BACA’s spring general meeting was held Thursday, April 2 at the Oyster Bar. We had some great speakers! We heard from a representative of the Clarendon/White River Bridge about how much BACA’s support has helped push their issue forward. The decision has not yet been made to save the bridge, but we are awaiting more news on how we can help. the Arkansas Bicycle Club has discussed organizing a ride to Clarendon to ride over the bridge (which is a gorgeous ride through a hardwood tree canopy). Stay tuned for more info!
We also had an excellent presentation from a team of students from the Clinton School of Public Service. We had approached them to help us develop a plan to promote the benefits of Complete Streets and how we might better support our efforts to get such a measure passed. Students Angela and Tatiana suggested using the power of social media to spread stories of people on bikes and other types of road users. BACA is planning a new social media and website campaign that will feature short profiles of riders around town–what makes them ride, what they love about riding in Little Rock and what they would like to see. Tune in to our Facebook page for more on this front.
We also discussed BACA’s action on the potential closing of the Big Dam Bridge between midnight to 4 a.m. to cut down on deviant behavior (see this post by Jbar Cycling). The bridge is apparently a hangout spot for young troublemakers who like to throw things off the bridge and vandalize the property. BACA has chosen to fight to keep the bridge open 24/7/365 and is looking into alternatives to closing it during those hours.
There’s a lot coming up soon! We’ll be talking about Ditch the Keys Week and Bike to Work Day in the next few weeks.
ARKANSAS RIVER TRAIL CONSTRUCTION ALERT
Little Rock Public Works and Little Rock Wastewater would like to alert all Arkansas River Trail users who plan to use the section of trail along Cantrell Road. Work has started on installing a new sewer main in that area and the contractor will have 2 large pits dug adjacent to the trail at the Episcopal Collegiate driveway. Heavy equipment and workers will be in that area until the end of December, weather permitting. The contractor also plans to work weekends to expedite the project’s completion.
The Arkansas River Trail Task Force recommends avoid using this section of the trail, if possible, until the work in that area is completed. Signage has been placed in the affected area to alert cyclists and pedestrians of the construction. If you are traveling on that section, please be considerate of the construction workers and be extremely cautious. Look for future updates on the progress of this project and planned trail detours in that area.
The JBar Cycling blog has more on the trail construction here: http://jbarcycling.blogspot.com/2014/08/developments.html
1) In the recent slew of new mega gas station proposals, another one has surfaced that will effect cyclists in West Little Rock. A 20 pump Murphy Oil Gas Station is being proposed at the intersection of Taylor Loop and Cantrell Road . This is a frequented intersection by cyclist who are travelling from west Little Rock neighborhoods north to Pinnacle Valley Road. The proposal will increase traffic congestion and the number cars entering and exiting the street at this already dangerous intersection.
If you feel this development will be unsafe for cyclists in the area as well as harmful to surrounding residents, commuters and pedestrians, you can attend the upcoming Public hearing at the City of Little Rock Planning Commission Meeting at city Hall, this Thursday at 4:00 and voice your concerns. A group of neighborhood residents are planning on attending to oppose the development as well. If the issue passes, it will then head to the City Council for a final vote. For more info on the proposal, Click Here
2) There are reports of a “big box” company seeking to purchase land to build a retail outlet at the top of River Mountain Road & have the property rezoned from residential to commercial status. There are only three property owners from the Cantrell Road intersection to the point down the hill on River Mountain Road at which River Mountain Park begins. An actively opposed property owner has brought together an informal group of property owners in the general area of the potential development who would be adversely affected one way or another by the development &, in addition, a few bicyclists. Nothing has been filed with the city and to our knowledge, no land purchases have been made as of yet.
A development this size and at this location would have immense negative effects on cyclists either biking down the road or driving to access the Two River Park Bridge and the Arkansas River Trail as well as general traffic congestion at the Intersection of Cantrell and River Mountain Road. While no action is needed at this time, BACA is carefully following this as it develops and will keep everyone informed.
Coreen has finished her Journey and is back home! A group of BACA members went to greet her at the airport this past week to welcome her back after her cross country ride. She has quite the story to tell so follow BACA to find out how you can hear her story. Coreen’s ride raised over $2,500 which will go towards programs and materials for bicycle education, a cause Coreen is very passionate about. If you would still like to donate in honor of Coreen’s return home, please do!
To donate you can either click the Donate button on BACA’s webpage or mail a check to Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas, P.O. Box 55677, Little Rock, AR 72215 and put in the memo line, “Coreen and Linda’s ride”.
