It appears that the long-awaited Rock Island Bridge project will be getting underway as money is rolling in in the form of a couple of million federal dollars that will help cover the Clinton Foundation's cost estimate shortfall. In addition, the City of North Little Rock plans to ante up another $750,000.00 to be used toward construction and the acquisition of two parcels of land near the foot of the north landing. The land acquisition will allow enhancement of the visual and practical approach to the bridge and allow the city a greater measure of control of development in the area.
On the other end of town, construction continues as footings are being dug and concrete piers poured for the Two Rivers Bridge.
Steve Shepherd taking a look at progress on the Two Rivers Bridge.
So near, yet, for the time being, still a long ride to Two Rivers Park.
Another important development that appears to be nearing fruition is North Little Rock's effort to acquire an unused railroad right-of-way that runs from the Levy area to the east side of Camp Robinson. This stretch of track was maintained for many years to serve the Camp Robinson depot, but a few years back the military department decided that they had no future use for the spur. The City has been working to make a deal for the property for conversion into a multiuse trail, which creates the possibility of a new northern corridor for bike commuters and recreationalists. In what will eventually be part of that route, work is underway on a bit of trail and some sidewalks at the intersection of Pike Ave. and 33rd Street, already making that stretch of Pike much safer for cyclists. The RR tracks cross Pike at an angle and there is no shoulder at all, making for a sketchy approach to the tracks if you are boxed in by traffic.
The new path already allows you to skip the tracks if you don't mind crossing a few feet of gravel, and I'm sure things will be finished up in this area soon. Many of us who live in Park Hill use this route to and from the River Trail via Fort Roots.
Our bike community just keeps getting better, but nothing happens without public support and the buy-in of civic leaders. Encourage your non-cycling friends (if you have any!) to get out and enjoy the trails and the BDB and express your support for cycling and pedestrian projects at every opportunity. This is the election season, so when those pesky folks interrupt your dinner or corner you at an event, ask them about their candidate's position on alternative transportation and energy policy. Issues like this only become important to politicians when they know it is important to voters. Tell them what's important to you.