As usual at the monthly meeting of the BFCC (Bicycle Friendly Community Committee) a report of the state of the city’s bike projects was given by John Honeywell. Mayor Stodola also took the time to speak about the Close the Loop initiative.
Close the Loop: Work is progressing towards construction of the two termini on either side of the Dillard’s campus. For the East side, which will begin at the Miracle Mile and then proceed down Cantrell and cross over the railroad bridge, title and engineering work have been completed. On the West Terminus final efforts are underway to obtain the necessary right of way for the project. The city of Little Rock is hopeful to get a resolution from Dillard’s by the end of the year towards working on completing the River Trail behind their corporate campus but in the meantime the North sidewalks on Cantrell will be used to connect the two termini. Both sections should go out to bid by the end of the year.
S. Main: Milling the road has already been completed and paving should be completed not long thereafter. The scope of the project has been expanded to take the resurfacing, and bike lanes, all the way across the I630 bridge to 6th street. Mayor Stodola stated that some sort of bike infrastructure will be explored for N. Main Street once some of the upcoming projects in the area had been completed. The wait is to make sure that anything added like sharrows or bike lanes won’t have to be torn up for any construction which would waste tax payer dollars.
Pinnacle Valley connection to Taylor Loop: This is a new project that the BFCC is looking at and drawings for the project will not be completed until 2014.
Overlook Resurfacing: This route is scheduled to be resurfaced in 2014 and the city is looking at ways to incorporate bike infrastructure. The current line of thought is to include a bike lane going uphill and install sharrows going downhill. Because of the width of the road base there is not enough room to install a bike lane for both directions of travel. However, given the extremely steep grade (8.5%) a bike lane is much more necessary going uphill where bikes will be going exceptionally slowly versus going downhill when bicycles can achieve speeds similar to vehicles. Comments were made by the public about the railroad crossing at the bottom of the hill being hazardous. It is a significant bump and can be hit at high speeds due to the steep downhill grade. The city cannot make repairs to it because it is railroad property but is more than willing to ask the railroad if they would make improvements.
Louisiana Resurfacing: There is currently a large project in the vicinity by the waste water dept. so the resurfacing will not begin until that is complete. The city is looking at installing a protected bike lane although as it will impact curbside parking there will be community meetings before hand to discuss the impact & benefits for local businesses on Louisiana Ave.
Wright Avenue Resurfacing: Another new project for the BFCC to look at. It is pending for next year so there is time for the BFCC to look at the plans and make recommendations for bicycle infrastructure to be included.
Kavanaugh Sharrows: The project to install sharrows on Kavanaugh down to Stiff Station has been completed. The city has received complaints about the road being full of rocks and vegetation that needs to be trimmed. That information has been passed along to the correct departments for the area to be added to the rotation for trimming and cleaning.
Arch Street: This project has already been completely designed by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Dept so the BFCC cannot make additional recommendations for bike infrastructure.
Broadway Bridge Re-Route: Jeremy has discussed with the AHTD about 3rd street being the logical re-route for the Arkansas River Trail during any closures necessary for the Broadway Bridge construction. Also it would be a better long term investment as any infrastructure installed to make it a viable re-route could also be used long term. Third Street has been targeted by the BFCC in the Bike Master Plan as a major East, West thorough fare for bikes. Nothing will be decided until the winning bid is announced as the AHTD is allowing the contractors to turn in a schedule with their bid on how they plan to complete the project which will include when and for how long closures will exist. Nothing concrete can be worked out for a re-route until the official schedule is determined.