance to promote good attendance

Community Updates:

  • I am happy to share the formation of a new organization dedicated to centering the needs of students in how we approach issues of education in our city. The Baton Rouge Alliance for Students will become the new home for CHANGEMAKERS and several areas of work I had the opportunity to lead during my time at New Schools for Baton Rouge.

  • I believe that each of us has a purpose, and that the goal of education is to equip us with the tools to unlock the unique gifts we have to share with the world. I am a believer in the innate greatness of all children, and I am committed to our collective responsibility to ensure that every child has the chance to reach their God-given potential.

  • The Alliance team is a diverse group of professionals with a shared commitment to Baton Rouge’s students and the future of our city. I will be joined on the founding Baton Rouge Alliance for Students team by Chief Strategy Officer Liz Smith, Family Engagement Manager Aretha Veal and Strategic Communications Associate Anthony Kenney.

  • Our goal is to bring a uniquely Baton Rouge approach to our role in moving the city’s schools forward.

Emily Chatelain

  • USDA Child reauthorization act with waivers extended to Nov 30 to make it permanent

  • Meals getting distributed maty be a new trend

  • New distribution sites to allow for families to pick up and take home vs eating on site

  • Show USDA that this is important to have SUmmer meal distribution places

Dr. Horent

  • Authorized to have school year food benefits for children for 2 years. LDE a list of children available and send the benefit directly to them. Feds have said schools have to be online for the benefit to be issued, so unclear if we go completely in-person

Jan Moller

  • This session coming up is the best hope we have to make real changes to our tax structure - go to the website to stay up to date and learn more LA Budget Project


  • Grassroots component needed to get this movement to be heard to convey to legislator why this credit needs to exist

  • Email if you are interested in representing in the coalition

Pam Wall

  • No poor children, only children who live with poor adults

  • Easier to push funding for children because they are innocent, and they are poor because of intergenerational poverty and live with poor families

  • Concentrated poverty, incentivized to build poor housing for poor families and working poor families close to where they are now living. We have not decentralized the concentrated areas of poverty. If we don’t change that we’re on a hamster wheel

David Summers

  • Affordable housing developer - larger conversation about the way that tax credits program and other avenues to finance and capitalize these projects not well suited to decentralized the placement of housing

  • Focus on allowing execution to do projects where they aren’t concentrated

  • Rural parishes are set to incentivize to happen, but BR it’s a lot harder

Pat LeDuff (CADAV)

  • Answer isn’t moving to another neighborhood but investing in the areas

  • Reduce rich affecting exemptions - need to pull from areas of resources

  • Food share - try to adopt as a renaming to replace “Food Giveaways”

  • Hearing data like this, we all agree there is something wrong with this amount of poverty in our state. We are shocked and angered with the Save Our Children report. There is another section that doesn’t feel this way, so how do we find the middle ground. Other areas think poverty is a choice.

  • Why can’t we invest in the neighborhoods here already rather than shuffling around

Gwen Hamilton (New Schools)

  • Models around the country with cities our size and demos with precedent to decentralize poverty (ex: Cincinnati, OH)

  • Marketing is important, making sure people are aware of this and proof that work is being done. But until it’s needed, it’s not top of mind. As well as marketing to let people know that help is out there.

Dr. Sarah Barlow (BRCC)

  • PR Campaigns - we know all the ways in which we aren’t doing a good job. We understand areas where residents aren’t aware of the opportunities. The people you reach are most likely not seeing it on social media.

  • Being more intertwined with the community. Being more collaborative to share information of other resources

  • K-12 Education and Workforce Staff Lead

  • Looking to partner

Patrick Tuck (4-H)

  • Working to create a liaison at schools to feed into coalition work and getting resources out to those in need

Zoom Chat

08:31:42 From Kim Mosby to Everyone : Good morning all!

08:34:09 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Good Morning Kim, thanks for joining us from the 504 today!

08:34:32 From Kim Mosby to Everyone : Good morning Casey. Happy to be here!

08:38:26 From Connor Deloach to Everyone : I apologize, I missed the first couple minutes. Is this data available somewhere? Really interesting, really useful data Eric.

08:41:50 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone : Good morning everyone

08:42:11 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Morning Rev. Anderson

08:42:30 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Thank you for the question Connor, will get all this data from Dr. Horent.

08:44:49 From jennifer carwile to Everyone : Jan- where can we find these studies with this data about child poverty? It would be great to be able to be able to cite this data

08:44:53 From ERIC HORENT to Everyone : The links below has data for SNAP and TANF cash assistance since2000 (they are dat from 1988 but they are not as complete)

08:44:54 From ERIC HORENT to Everyone :

08:46:45 From Connor Deloach to Everyone : Thank you, Eric and Jan!

08:47:59 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : I know many of you work with children and families, please place into the chat if you would like to speak for 2 minutes or have questions for the panel.

08:48:04 From ERIC HORENT to Everyone : following link has dat afor PEBT

08:48:14 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Amen!

08:48:53 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Yes we can ! Some City jobs paying 22k

08:50:09 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone : Income by household and benefit is monthly?

08:50:37 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone : social security for kids - lets do it!!!

08:52:16 From Jan Moller to Everyone : Chris - it would be an annual benefit that would be part of your tax refund

08:52:17 From Rodneyna Hart to Everyone : Seems so reasonable!

08:52:59 From Edy Addison-CAUW to Everyone : Thank you for giving ALICE a shoutout. Access reports including interactive parish maps here:

08:53:06 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone : Jan - ok. What percentage of households would participate? I understand that 94% of participants would make 55k or less

08:53:43 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : This is good information

08:53:45 From Jan Moller to Everyone : Any household with kids, that files an income tax return with taxable income below $100k would get the credit

08:53:53 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone : Awesome information, thanks!

08:55:08 From Donald Andrews to Everyone : What if you are not employed and have no earning?

08:55:41 From Edy Addison-CAUW to Everyone : I think it goes without saying, ensuring families are filing their taxes is essential so they can maximize gains from the credits available. CAUW has virtual and in person free tax prep appointments available through the VITA program. Schedule online: or by calling 211.

08:56:37 From Jennifer Carwile to Everyone : what are the bill numbers for this tax credit proposal?

08:56:51 From Manny Patole to Everyone : The math/economics is not the biggest issue. It is always the politics and interests behind them.

08:56:51 From Reginald Brown to Everyone : Worth repeating...I think it goes without saying, ensuring families are filing their taxes is essential so they can maximize gains from the credits available. CAUW has virtual and in person free tax prep appointments available through the VITA program. Schedule online: or by calling 211.

08:57:25 From Manny Patole to Everyone : And it is interesting who we are/not willing to give tax credits for and for what purpose.

08:57:38 From Jan Moller to Everyone : Thank you Edy - VITA sites are so important

08:57:45 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : We could for sure gain funds to support this effort from collecting tax from folk at the very top

08:58:57 From Jan Moller to Everyone : A breakdown of all the money coming to Louisiana through American Rescue Plan Act:

08:59:03 From Neva Butkus, LBP to Everyone : Christopher - I don't have data for % of households but 61% of all Louisiana children would be receiving the credit.

