All posts by Baca Webmaster

Fort Roots Trail Widened

Many bicyclists have biked up the scenic Fort Roots hill to ride around the grounds on top of the hill and back down.  Not all cyclists are aware of the paved “Fort Roots Highlands Perimeter Trail” that winds around the perimeter of the hill/mountain just above the quarry (take a left on to the trail a couple hundred feet or so before the gate and guard house at the top of the hill).  The paved trail is about two miles long and comes out on the north side of Pulaski Tech and the Fort Roots campus.  The trail has some of the most spectacular views around, perhaps on the planet.  HOWEVER, until last week the trail had one significant deficiency – a several hundred yard section that narrowed to the width of a small sidewalk (see photo) immediately behind the old officers’ houses, while the width of the rest of the trail is 12′ to 14′.  The sidewalk narrow section was difficult and dangerous to ride, especially since a several hundred foot drop-off into the quarry was just a few feet from the edge of the trail.
As part of its advocacy effort, BACA has been working to get the trail widened.  BACA is pleased to report that through the efforts of North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith and Parks and Recreation Director Bob Rhoads, working with the Fort Roots Veterans facility administration, that section has now been widened to the same 12′ to 14′ width as the rest of the trail.  The entire trail is now a great riding experience.  See the before and after comparison in the photos below.
BACA very much appreciates the efforts of Mayor Smith, Director Bob Rhoads, and the Veterans Administration to make the trail much safer and enjoyable to use.

Fort Roots Trail
The Before and After of the narrow trail section at Fort Roots

Riverfront Drive Reconfiguration Meets Opposition

The public meeting regarding the Riverfront Bike lanes on Monday, April 27 was heated to say the least. Residents

The plan for Riverfront Drive

from the nearby Canal Pointe neighborhood turned out in force to oppose the Riverfront Drive proposal. While some cyclists and residents did show up in support, their comments in favor of the project were greatly overpowered by the rest of the crowd.

Currently the city is looking at scrapping the project because of the disapproval at the public meeting.

We need BACA’s support TODAY!

If you are in favor of the project, If you think the River trail is more important for Central Arkansas than an over-engineered 1 mile stretch of road, if you feel the current configuration of the trail is dangerous for families and visitors, please show your support for this project. Because as of now, the city has heard that the people of Little Rock do not want a safer Riverfront Drive and think that a single striped bike lane on a speedy over-built road is adequate for the Arkansas River Trail.

If you use the Arkansas River Trail and want to make it safer for everyone, we ask you to please email the city and let them know!

Email your support for a “Riverfront drive road diet and widening of River Trail to 13ft in either direction” to the following emails: bmoore@littlerock.org, mstodola@littlerock.orgttolefree@littlerock.org,Jhoneywell@littlerock.orgjlewno@littlerock.org. and well as Ward 3 Director Kathy Webb at kathywebb14@gmail.com

The plan for Riverfront Drive
The plan for Riverfront Drive

Little Rock City Board Passes Complete Streets Ordinance

On Tuesday, April 21st, the Little Rock City Board of Directors voted 9-1 in favor of the proposed complete streets ordinance that had been in the works since mid-2014.

Speakers from the Little rock Sustainability Commission, AARP, Studio Main and BACA all presented to the city board members on the benefits of complete streets, including safer streets for all users–from people who ride transit to people with disabilities to people who ride bikes, walk or run. For more information about complete streets, see this Complete Streets FAQ.

BACA appreciates the cooperation of the Little Rock city board members in working to make our roads safer for everyone. Now that the ordinance has passed, the challenge becomes enforcement, or ensuring that the city and developers actually follow through with the ordinance. This will be discussed at a later date. Thank you all for your support! It was a community effort all the way and we are excited to move forward.

South Main Complete Streets
South Main Street is one example of a “Complete Street” in Little Rock

 

 

BACA General Membership Meeting Recap

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.

Clinton School Students

 

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.

River Trail Construction at Episcopal Collegiate

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

Photo Credit: JBar Cycling
Photo Credit: JBar Cycling

Advocacy Alert – New Developments in West Little Rock May Threaten Cycling

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 and Linda Biking For BACA

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”.

Call for Volunteers – National Bike and Pedestrian Survey

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 jlewno@littlerock.org to volunteer and for more info.

Upcoming Public Meetings in Little Rock

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.

Coming Up: Master Bike Plan Proposed Changes and City Budget Hearings

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