Ark. Highway Department introduces new bicycle, pedestrian plan to improve development

New bicycle, pedestrian transportation plan put in place

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department has published a new bicycle and pedestrian transportation plan. It’s a team effort composed of state agencies and stakeholders that include Arkansas State Police, The Department of Health, Parks and Tourism, and more.

The last plan was published nearly 20 years ago. Everyone involved with the plan felt it was time for an update and a few improvements.

Arkansas cyclists of all levels want to see a variety of things done in their community and there's hopefully good news coming down the pipeline for them.

"I normally just ride my bike around my neighborhood. But today I wanted to come out and ride out here by Two Rivers. It's so nice I love it,” said Monica Freeman.

She and her husband were out riding today at the Big Dam Bridge, taking in the nature and beauty the park has to offer.

And the AHTD said its doing its best to make sure the trails in your community are safe, up to date, and designed with you in mind.

"We have a four foot box around us and when everybody intrudes in that box, it’s dangerous and it’s scary,” said Donnie VanPatter, who races with the OKC Velo Racing group out of Oklahoma City.

A lot of his concerns and improvement suggestions were concerning safety. He said he was just hit today in the shoulder by a driver’s side view mirror.

The last plan on bicycle and pedestrian transportation was published in 1998. This new plan will enhance laws and policies to increase safety for cyclists around the state.

"I'd like to see some designated routes between cities in Arkansas," said Jim Britt with the Arkansas Bicycle Club. "[We have] a 6 day ride starting next week.”

He thinks there needs to be more connectivity between popular trails. Some cyclists ride from town to town, state park to state park, and other camp grounds in Arkansas. A statewide bikeway network is now in the works to connect to a national system.

Other bicycle pedestrians use trails and roads as a form of exercise. Many cyclists we spoke to say they use their bikes as a form of transportation.

The plan is a resource document of 114 pages for cities and counties to use when designing their own pedestrian road structures. The AHTD said interest in road cycling and mountain biking has grown tremendously over the years.

“I’d like to see wider lanes. A wider lane would be the answer everywhere in town. Where all the wider lanes are now, it’s really pretty safe,” VanPatter said.

The department held about 10-15 focus groups in different areas of the state while drafting everything up.

If you want to take a look at the full plan, click here.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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