08:59:46 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : How are we reaching the homeless to take advantage of these benefits ?

09:01:24 From Neva Butkus, LBP to Everyone : HI Jennifer, we don't have a bill number yet, but we do have a bill filer.

09:03:03 From Manny Patole to Everyone : +100 Jan… It is the portfolio of interventions across the board by the three sectors (public/private/non-profit) to help alleviate poverty.

09:03:28 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : That is sooo awesome!! Let’s push for it!!

09:04:23 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone : Neva - thank you! That’s a huge number. It seems like the more universal that new welfare programs can be, the better chance to gain broad support. If it’s a good plan, most of the benefits go to those who need it most

09:06:16 From Neva Butkus, LBP to Everyone : We are in the process of building a coalition for the CTC this session, so if any organizations are interested in working with LBP on getting this over the finish line - please email me at

09:06:44 From ERIC HORENT to Everyone : There is a pilot project in NOLA to provide access to SNAP/TANF/Medicaid benefits to homeless population. We are working with LHC to expand this initiative to 3 metropolitan areas

09:06:55 From Edy Addison-CAUW to Everyone : or 211 to schedule

09:08:47 From Manny Patole to Everyone : ICYMI (Citi Foundation is awarding grants to nonprofits providing technical assistance to small businesses owned by people of color. For more info, visit

09:12:15 From Rinaldi to Everyone : what about financial literacy with children and their parents. Getting money is one the knowledge of how to use it to end poverty is important also

09:14:20 From Patrick Tuck to Everyone : 17,000

09:14:40 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone : AWESOME!

09:16:12 From Judith Rhodes to Everyone : Link to the 2018 Louisiana Children's Trust Fund Annual Report

09:16:32 From Pam Wall to Everyone : The State Superintendent as well as our new EBR superintendent are pushing early literacy, something relatively off the radar since Picard was the state superintendent. We need to join that push and ensure a strong program is put into place.

09:17:12 From Tonnisha Ellis - BRAC to Everyone : Tonnisha Ellis,

09:18:38 From Manny Patole to Everyone : *snaps* for Adonica and your new endeavor!

09:18:46 From Karla King - concerned citizen to Everyone : Adonica, this is wonderful news. Thank you!

09:19:16 From Troy James to Everyone : Congrats Adonica!!!

09:19:24 From Adonica Duggan to Everyone : Baton Rouge Alliance for Students is so excited to be a part of groups like this working to make our community better.

09:20:02 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone : Congrats Adonica, this is great!

09:21:12 From Kevin Guitterrez to Everyone : Appreciate your advocacy, leadership and support in this space, Emily!

09:21:32 From Chelsea Morgan to Everyone : Food share tomorrow at Scotlandville High.

09:21:55 From Pam Wall to Everyone : Poverty is concentrated by housing patterns and research shows that it is hard to break out of the poverty cycle when these patterns persist. The private sector is incentivized to invest in affordable housing but we need to build those units outside of the prevalent patterns of housing we have thus far maintained in this parish.

09:22:14 From Emily Chatelain to Everyone : Great news re P-EBT, we got so much feedback from families that this was a great help - allowing them to purchase foods they need, and another plus, support our local groceries

09:22:16 From Jennifer Carwile to Everyone : great insight, Pam

09:22:58 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Pam, would like you speak

09:24:49 From Jan Moller to Everyone : +++Pam

09:24:56 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Amen!!!

09:25:08 From David Summers to Everyone : I'm stealing that one!

09:25:45 From Manny Patole to Everyone : @Pam, Zoning/Land-Use Patterns/Highway Planning are all inherently exclusionary and have caused much of the cycles of poverty we have now… and how it relates to the topic oc Mobility from last week. (See

09:26:12 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Parents that are ‘gainfully employed ‘ with benefits and a 22k annual income- sad

09:26:34 From Kim Mosby to Everyone : Not to mention - many times what is considered "affordable" isn't actually affordable for families in poverty.

09:27:53 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Let’s have a ‘Real Talk ‘ conversation at a later date

09:27:59 From Rinaldi to Everyone : email Rinaldi @ and I can send an article on the devaluation of Black businesses in Black and Brown communities

09:29:04 From Connor Deloach to Everyone : Quick announcement - Top Box Foods is hoping to work with more local growers to get more local food into the community through our free home grocery delivery service. If you are a grower or know a grower, please don’t hesitate to reach out for more information on how you can participate in the Making’ Groceries Program

09:29:09 From Connor Deloach to Everyone :

09:29:34 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Rents on the RISE- $900- 1200 monthly with no assistance

09:30:47 From Neva Butkus, LBP to Everyone : While addressing concentrating poverty, we should also remember that many of the people in those neighborhoods aren't living in silos. There is a ton of social capital that exists in those neighborhoods. People babysit each others kids, cook for one another, drive each other to doctors appointments. If we're breaking up this concentrated poverty we need to ensure those needs are still met. People in these neighborhoods take care of each other.

09:31:33 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : INVEST in those neighborhoods - you should not have to MOVE to live in a non poor neighborhood

09:32:02 From Manny Patole to Everyone : +10000 Pat!!

09:32:50 From David Summers to Everyone : Great point Neva! We have to be sensitive to the community, network, and ecosystem necessary to help build resilient and strong familes/communities

09:33:44 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Another link to show the visualization of Gentrification, Displacement, and Exclusion through the Urban Displacement Project -

09:33:51 From Connor Deloach to Everyone : ^ Details on the food giveaway Chelsea (American Heart Association) will be hosting tomorrow

09:34:02 From Neva Butkus, LBP to Everyone : Invest + address the legacy of redlining and housing discrimination in BR

09:35:20 From Elizabeth Perry to Everyone : Yes, Casey!!!

09:35:39 From Neva Butkus, LBP to Everyone : Yes!! A great term to de-stigmatize the program

09:35:56 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone : Is there a flyer that I can share on our social media pages?

09:36:11 From Reneec’s iPhone to Everyone : ‘Food share’ is more respectful.

09:36:35 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Aishala, check out the flyer that Connor shared to distribute to your network

09:36:44 From Connor Deloach to Everyone : Pat thank you! AHA is facilitating the food share tomorrow through Top Box Foods Community Food Share Program

09:37:08 From Neva Butkus, LBP to Everyone : I have to prep for another meeting, thanks everyone and thanks Casey!

09:37:46 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Amen!!poverty is not a CHOICE

09:38:00 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone : Yes!

09:38:08 From Andrew Ganucheau to Everyone :

09:38:11 From Jan Moller to Everyone : Thank you everyone. Have to sign off.

09:38:14 From ERIC HORENT to Everyone :

09:38:23 From Kelli Rogers to Everyone : Have to head to another meeting. Thanks so much everyone!!

09:39:08 From Rodneyna Hart to Everyone : Is there a comprehensive list of minority owned businesses?

09:39:11 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone : will definitely follow up on these issues - really awesome to see what we can do if we fight together

09:40:01 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : That’s Right!!