This week, both Little Rock and North Little Rock will be taking part in The National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project. The project is a survey of what the biking and walking scenes look like in a city. This will provide valuable information to help us promote more biking and walking infrastructure in both cities and show the growth of biking and walking. The survey will be Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdayin 18 locations as well as Saturday from 10 – 12
WE STILL NEED A FEW VOLUNTEERS FOR SATURDAY THE 6TH FROM 10 – 12
If you have some time this Saturday and will not be riding in the BIKE MS event, Please contact Jeremy Lewno at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer and for more info.
There are three public meetings coming up in the next three weeks that need a BACA presence. Please consider attending one or all of these if you can.
Monday, March 10 from 5:30 – 6:30 P.M. at Little Rock West Assembly of God, 16403 Lamarche Drive in Little Rock. This is a public meeting scheduled for the Lamarche Drive project
Monday, March 17 from 5:30 – 6:30 P.M. at Calvary Church of the Nazarene, 10325 West 36th Street in Little Rock. This is a public meeting scheduled for 36th & Shackleford project.
The public is also encouraged to attend the monthly Bike-Friendly Community Committee Meeting on Wednesday, March 12 from 11:30am-1pm at the Little Rock River Market, 400 President Clinton, Little Rock, AR (3rd Floor above Boulevard Bread). Please attend these meetings to show how strong the bicycling community is in Central Arkansas. A unified voice for bicycling will help us make an impact in these changes.
Take note — at the next BFCC meeting (Dec. 11th at 11:30 a.m.at the River Market — 3rd floor above Boulevard Bread), the Board will be voting on proposed changes to the Bike Master Plan. You can view those highlighted changes here: http://www.bikelr.com/planspublications/. Just click on the second document listed titled “Bike Master Plan 2011 Proposed Updates”. Included are notes on each project below the actual document showing traffic counts as well along affected areas.
Also, the City of Little Rock is holding public hearings on the proposed 2014 budget. If you want to see more money allocated to healthy, alternative forms of transportation, this is the best opportunity to speak up. Please show up and speak up for a healthier future. The hearing schedule is as follows:
Public Budget Hearing Wednesday, December 4, 2013 Highland Valley United Methodist Church 15524 Chenal Parkway 5:30 PM
Public Budget Hearing Thursday, December 5, 2013 Dunbar Community Center 1001 West 16th Street 6:00 PM
Public Budget Hearing Wednesday, December 11, 2013 W.W. Williams Northwest Division Police Substation 10001 Kanis Road 5:30 PM
TAKE ACTION: Tacks on County Farm/Pinnacle Valley Road: As some of you have heard some very thoughtless person (or persons) put tacks on the road between Two Rivers Park and Highway 300. In addition to the usual number of cyclists riding this route on the weekend, a number of cyclists were participating in the Hike/Bike event benefitting ALS. Thankfully no one was injured by this cruel act, although there were a number of flats and people were not able to complete the ALS event.
Judge Villines was apprised of this and sent out sweepers to sweep up the tacks. He has also alerted the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department which will patrol the area. In a response to our e-mail, Sheriff Holladay stated:
“I have received your e-mail correspondence with Judge Villines. The e-mails have been forwarded to Patrol Commanders with instructions to have deputies patrol the area as frequently as possible. Criminal charges (Criminal Mischief) can be filed if individuals are caught in the act or if a witness comes forward to identify the person/s responsible. Victims who need to file a report can call our dispatch at 340-6963 and a deputy will contact them and prepare a report. We will assist you in any way possible. If you need to speak to me directly you can contact me at 340-7060. Sheriff Holladay.”
Thanks Sheriff. Cyclists, remember to file a report if you were the victim of this cruel act or have information and remember to report violations of the 3 foot passing law.
And thanks to John Barton in his JBAR cycling blog for this important reminder: Let’s Be Fair: Share the Damn Road! That Means Us. We cyclists like to point to our right to be on the road. “Share The Road” is a nifty slogan, but it goes both ways. Some drivers simply do not believe that bikes belong on the road and nothing will alter their position. Most people don’t have a problem in theory with sharing the road, but they want and deserve a little consideration.
A friend and fellow rider happened to be out on Hwy 300 Saturday on his motorcycle. He was behind a line of cars that was creeping along at 12 MPH as a couple on bikes rode two abreast, taking the lane and ignoring the cars behind them. There is no shoulder on most of 300, but there is no excuse for not moving over as far as practicable and going single file. Situations like that were taking place all too often. Large numbers of cyclists on the road can make us feel empowered, but the fact is that the more cyclists take to the road, the more we need to be sensitive to the drivers with whom we share the resource.
