Little Rock can do better than ditches | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Little Rock can do better than ditches

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 1:13 PM


We can do better.

Re my rant earlier today about the scarcity of visionary and dramatic efforts by local government to build a city that anyone could see at a glance is a great city.

I got the following note from Tim McKuin, who joined in a little civic demonstration this morning — a ride-in, I gues — in response to my rant yesterday about the city's decision to symbolically begin a sales tax-financed capital improvement campaign with beautification of a ditch in the wealthiest country club neighborhood in Little Rock. Much as the CCLR neighborhood lot might need a little drainage work and some park-like landscaping, I thought it wasn't a razor-sharp public relations move. Anyway, the note from Tim:

Hi Max,

Re: Vision-less drainage project to kickoff Little Rock's ten years of capital projects…
Re: More traffic fatalities on Cantrell Road…
Re: Arkansas ranked 50th in the League of American Bicyclists' annual rankings…
Re: Pedestrians feeling ever more accosted by drivers and the LRPD while just trying to cross the street in downtown LR…
Re: The River Trail STILL not being completed in front of Episcopal Collegiate...
Re: etc., etc., etc…

Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas is pushing for some truly visionary changes in Little Rock. Despite the city's late announcement about this morning's groundbreaking, a few of us were able to show up and remind the city leaders that Little Rock can do better than lining a ditch with concrete. We plan to take a much more active role moving forward in advocating for better use of the city's limited sales tax dollars. Drainage projects may be necessary, but we need more inspirational symbols of what the City hopes to accomplish in the next ten years to put it back on sound financial footing while improving the lives of everyone who calls Little Rock home or comes here to work, shop, or play.

Here's a pic (above) of me, Mayor Mark Stodola, City Manager Bruce Moore, Judy Lansky, Director Stacy Hurst, Jeremy Lewno from Bobby's Bike/Hike, and David Paoli at this morning's ceremony:

Ride on, brothers!

PS — I asked McKuin to elaborate, he responded:

We felt that lining a ditch near the Country Club of Little Rock with concrete was a poor choice for a kickoff event. Little Rock has a unique opportunity to become a more livable, bikeable, and walkable city with the extra millions coming into the city coffers during the next ten years, but if the focus is going to be on ho-hum, gap-filling projects we fear that when the tax expires a decade from now the city will find itself in the same financial bind as it was in last year. If a business owner was struggling to pay the bills and found himself with a temporary bump in revenue he'd be better off making investments to grow his revenue for the future instead of just painting the bathroom walls. In Little Rock's case, drainage projects might be an appropriate use for some of the money, but they shouldn't be the showcase.

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