09:40:40 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Reggie you’re next sir

09:41:11 From Judith Rhodes to Everyone : Thank you all. Anyone interested in working with us for the LDOE LA Attendance Alliance - please email or

09:41:30 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Amen

09:41:56 From Reginald Brown to Everyone : but there are many other lists also

09:43:22 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Yes, I agree

09:43:32 From Rodneyna Hart to Everyone : @Reginald, thank you. Who would I talk to about creating a Black/Minority Chamber of Commerce in Baton Rouge?

09:43:45 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Yes it is!

09:43:48 From Manny Patole to Everyone : It would be interesting to understand who “follows/subscribes” to those services on social media

09:43:55 From Karla King - concerned citizen to Everyone : Great point Reginald, thank you.

09:44:01 From Patrick Tuck to Everyone : Lamar has a long history of public service. We operate in hundreds of communities across the United States and Canada. Our goal is to leave every place that we’re privileged to operate in better than the way we found it. We donate millions of dollars' worth of advertising space each year to help law enforcement and nonprofit organizations communicate important information to the public. We also use our Digital Display network to broadcast Amber, FBI, FEMA, Crime Stoppers and other emergency alerts to the public instantly in crisis situations.

09:44:04 From Patrick Tuck to Everyone :

09:44:17 From Rodneyna Hart to Everyone : There is no great way to focus media to minority groups. But I would love to learn more about that campaigne

09:44:36 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : As hard as we work, we are still called ‘the best kept secret’

09:44:41 From Elizabeth Perry to Everyone : Healthcare is a great driver for this!

09:44:52 From Rodneyna Hart to Everyone : We could do wheatpaste

09:44:59 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Good idea!!

09:45:35 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Yes!!

09:45:38 From Lindi Spalatin to Everyone : We are always able to hand out information to our families at the Center. It's a great way to connect directly. If you have something to share please feel free to email me and I'll put you in contact with the right person here at the Center to facilitate that:

09:46:03 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Amen! Not the people but the system!

09:46:04 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone : YES!!

09:48:40 From Lindi Spalatin to Everyone : I have to run to another meeting. Thank you for this conversation

09:49:34 From Reginald Brown to Everyone : I have to jump off, thanks everyone!!!

09:49:41 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone : Great meeting guys! I have another meeting!

09:49:45 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Guerrilla Marketing of Public Services :-)

09:50:52 From Patrick Tuck to Everyone : One last thought

09:50:53 From ERIC HORENT to Everyone : BTW college students are now eleigible for SNAP!

09:52:51 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Resident Leader Program?

09:53:13 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Thank you Chealsea for our new ‘Food Share ‘ share. We love it!!!

09:54:46 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Happy Friday!! Awesome call!

09:55:05 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Thank you Casey!!

09:55:21 From Patrick Tuck to Everyone : Thanks to all! Continue to be educated by these mornings!

09:55:44 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : How do we put pressure on them!

Give us some talking Points


'Access to Transportation & Social Mobility, Part I'' Meeting Notes Prepared by Zoe Haddad (Walls Project)

Theo Richard (Business Development, CATS)

At CATS we realize that transportation is a barrier for access. In research I found an article on the US Dept. of Transportation website about equity and barriers to transportation:

'Negative health effects related to the transportation system can fall hardest on vulnerable members of the community, such as low-income residents, minorities, children, persons with disabilities, and older adults. Households in low-income areas typically own fewer vehicles, have longer commutes, and have higher transportation costs.

Inadequate or substandard infrastructure in low-income and minority communities can prevent people from using active transportation. It can also make walking and bicycling unsafe for those who do rely on these modes to get around, leading to higher incidences of collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists.

Low-income and minority communities are more likely to be located near highways and other transportation facilities that produce local reduced air quality, and to suffer from negative health effects such as asthma. These communities are also less likely to have convenient access to parks, healthcare, and healthy food.'

The article ended with five steps trying to address those issues and the role transportation plays with removing that barrier, and I want to tie those back with the work we’re doing with CATS:

  1. Improving pedestrian infrastructure or increasing public transportation service in low-income and minority communities to improve connectivity.

    1. Some of you may be familiar with the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit). Back in March 2019 we were awarded a $15 million grant from the FTA partnership with CATS, the city of Baton Rouge and Build Baton Rouge to construct and open a nine mile corridor that will link North Baton Rouge starting at the Emergency Facility on Airline to LSU. This will be a 9 mile stretch, $40 million project that will include 22 stops with headways typically between 10 and 15 minutes. Enhances connectivity on the stations as well as pedestrian safety and ADA compliance.

  2. Using roadside barriers, vegetation, or bottleneck removal to reduce the impacts of pollution on communities located near high-volume roads.

    1. Every inch of roadscape we touch needs to be safe for our communities. Using roadside barriers slows traffic down, add curb cuts

  3. Offering reduced public transportation fares for students or youth and working with employers to extend public transportation benefits to employees.

    1. In 2019 we reduced the bus fare from $1.75 to $0.35 for kids ages 5-18 (free for 0-5). Barrier for getting school-aged kids to school. The goal is to have free bus fare for all kids 0-18. Working with local businesses, health care facilities, our frontline employees.

  4. Targeting demand response service toward communities with high concentrations of older adults and poor access to shops and services.

    1. Targeting older adults with a micro transit program. I’m sure you’re familiar with Uber and Lyft, however the realization is that equity isn’t spread through the community - it’s harder to access in North Baton Rouge and underserved communities. It takes on the elements of the agency to provide this on demand response at a much lower cost than Uber or Lyft. Looking to do two pilot programs, Southern Airport Earl K Long corridor and the city of Baker

    2. Basically you can go within that bubble for a low fare and if you need to get outside that bubble we’ll take you to the closest bus stop (First Mile/Last Mile)

  5. Addressing housing affordability in a regional strategy for promoting a variety of housing options at different price points for people of all stages and walks of life. Improving pedestrian infrastructure and increasing public transportation service in low income and minority communities to improve connectivity.

    1. Considering that transit is just connecting you from one place to the other, we all have a role to play and our role is to ensure that, working with Jay Daniel and the Housing Authority, that facilities being built not only with the capacity for our vehicles to pull in but also to have the capacity necessary to ensure they can connect to where they need to go

Our motto at CATS is “Connecting you to what matters” - if we can't do that safely and on time, we’re not doing our job. Please continue to follow and support CATS - we’ve come a long way and we have a lot to go.

Whitney Hoffman Sayal (Assistant Director of Urban Trails, BREC)

  • Been with BREC for the last 6 months

  • One of my projects with the DDD was the Downtown Greenway. Wanted to take a second to acknowledge the loss of Davis, a long time advocate of bicycle pedestrian facilities.