We need drivers on our side and it only takes a few interactions like the one above to turn a patient, cooperative driver into the horn honking fist-shaker that we are all too familiar with. Acknowledge cars that approach you out on the road and let them know that you’re trying to work with them. For most people, that’s enough to get you a full wave instead of the single-finger variety.
The BACA Board of Directors sent a letter to Mayor Stodola on June 8th asking the status of the behind Dillard’s Trail. We understand that Mayor Stodola is still working to get that accomplished. We have almost 800 Likes on the Close the Loop Facebook Page.
River Trail Connector: In the meantime, the City Board of Directors took a few steps toward making Little Rock a little more bicycle friendly. Approval of money for construction of the connector on the Little Rock River Trail behind the old marina building on Cantrell was on the City Board of Director’s consent agenda at the July 9, 2013 City Board meeting and passed unanimously. The connector will keep cyclists going west from having to go the wrong way on the road by the Cantrell viaduct. It is a good first step and a temporary measure as the City continues to work towards completing the loop by routing the Trail behind Dillard’s headquarters.
SoMa Bike Lanes: Dozens of bicyclists showed up at the Little Rock City Board meeting on July 16, 2013. Nineteen persons signed up to speak in favor of approval of the resurfacing project on Main Street, which would include bike lanes from I-630 to Roosevelt Road. After about ten persons spoke, the City Board of Directors called the question and voted unanimously in favor of approving the resolution. Only 10 percent of the project, which costs about $460,000, will be funded by the City; the rest to be funded by the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department.
Medical Mile Repair: The City is continuing with repairs to fill to the Medical Mile. The City estimates the repairs to be completed by mid-August.
Sharrows on Kavanaugh: Because of the cost of putting in sharrows, the City had to bid the project. Construction is expected to begin in about a month.
Resurfacing projects: Bond money was approved for resurfacing many streets in Little Rock. We will work with the Little Rock Bike Ped Coordinator to advocate for putting bike lanes where appropriate on streets to be resurfaced. Among the streets set to be resurfaced in 2014 where we want bike lanes is Daisy Bates, which would link the upcoming South Main Bike Lanes to 12th Street bike lanes, connecting SoMa, Philander Smith, Ark Baptist College, Central High, and UALR to the Zoo, War Memorial Park, and more. Other road resurfacing projects coming up where we would like to see bike lanes are Louisiana and Scott (north of I-630), Rahling Road and Pinnacle Valley Road. We will keep you updated on what action we as BACA can take to promote this. How about bike rides on streets where we want bike lanes, such as Daisy Bates and Third Street?
And still more: The City received a $40,000 grant to build a bridge and pave Rock Creek Trail to the west of Loyola. The Rock Creek Trail would help provide an east-west connection downtown Little Rock out west.
IMPROVEMENTS TO NORTH STREET/LA HARPE BRIDGE SECTION OF RIVER TRAIL:
On March 8, 2013, pursuant to BACA’s request, representatives from the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, Jim McKenzie, Executive Director of Metroplan and others met with BACA representatives to discuss the section of the River Trail being repaired at North Street and LaHarpe. We pointed out that the section was extremely dangerous, forcing bicyclists to ascend up to Cantrell and make an almost 90-degree turn onto the narrow bridge over the railroad tracks.
The AHTD agreed to widen the path to about a 14 to 16 foot pathway. The sharp 90-degree turn will be eliminated. The pathway would gently ascend and turn to the east and west onto the five-foot sidewalk before the LaHarpe bridge.
The path has now been widened, making ascending and descending the Cantrell to North Street section safer and more accommodating to cyclists. Pictures of the improved pathway are below. We reported to the City of Little Rock that the southern portion of North Street needs to be cleared of debris and the surface smoothed. The City of Little Rock has stated that it will work to keep that section of the trail clear of gravel and debris.
Thanks to AHTD for responding to the concerns of bicyclists.
CAUTION SIGNS ALONG RIVER TRAIL:
On March 22, 2013, BACA wrote to Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola requesting that caution signs be placed along the section of the River Trail from under the Cantrell St. viaduct to Cross Street warning bicyclists that the trail is temporary and that cyclists should be proceed with caution. The City of Little Rock responded to our request and has placed signs at the Cantrell St. Viaduct and at Cross Street/LaHarpe Bridge.
Thanks to the City of Little Rock to responding to our request and working to ensure that cyclists are safe as they travel along the River Trail.