By: Jarred Gitz – Chief  Blogger for Bike Little Rock

The weather is starting to heat up and so are some of Little Rock’s bicycle and pedestrian construction projects.  There are a number of projects that are currently underway or will be soon and quite a few more that are in the planning stages.  Kavanaugh will be getting sharrows this summer, the collapsed drain pipe by Two River Park Bridge should be complete any day, and the River Trail section by Dillards received signs cautioning riders due to the sections temporary nature.  In the near future Pinnacle Valley Rd. and Rahling Rd. will be widened; both with room for bicycles and pedestrians.  Also, preliminary design work has been completed for traffic calming on S. Main St.  Below are the details on some of the current and future projects for the City of Little Rock to become more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.

Kavanaugh Blvd will be getting sharrows in the coming months.  The project was approved by Bruce Moore, City Manager for Little Rock.  Because the project is under $50,000 it is not required to go to the City Board for approval.  Once the bid documents are drawn up bidding will begin for the project with work to commence shortly after.

Construction to repair the collapsed drainage pipe by the Two Rivers Park Bridge is moving swiftly.  The city has completed construction on their section and the county plans to have it completed quickly.  Construction was supposed to be completed this last week, weather permitting.  I hoped for access when I went to ride at Two Rivers Park Bridge today but sadly it looks like it will still be a little longer as no asphalt has been laid yet.

At the request of the Bicycling Advocacy of Central Arkansas (BACA) the city has placed new yellow signs on the River Trail section between the Episcopal School and Cajun’s alerting riders that this section is temporary and to proceed with caution.

A preliminary design has been created for S. Main St. from I-630 to Roosevelt Rd.  The proposed changes are for traffic calming and will be funded by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Dept.  The project has the support of both the Pettaway and SoMa neighborhoods and has received signatures from the entire community.  Included are neighborhood schools, businesses, and churches and is most definitely has the backing of St. John’s Church on Roosevelt because 3 cars have crashed into their building in the last year.  Traffic calming changes will go a long way in making the road more accessible to bike and pedestrian traffic which should make the Pettaway and SoMa neighborhoods more desirable and safe.  There was a public meeting on the proposed changes last Thursday.

Pinnacle Valley Road which many recreational cyclists use coming out of Two River Park towards Pinnacle Mtn is being rebuilt and widened.  Design work is currently underway with construction anticipated between 2013-2015.  Team West Little Rock and the Arkansas River Trail Task Force are looking into possible solutions to connect Taylor Loop and Pinnacle Valley Rd which would open up easy access to the River Trail to many in West Little Rock

Rahling Road will be expanded into a four lane road with a divided median.  There are some possible ideas for including Bike/Ped access into the project.  Possibilities include expanding the existing 8ft multi use trail to a 16ft trail with running/walking sections, working a bike lane into the road surface an both sides, or to keep the current path as a walking only path on the West side and provide a bicycle only path on the East side using an existing dirt path.

The construction for the new Broadway Bridge will require the closure of the River Trail section under the bridge.  Options are being pursued for a detour route the most feasible one being to alleviate the parallel parking spots on the South side of President Clinton Ave and replace them with a one-way bike lane and to install sharrows on the North side.  This would make the President Clinton Library and Ave the detour route for all trail users although it is already commonly used by many trail users.  The creation of the additional bike lane and sharrows keep the trail safe and deal with the increased numbers of users on President Clinton Ave. due to the detour.

Bobby’s Bike Hike in the Little Rock River Market downtown is providing bike rentals for little rock city employees to ride to lunch on.  The program is called Bike to Lunch Days and corresponds with Bike to Work Week which is this coming week May 13-17th.  We are currently looking for other Little Rock Bike Shops and Repair services to pitch in as well.