  • Giving some background on BREC and how we got to where we are today, every 10 years we do a Imagine Your Parks plan to get some feedback from the community about their priorities

  • One of the projects we’ve completed over the last 10/15 years is the Health Loop along Ward Creek and Dawson Creek, connects all health facilities in that area

  • Ward Creek spans a couple miles starting at the Mall of Louisiana trail head, goes all the way to Siegen Lane Marketplace, working to continue that west. Right now ends around Bluebonnet, will extend to Essen to eventually make a loop

  • In the 70s and 80s we completed the Scotlandville Parkway which spans from Monte Sano to Harding to Scenic Highway

  • Worked with DOTD and community stakeholders to create a bicycle and pedestrian master plan in 2020, approved by the BREC commission as well as the Metro Council

  • Identifies priorities for off and on road trails

  • Recognizes equity and how it weights priorities for implementation

  • Other projects we have underway: Development of Dawson and Ward Creek loop, project in the works connecting downtown to Scotlandville Parkway, dedicated bicycle and pedestrian trails, master planning on Scotlandville Parkway, extending the trail that along Greenwood Park

  • You can help by supporting the implementation of the master plan which identifies many hundred miles of off and on road facilities. We need help supporting that plan, getting funding resources dedicated to it. Attend public meetings and provide input to make sure what we’re doing is what the community wants.

  • Go out and utilize our current systems! Tell us what you think, enjoy them, the more we are able to show the success of our systems the more power we have to advocate for more of them

Thomas Donley (Community Transportation Advocate)

  • During the six years my family and I lived in Belgium, I only drove four times. Rewired my brain on what is possible and how freeing it is to not have a car to rely upon to get you to work, the ability to connect closer to the community, to your children, to your partner, to lived experience coincides with the voices of people that work with datasets that try to implement a more connected city of Baton Rouge on a day to day basis

  • I can almost prove and show you how necessary it is to live a less car-influenced life

  • Car culture in and of itself perpetuates inequality throughout the community

  • The framework of Place Flagey: every Saturday and Sunday had two markets, Saturday food based with fresh food from local farmers just outside of town, Sundays everything was closed so you relied on the Place Flagey to see friends

  • During the work week it completely transformed - a tram system allowed access to the metro, buses, trains, etc

  • Everything you needed in the Place - a whole community that could survive simply because of its connection to different pockets of the city

  • Coming back to the US was a dramatic culture shock, once again having to rely on cars and living with the anxiety that that produces

  • Made it my mission to go to a country where I can now vote, I wouldn’t be silent on something so destructive to communities, to our neighbors and neighborhoods

  • Push for more connection, more community

Sooraz Patro (Director of Transportation, Capital Region Planning Commission)

  • Transportation is based on three principals: accessibility, mobility, and connectivity

  • At CRPC simultaneously have 6 projects on the go

  • Long Range Transportation Plan is a 25 year plan reaching across EBR, Livingston, Ascension and Iberville, covers about 90% of the metropolitan planning area

  • We want to have resilient transportation

  • We have everything in the making to be a really great state - it’s just that things are slow, it takes time to get our infrastructure on track

  • The other theme of our long range plan is making sure it’s comprehensive : How buses connect to cars, households, parks

  • With our Regional Plan - one thing to keep in mind our population is aging, in the next 25 years at least 10-15% of population will be 65+, that means less reliance on cars, wanting to walk and planning for that

  • Working with Whitney and everybody else, we want it to be a complimentary plan. Complimenting plans in Denham Springs and Baker, make sure DOTD and EBR are in sync with us

  • Can be used for people trying to access jobs, attract more tourists to our state, etc

  • The third plan is the very feasible, about 15 years ago there was a ferry which for some reason stopped so we are now trying to find out other possible landing spots, looking at locations across the Mississippi

  • One of the good things the pandemic has done is people are working from home, corporations know it’s more cost effective to have people working from home with a lot less stress on transportation

  • The help I need from y’all is finding datasets for park locations in a single file specifically datasets beyond EBR - Ascension, Iberville, etc

  • We are trying to do a lot with areas which are food deserts, access to grocery stores, employment, means of transportation...we need to identify hot spots and work with other transportation agencies, transit side or nonprofit, to make sure we have a design guideline to help mitigate poverty.


Casey Phillips: Whenever people hear this and say “It’s not possible to go car free”, I did one year without a car and only used public transit a handful of times. The rest of the time I used a bike and my feet. It was completely possible. I’m going to move to the questions but I just wanted to acknowledge a couple of folks: Andrea and Reed from BREC along with Whitney, with your work on not just creating green space but interconnecting ped and biking together. Also wanted to give it up to Dustin from Front Yard Bikes, too. He’s been fighting for this culture as has Samantha Morgan who conducts bike tours through Mid City to acknowledge historic Mid City architecture. Everybody in the Gardere Initiative that have been pushing for sidewalks in their community and many thanks to Kendra for asking Sooraz to be a part of this conversation, I appreciate all of you.

Karen E: Could you post the trail map? Is there a website for utilizing the trails out there already?

Whitney: One of the things we just recently passed is rebranding these trails. They used to be called Capital Area Pathway projects or CAP trails, recently rebranded them to be BREC Greenways. Working with our website designer as we speak because we didn't have good information about where to go and even if we had the trails where you park, how you access it… that should be updated on our website in about a month. There is the master plan - as far as existing trails for BREC and beyond, the city parish does have a map that includes the existing trails, bike lanes, proposed trails, so on.

Pat LeDuff: We’re concerned about the city and state relationship. Our trails in Scotlandville are wonderful but under the underpass we’ve tried to get murals done, make it look inviting. We’re stuck between the state and city in terms of who owns it so it stays really trashy. I wanted to know if you were aware of that and if you’ve started to address it. I’d like to hear a little more about the Zoo and how we connect it to the pathway of Scotlandville that will then be connected to Downtown. And then overlaying and upgrading Scenic Highway.

Whitney: The parkway, because it is along the I-110 interstate system, often involves DOTD, which requires permits, approvals, etc. We can encompass all these ideas with the master plan. Super excited to engage and help you and get the community input we need. We can get all those ideas down in one place so when we got to DOTD we can say here’s what we want to do so the process for approval can be more efficient. As far as the Zoo, it’s not my project in all honesty, Reed may be able to answer that better. But I definitely think it’s important to make the Scotlandville Parkway connect. The master plan does suggest how to do that. Through the master planning process of the Parkway, those are conversations that we can have to make sure what is suggested is appropriate.

Manny: Can you explain/speak to the criticisms around transit oriented development and changes to zoning laws to make it more pedestrian friendly?

Theo: Typically in communities where you see transit come through similar to the building of the interstate in the 60s and 70s you see a hit to the community, what’s considered to be gentrification. What I can tell you is we see that as an opportunity to revitalize the Plank Road corridor, as a catalyst to get business. Record shows when you make this large an investment in communities, especially underserved communities, the outcome of it is beneficial for those that live, work, and play there. Working hand in hand with the mayor to make sure the work we’re doing serves the community.

As far as zoning, we want to make sure we have bike and ped plans down. When dealing with what we’re doing with BRT, we want to make sure we have an enhanced bus shelter, that the connectivity, sidewalks, crosswalks are done along with this project

Sooraz: When I was in Alexandria, I didn't see a zoning culture. It’s a little better in BR. Not just transportation policies - I think we need to start to work with local jurisdictions and how they perceive the community. Making sure what infrastructure we have is up to speed rather than investing in new infrastructure. Most of those communities within EBR and the downtown area have been around for around 60 years. Made upgrades here and there but overall...One of the things that helps build community is the infrastructure of drains. If you have sewage that is good and intact you can probably get residential, industrial, commercial, economic development which will further attract transportation. Relay information to communities, it’s a joint effort.

