Will Little Rock Board fail again on street ordinance? | Arkansas Blog

Monday, January 26, 2015

Will Little Rock Board fail again on street ordinance?

Posted By on Mon, Jan 26, 2015 at 7:00 AM

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Arkansas Outside, a website devoted to outdoor sports, offers reporting on the Little Rock City Board's recent delay of a vote to adopt a "complete streets" ordinance.

Many other more progressive cities have complete streets plans, as recommended by the city's professional staff. It means simply that streets are designed for all users — not just private cars, but bicycles, transit and pedestrians.

It doesn't mean every inch of every street must make allowances for all, depending on circumstances. But it might mean striping appropriate places for bicycle lanes, for example.

This ordinance has been five years in the making. But it was put off for at least 90 days because Director Lance Hines, a regular voice for developers, called for delay. Director Erma Hendrix, who hates bike lanes, seconded the motion for a delay and all but three directors went along.

Hines told Arkansas Outside that developers on Kanis Road (which will be getting a major city contribution to road widening from sales tax revenue) are concerned about costs of making allowances for bicycles.

We shall wait and hope. But we've played this game before and progressive planning generally comes up a loser in Little Rock.

Rodney Parham is quickly becoming the new Asher Avenue. The Highway 10 design overlay exists mostly in fantasy. Hundreds of acres of subdivisions are developed without sidewalks. Acres of parking lots dominate our sprawling westward growth. We keep widening freeways to move people faster and farther to remote suburbs and the business community blames a decaying inner city on the public schools.

The city board is far more amenable to a 24-pump gas station at a dangerous intersection or a drive-through bank branch in one of the city's best residential neighborhoods than it is to making a developer buy a few gallons of paint to stripe a bike lane on a major artery the city taxpayers are widening for him. Arkansas Outside says:

So we continue with no Complete Streets Ordinance in Little Rock for at least the next 90 days. That’s 90 days for developers to get approval for projects without taking forms of transportation other than automobiles into consideration. In this city we continue with a rarely discussed tax on anyone who wants to work, shop or live here. That tax is called owning an automobile because it is the only workable form of transportation due to the lack of infrastructure for alternative transportation. Walking safely, bicycling safely, better access to public transit and even safer streets for motorists will have to wait a little while longer.

You might find interesting a survey the website did of city directors about outdoor activities and city needs.

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