Tom: About zoning laws, I’m not very technical but on a very basic level they’re there to regulate use of land and how people live within a certain space. Dictates the type of properties that can be created by manufacturers sometimes looking for a quick buck. For the most part manufacturers aren’t creating new structures purely to make sure our lives are lived to the fullest...that’s my personal belief at this stage. When it comes to getting zoning laws changed, you are going up against industry, local employers who say you can’t touch zoning laws or we’ll leave and jobs will go with it, which is not true. It’s a short term talking point that has no bearing in my mind.

Dean Andrews: What cities are we looking to as models that have great transportation that impact low income communities?

Theo: Typically we rely on peer cities. Looking at larger sites, they have wonderful ideas and access to dollars but we have to look at medium size cities. We need to make sure we’re using our dollars to the best of our ability.

Casey: We constantly talk about mental health and I want to bring that to this. We ignore the fact of how many people are traumatized by car wrecks. It’s something omnipresent. Do you have any points you’d like to speak on?

Tom: Cars are stressful. They rob kids of potential through pollution. As a parent you’re always worried about your kids getting hit by a car, can’t let your kids play in the street...unable to live without a sense of urgency and anxiety. The cars, which were provided by employers for free to get tax write offs, in Brussels were basically on a car conveyor belt going only 10/15 MPH. The anxiety that is relieved when you know that you are within a community where you have your own empowerment to do whatever you want because you’re so connected to everything, you realize you're more free when you don’t have to rely on a car. You don't have those monthly payments, you don’t have to buy gas, you don't pay $350 monthly insurance costs.

Dustin: The focal point and reality of FYB is that infrastructure doesn’t change humans' inclination or culture, how we travel and what we do. No matter how nice our infrastructure is, it doesn’t mean people are all of a sudden going to care about who’s on a bike or walking or on a bus, to get rid of the stigma that that’s someone with less income and somehow less value. I say that because I visited my sister who lives in Calcutta, India. There is no infrastructure in Calcutta. There’s millions of people moving. There’s so much diversity and it’s a culture of movement. There is no point in my opinion in us looking at other cities and countries...We have to solve our own challenges and it begins with creating a positive culture around people who ride CATS, ride bicycles, walk places, and have figured out the solution. We combat that stigma closely. My question to the panelists is what are we doing about the culture of how we move and value each other and not see the person outside the car as a problem?

Sooraz: We need people to understand that bicyclists have the same right as a car on the roadway. We need to make sure culture is slowly inculcated, something like a block program, cordon off a corridor with temporary bike lanes to slowly catch on. With the pandemic a lot of people want to walk and bike so maybe we can take advantage of that.

Whitney: I think we have the ability to change our culture. It may not be as quickly as we want it to be. Implementing demonstrations like Sooraz mentioned, the more people see it and experience it, the less they’ll be fearful of it and want it. I would like it to go faster than it is right now but I do think we are moving in that direction.

Tom: Perception is a strong barrier to crack. I was scared when I had to take the bus for the first time in high school. You have to experience it. Make it easy for them. LSU football games, trips to the airports, take trips to New Orleans for Saints games...stuff like that can help people’s perceptions.

Reverend Anderson: I wanted to ask a couple questions. Theo mentioned peer cities. MY concern, and I want to partner with my neighbor Dustin on the culture of how we move, aspirational is always better. It’s not about an improvement. Many of the places I’ve lived have had destination incentives. I grew up in St. Louis. Oftentimes you took the bus because the city didn’t incentivize parking. Lots of communities do that with festivals, sites where it’s easier and more advantageous to do that. We have at least two places where that could be done - SU and LSU. Easy way to use buses proactively and not in a class way. Right now we promote certain things but only if you can pay the higher fee as opposed to getting the multitude of people. The other thing I wanted to put out is that oftentimes transit centers are amazing small economic development centers - unique food courts, etc. When you go to CATS, it's a monument to what could be but isn’t. The idea that we’re not asset mapping the actual locations and offering small and regional businesses, artists, could we not be using this to be an economic engine? And the last point I wanted to make to BREC and CATS, how do we become an inclusive community? We have a huge amount of people who are formerly incarcerated. Are you doing anything to work towards bringing in and allowing formerly incarcerated persons to be employed there and considering non-driving job barriers, like requiring a driver's license for jobs that do require driving?

Theo: Contactless pay and load balancing incentivizes trips, touchdown express, the goal is to get that where we can do that for LSU, SU, and festivals, encouraging people to utilize transit and properly allocate our resources to make sure we meet demand for those events while keeping vehicles on the street for daily customers. Secondly, you're right on spot with the terminals. We’re not just going to build it for a bus stop and station, incorporate housing, office, retail opportunities. At the North Baton Rouge terminus we are looking at creating an outdoor space for farmer’s markets, live entertainment, music so that it becomes a congregating focal point. About the perception of CATS being slow and inefficient, back in 2012 we were slow. However we’ve been able to reduce our wait times upward of 60/75 minutes to 25 minutes. We’ve made a concerted effort over the past nine years to drop those wait times. On our peak routes (Highland, Florida, Plank) wait times are no more than 15 minutes, although we are at the mercy of BR traffic

Gwen: As it relates to culture change, Dustin I think has the first opportunity and is working towards changing the minds and hearts of young people. Having said that, it’s very important, with zoning laws...the zoning requirements require parking spaces for development. There are surface parking lots and garages which serve as a disincentive to not utilize cars. Just something to think about as we ignore the disconnect between the zoning laws and what we’ve heard here this morning. As it relates to CATS, it is truly unfortunate that our community has set a culture for public transportation built on the backs of poor people. In peer cities the zoning laws and disincentives for cars so that everybody has a reason to ride public transport, it creates incentive. If you have dedicated bike lanes that take you to a specific destination, guess what you’re going to do. All of those things have to be addressed collectively.

Janel: My question is around who these walkways, bikeways, public transport affect the most, those without access to cars. I hear a lot of conversation around it but I don’t hear the questioning to those who access it the most. In my area, our elders use walkways quite frequently. Because they are not present on major streets people are getting hit. Are we actually asking the people what it is we need to do?

Casey: Right on cue, Kendra dropped the community survey to take here and distribute. We haven’t even had the conversation that there’s no public transportation in Ascension Dallas you have a land mass double the size of Atlanta that’s fully integrated with three different forms of public transportation and we can’t even get busses to Prairieville. That’s an issue.

Helena: When we’re thinking of how to retrofit a city built around suburban sprawl to be fit for pedestrian life, are there cities we could model after? I was seeing Nashville, Denver in the chat. I think when we do a coalition for this, policy is one of those things... Why is there not a bus lane? Why aren’t there zoning laws that pedestrian paths have to be so wide? The major areas with shopping are made to be car-centric. You’re kind of on a death march as a pedestrian. How do you as a citizen request, vote for stops so if you were to use the bus system it’s in a route that makes sense to you? What about covered bus stops?

Theo: Once the stop is requested we evaluate the stop to make sure it’s safe and look at potential ridership proximity to other stops. We have too many stops, some which are not being utilized. Metro Council does the bus benches. They have a certain corridor you can put a bench on. Report that to the Metro Council so it can get rectified.

Dustin: The kids are the solution we’re seeing. The challenge is adult mentality. When I talk about culture and change, policy isn’t going to change so Tom and I can ride bikes and have fun somewhere else. But the young people are who we need to champion and campaign for what can happen. Our young people deserve a city where they can get around.

Patrick: Schools are where I was introduced to cycling. It was part of the culture because the adults in my life made it part of my culture. Get the local culture downtown on their bikes and do it safely, make sure kids are doing it safely and that they know they have the same rights and responsibilities as cars.

Janel: I put it in the chat as well as contact info, but one of my last passion projects as I was transitioning from the Jewel J Newman Community Center was the Heart Trail that is coming to the BREC facilitated area behind the Community Center. We’ve had discussions with BREC, DOTD, funded by BR General Foundation, highlighting already present walkways. There were lots of walkways that just aren’t maintained. If you all are interested in bridging that gap between the young community and the elderly community, reach out. How walkways look affect how people think about the person on it. Maintained walkways lead to buy-in.

Reed Richard: Over BREC’s Capital Improvements and System Wide Planning. Greenways falls under our planning and engineering department. In terms of Greenways and trails, the original intent was to look at off road bike trails and recreational greenways. Our mission is to connect parks and essential services. It’s more and more becoming a network of on-street safe facilities. Another one of our goals is more integrated planning. We can’t do this alone: planning in the public realm can’t happen in siloes. Planning strategic alliances. The Move BR project is a great opportunity to interface and fill in those gaps of the network. Our prioritization of the greenway tails...we are building the Health Loop but also the North South connector from Scotlandville to Downtown...Other priorities are focused on moving towards a ten minute walk to parks. That is one of the reasons why we don’t score very high as a park system. It’s not really BREC’s fault, it's just the existing fabric and design of the city. Looking to try to fill in those gaps, especially in those areas with zero car households. We have a lot of people in this parish especially in the core of the city where it’s very unsafe to go to essential services, to work. We want to connect people to the parks, to essential services, and employment hubs...more equitability geographical and socially. Just wanted to let everyone know that’s one of our core tenants right now as far as planning.

Zoom Chat

08:26:07 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : * Theo Richard (Business Development, CATS)

* Whitney Hoffman Sayal (Assistant Director of Urban Trails, BREC)

* Thomas Donley (Community Transportation Advocate).

* Sooraz Patro (Director of Transportation, Capital Region Planning Commission,

08:38:03 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Via?

08:45:39 From Dustin@FYB to Everyone : Thank you Whitney for recognizing the great loss of Davis! His vision of connecting the south to downtown created amazing greenways that our youth enjoy daily. He will be sorely missed.

08:46:41 From Manny Patole to Everyone : WAAH WAAAH

08:51:17 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Please begin putting your questions in the chat for all these great speakers

08:56:41 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Any Speakers - Can you explain to the criticisms around TOD (Transit-Oriented Development)

08:56:49 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Are we making plans to upgrade/overlay Scenic Hwy from beginning to Thomas Road

08:58:25 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Absolutely

08:58:52 From Dustin@FYB to Everyone : I have a few Casey: 1) We talk about car culture but is there a sense by the panelist of what is the public sense of walking, bike, and public transit culture? 2)What are panelist doing to create positive culture around diverse transportation? 3)Has the pandemic created a new interest in walking and biking trails? 4) Do you have any campaigns ready for bike month in April?

08:59:02 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Car free is possible

08:59:05 From Manny Patole to Everyone : How are your groups working on making changes in Zoning so that it is more inclusionary and not pro-car culture?

08:59:42 From Chelsea Morgan to Everyone : ICYMI –

08:59:51 From Chelsea Morgan to Everyone : Actual Study: Dangerous By Design 2021

09:01:04 From Sarah Walsh, IBM/Tara High Magnet to Everyone : That is amazing!

09:01:04 From Chelsea Morgan to Everyone : Baton Rouge is 16th in the national for the most dangerous metro areas for pedestrians.

09:01:05 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : I will answers questions next: Karen E., Pat, Manny, Rev. Anderson and Chelsea’s point.

09:01:11 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Wow, that sounds so wonderful!!!

09:01:51 From Manny Patole to Everyone : RE: Belgium, lets not forget King Leopold and how that allowed for what you just mentioned @ Tom Donely

09:02:11 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : You have made me so happy

09:02:40 From Patrick Tuck to Everyone : Toronto -- me! Could get 2 hours out of town too! :-)

09:03:11 From Lou Guthrie to Everyone : Went car free in DC for 6 months. Very possible with walking and metro.

09:03:12 From Walls Project to Everyone : I lived on BART in High School in San Francisco even though I had a car

09:04:04 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Most of the cities you are talking about are Pre-war cities where urban planning was not centered around cars and around urban sprawl/home ownership.

09:04:42 From Manny Patole to Everyone : FYI for rails to trails -

09:05:02 From Gardere Initiative to Everyone : Tom, I did the Dodentocht (Death March) 100 kilometer hike in Bornem, Belgium in 1986. We drove 100 miles from Nuremberg to walk/run a 100 km. Thanks for sparking a 30 year old memory of a great experience.

09:05:16 From Tom Donley to Everyone : BREC has been vital for my family during the pandemic. Almost everyday from March 15 to June 30, 2020 we would take turns taking the kids to a different park for home schooling.

09:05:46 From Capital Region Planning Commission to Everyone : Sooraz Patro,

09:06:00 From Theo Richards to Everyone : Theo Richards,

09:07:37 From Donald Andrews to Everyone : Question for Theo what cities are we looking to as models of having great transportation systems that impact low income communities?

09:09:44 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Sounds good, Casey. Theo, great to meet you.

09:10:02 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : Would be worth looking at Denver

09:10:48 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Remember the difference between Transportation, Transit and Mobility

09:11:19 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone : As a follow up to Dean Andrews question, and incorporating what Manny said earlier, are there examples of post-war cities that have been retro-fitted for mass transit? I would love take a trolley here in BR like in NO

09:11:23 From Dustin@FYB to Everyone : We talk a lot about how dangerous it is to ride in Baton Rouge, and typically blame infrastructure, but there are thousands of citizens riding to work, school, and groceries daily. These individuals are making it work in spite of lacking infrastructure. So why is it not a focus of how to plan around these individuals successes?

09:11:55 From Walls Project to Everyone : Is there a prototype city that has gone from suburban sprawl to pedestrian-focused retroactively?

09:12:16 From Manny Patole to Everyone : @Helena,

09:13:22 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Not that I can recall to be honest. The change in mentality of what “space” is is hard to shift. USA is more car-centric that is hard to shake

09:14:02 From Manny Patole to Everyone : It is a good research project and needs to understand the scale/scope of change you are mentioning (retrofitting urban corridors)

09:16:43 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : I know we might not have the same money as Denver but I really think that is a great model even if you take out the light rail.

09:16:53 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : The bus system reaches way out to many different communities

09:17:14 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : And the truth is, this system need a rail system

09:17:34 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Absolutely the Truth!!!!

09:17:37 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : It would greatly help the mental health of everyone here. Having access to live your life.... that’s everything

09:17:51 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Yes, but the Denver case is also one of the bigger cases of displacement. Love to talk about this more @Alexis :-)

09:18:03 From Walls Project to Everyone : A light rail would be amazing

09:19:06 From Patrick Tuck to Everyone : Ottawa, Canada also has a great trail system that has been around for decades. It connects the downtown core, national museums, and the surrounding community, also a terrific research farm!

09:19:06 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : YES!!!!!

09:19:16 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : Sounds great @manny

09:19:44 From Manny Patole to Everyone : At Pat, you are also talking about an older city that has a different culture around TRANSIT. There is no stigma there to take public transit

09:19:55 From Manny Patole to Everyone : EXACTLY DUSTIN!

09:20:13 From Jen Tewell (she/her) to Everyone : Thanks y'all - hopping over to the next mtg. Have a great weekend!

09:20:22 From Manny Patole to Everyone : I also love that no one talks about NYC transit during the convo

09:20:23 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : You are so RIGHT!

09:20:35 From Patrick Tuck to Everyone : Absolutely, @manny.

09:20:50 From SHERRETA HARRISON to Everyone : Yes, Dustin!!!!!

09:20:59 From Manny Patole to Everyone : TBH also look at how status and success is defined by the car you drive in EBR

09:21:02 From Gardere Initiative to Everyone : A consideration is also basic driver courtesy, reducing distracted driving: eating, smoking, computering; rules of the road: turning into the inside lane instead of the outside lane, using turn signals consistently. Better driver training and ordinance on distracted driving which leads to damage/accidents.

09:21:09 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : I only speak on Denver because I lived there and sold my car and lived outside of downtown and used public transit

09:21:23 From Manny Patole to Everyone : And how that status translates in different job sectors and correlates to success.

09:21:39 From Sarah Walsh, IBM/Tara High Magnet to Everyone : Excellent points!

09:22:34 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone : Excellent points, Dustin!

09:22:43 From Jennifer Carwile to Everyone : I am from Chicago and totally appreciate public transportation. I am having a hard time seeing how we get public transport to work well for our sprawl.

09:23:04 From Manny Patole to Everyone : They have the same rights but also the same responsibilities.

09:23:17 From Kim Mosby to Everyone : Things to think about... How do you change the mindset of people who have always been denied the American Dream? For teens, getting a license and a having a car to take someone on a date is a right of passage. Even if many low-income teens of color don't see that as a reality, it is still a goal/social right of passage. How do we create the shift so low-income people don't think they are still being denied the American Dream? How do you stop the gentrification and the feeling that the changes are being made for white/rich people?

09:23:30 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone : they do that in DC where I grew up in Rock Creek park

09:23:47 From Gardere Initiative to Everyone : We can change culture, that is the point of these meetings and all of our coalitions and networks

09:24:46 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : Yes!

09:24:47 From Futures Fund to Everyone : Are we asking the people who would get the most usage of the walkways, and bike trails, what changes we need to make? Not those of us with the privilege to consider a walk, or bike ride as therapeutic.

09:26:10 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Next questions, Rev Anderson - Helena - Gwen - Pat

09:26:11 From Patrick Tuck to Everyone : Bike safety programs for kids -- so they learn the cyclist's responsibility of the riding along side cars equation. The trails ultimately connect to roadways. Safe cycling would be a generational shift from what I've seen here.

09:28:06 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : Yes!

09:28:08 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone : As someone who has never taken public transportation in BR and really have no plans to, my perception is that the bus system is slow and inefficient. Is this even true? I really like Tom’s point about publicizing usage for weekend festivals, sports, concerts. etc…

09:28:14 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone : EXACTLY!

09:28:29 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : Yes

09:28:54 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : !!!!!!

09:29:18 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : So much potential

09:29:57 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone : Best part about living in Europe - food, art sellers, public parks and spaces where you can eat, read, meet friends, let kids play

09:30:31 From SHERRETA HARRISON to Everyone : Gotta jump, but as always great perspectives on super important issues. Thank you!

09:30:39 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Preach!!

09:30:42 From Manny Patole to Everyone : All, Lets be real for a second. EU has its success based on an exploitative economic model that took from the global south.

09:31:03 From Patrick Tuck to Everyone : Connecting schools to trails for PE cycling, jogging, etc.?

09:31:03 From Donald Andrews to Everyone : Thank you Anderson Think about the Moscow subways that have shopping centers.

09:31:46 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Great to talk about them for some examples in a portfolio, but they have homogeneous societies that marginalize other communities far worse than the US does.

09:32:06 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : Manny I think we can find something wrong with every part of public transit examples all around the world. But we have to start somewhere! It will never be perfect but we can strive for it.

09:32:20 From Walls Project to Everyone : Would there be a way for populations to ask/vote for stop locations of the current CATS routes?

09:32:48 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Of course @Alexis, don’t let the perfect stand in the way of the possible

09:32:54 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : Exactly.

09:32:55 From Karla King - concerned citizen to Everyone : Now with Amazon distribution center coming into the Cortana space, how can these points talked about today be addressed for this area?

09:33:16 From Dustin@FYB to Everyone : Theo knows how to get it done!

09:33:20 From Kim Mosby to Everyone : Thanks Manny! To create change we have to recognize the privilege & exploitation that created what exists - esp to ensure we don't replicate structural injustice/oppression.

09:33:44 From Manny Patole to Everyone : NYC has SOOO much work to do. I don’t have a driver’s license. Bus, subway, taxi, rideshare etc has been my life since middle school

09:34:13 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : That’s great. Are you guys considering the old Earl K Long site for the new CATS shopping site?

09:34:25 From Patrick Tuck to Everyone : Replace field trip models of piling kids into buses with ones where everyone gets on a bike? Are any EBR schools doing state history lessons like this?

09:34:27 From Rinaldi to Everyone : I might I missed it Casey what about Amazon at Cortana

09:35:37 From Dustin@FYB to Everyone : Patrick Tuck is speaking my language.

09:35:43 From Pam Wall to Everyone : There is a very large intersection of CATS routes at Cortana now.

09:35:48 From Manny Patole to Everyone : This is a great example of the intersection of the drivers of poverty

09:36:02 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone : Cool idea Patrick

09:36:07 From Reed Richard to Everyone : BREC is hiring formerly incarcerated people. we can provide more information from our HR Department.

09:36:24 From Luke St. John McKnight to Everyone : RT: Pam & Patrick

09:36:33 From Theo Richards to Everyone : Ms. LeDuff, we've purchased land adjacent to the new hospital. We are working with the Housing Authority with their development at the Old EKL.

09:36:51 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone : I wonder what effect home delivery for groceries and Amazon/Costco/WallMart/Target will have on this issue

09:37:08 From Manny Patole to Everyone :

09:37:24 From Kendra Hendricks to Everyone :

09:38:29 From Capital Region Planning Commission to Everyone : Hello All! As part of our Future Transportation Plan Update, please plan to take our short survey (5 mins). We would appreciate if you could spread the word to all.

09:38:30 From Capital Region Planning Commission to Everyone :!/?p=web&pm=dynamic&s=1&popup=WTD

09:38:36 From Theo Richards to Everyone : If you would like to request a stop, visit

09:38:39 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : That's right!

09:38:39 From Reed Richard to Everyone : our system-wide planning is focused on equitability when prioritizing projects. and the trails and bike/ped initiative is not only for health, wellness and recreation but to connect zero-car households in underserved areas to employment hubs and essential services

09:39:36 From Kim Mosby to Everyone : Until next week... Happy Friday!

09:39:49 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : Yes

09:40:01 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Seniors and those who have physical challenges need to have a quality method of access.

09:40:03 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Thank you - that’s good news about the land next to NBR ER for new CAT Hub

09:40:33 From Manny Patole to Everyone : I appreciate all of you and my rants :-)

09:42:15 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : We aren't talking about the elephant in the room. Baton Rouge is a racially segregated parish by policy and it continues to implement that in policy.

09:43:10 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : My son did a campaign ad from the worst bus stop in Baton Rouge.

09:43:13 From Pam Wall to Everyone : WE need aggressive attention to the low hanging fruit like cross walks, newer designs of street and caution lights to replace those currently used, and other impactful additions to the design of our streets that make them safer for pedestrians and bikers.

09:43:32 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Also sitting on milk crates, which is horrible

09:44:06 From Gardere Initiative to Everyone : CATS, Thanks for covering several of the bus stops in Gardere, there are a few more to do.

09:44:21 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : The lighting is also an issue

We have new shelters / no lighting

09:44:42 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Tax incentives should be tied to access to non-car options.

09:44:52 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : How do we put that bench issue back to CATS

09:45:42 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : That’s why downtown Denver is so cool because it is a hub for people to gather from all over. Shopping. Food. Entertainment. Work opportunities. Education. It’s sad that our downtown is so dead. There are just no connections in this city. Its so hard to get anywhere. Without the opportunity to connect physically how can we grow together as a people

09:46:59 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : Yes

09:47:32 From Theo Richards to Everyone : Ms. LeDuff, we are working with our Facilities manager on a shelter management plan and correcting that issue of light failure.

09:47:43 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : African American children and men are criminalized while riding a bike in certain areas. Biking resources are highly racialized.

09:48:14 From Manny Patole to Everyone : +100 Pat Tuck!

09:48:29 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : But also the people driving the cars need to learn the rules too. You can be the best bike rider but the drivers need to know

09:48:59 From Patrick Tuck to Everyone : Absolutely @Alexis!

09:49:19 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : We need to incorporate transportation rules as part of high education.

09:49:50 From Manny Patole to Everyone : There is also something to be said about public amenities for residents and I rarely see people who live and recreate in downtown BR.

09:50:09 From Pam Wall to Everyone : BREC is a huge resource in EBR, more than most of us really know.

09:50:11 From Zoe Robison to Everyone : We had cycling as a PE option at brh and it was one of the most valuable resources of my high school career. I never would have learned the rules of signaling without that. I hope they still have that program.

09:50:29 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : The school system is also an Avenue to encourage bike riding.

We walked and rode our bikes to schools

09:50:54 From Patrick Tuck to Everyone : Signage on the trails and streets as well. What do these hand signals mean? Make them visible to cars and cyclists.

09:50:55 From Manny Patole to Everyone : BREC and Reed are amazing! Problem is people want those services but no one wants to allocate funds for them because they are “Public”.

09:51:18 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : It should be part of the standard high school and maybe even middle school education.

09:51:38 From Zoe Robison to Everyone : Absolutely!!

09:51:39 From Patrick Tuck to Everyone : Yes! @RevAnderson

09:51:39 From Tom Donley to Everyone : Thanks everyone! My kids are out of school today, so I'm off to play soccer at Indie Park, go to the library and romp on our bikes. Until next time!

09:51:56 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Parks, Infrastructure, Water, Transit etc… everyone wants it but no one wants to pay for it… Economic problem of public goods

09:53:06 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : @manny How do we work on making that a priority. Making that budget a priority. Why is the PUBLIC not the priority.

09:53:28 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Thank you on behalf of Scotlandville - long time coming

09:54:34 From Katie P., United Way to Everyone : We are at a BREC park almost every weekend. It is a great, safe place for families to hang out outside.

09:54:35 From Futures Fund to Everyone : There is a HeART Trail coming to Scotlandville area, being championed by the Jewel J. Newman Community Center, Greater Baton Rouge Arts Council, BREC, SJP, and the Baton Rouge General Foundation. This is to promote healthy hearts and also highlight the already present walkways in the area. What we've discovered is the more connectivity than the "public" is actually knowledgeable about. Some of which can be attributed to the lack of maintenance. If any of you would like to get involved or interested in more information please email Ms. Candace Square at or myself at

09:54:41 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Thank you BREC!! It starts with BREC!!

09:54:47 From Manny Patole to Everyone : OH Alexis… we need some snacks for that prolonged convo. Shayne has her comments on the move away from the Great Society programs too… Also, looking at how many jobs can be created if we actually had a good risk management program for upgrading public infrastructure

09:55:14 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : Ill bring the snacks

09:55:33 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Feijoada, Pão de Queijo

09:56:14 From Karla King - concerned citizen to Everyone : Thank you everyone for this discussion!

09:56:19 From Luke St. John McKnight to Everyone : Take Care all. Be well.

09:56:36 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : Yaaasss @manny

09:57:19 From Manny Patole to Everyone : I do make good SAMBA Brazilian food (stroganoff, feijoada, farofa, etc) next time I am down there we do a cook off at Casa Philips

09:57:46 From Dustin@FYB to Everyone : Thank yall for indulging our bike thoughts. Until next time!

09:58:17 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Who is that baby with Pat?!?!

09:58:59 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : Thanks so much for sharing Janel

09:59:24 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : And sounds great Manny can’t wait

09:59:28 From Manny Patole to Everyone :

09:59:30 From Patrick Tuck to Everyone : Headed to next meeting. As we think of a coalition, funders can be considering USDA and other grant resources to match local public funds.

09:59:42 From Futures Fund to Everyone :

09:59:46 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : Love that Patrick

09:59:49 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Theo, we should coordinate a convo as I am working with BBR on Plank Road.

09:59:55 From Anita White to Everyone : Can Samantha Morgan (?) put her contact info about downtown Bike Tours in the chat, please?

10:00:01 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : I have to leave, big Walls love to you all!

10:00:19 From Anita White to Everyone : Can BREC’s Green Force help maintain the walkways?

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