Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Trail Closure (Kind of..); New AHTD Bike-Pedestrian Coordinator

AHTD construction project closes River Trail link

I hate when I'm beat to the punch by the mainstream press, but the AHTD project reported here in earlier posts is underway, resulting in the closure of the sidewalk trail link over the UP tracks east of Episcopal Collegiate School. It has been reported in the Dem-Gaz and discussed on the BACA Facebook page.
Reader Richard Bassett shared this:
River Trail Construction. The piece of the River Trail from Cross Street back across the railroad overpass to the part that drops down to the Episcopal School is closed. There was a bulldozer tearing out the sidewalk and part of the hill on the South side of Cantrell right before the overpass. They have a barricade across the ramp leading from Cross Street up to Cantrell.

It is unfortunate that nobody saw fit to announce the closure of the sketchy but important trail link prior to the commencement of construction, as it was far from being an unplanned emergency as caused by a landslide, meteor strike, or other unforeseen calamity. I'm not aware of a viable alternate route, leaving  riders with the prospect of crossing Cantrell  and/or either riding the traffic lanes or taking the sidewalk on the north side of the road. At most times of day during the week, the options are not good ones. This is the manifestation of poor communications between governmental entities and a disregard for cycling as transportation. I would expect it to be a topic of conversation at Wednesday evening's BACA meeting as well as at the Wednesday meeting of the  Little Rock Bike Friendly Community Committee.

New Bicycle-Pedestrian Coordinator at AHTD

From Bud Laumer, who is exiting the post:

Ms. Kim Sanders is your new Statewide Bicycle-Pedestrian Coordinator here at AHTD. 
I know that you will give her the same sort of support and encouragement that you gave me during my four years here in that role. 
Please replace my contact information with Kim’s. 
Kim is now your contact regarding issues related to cycling and walking in Arkansas.  
Thanks and take care,
Bud Laumer, AICP, LCI

After dropping Kim a note of introduction and explaining who I was and the purpose of my blog, while asking for some of her time to get introduced,she dropped me back a note saying,   "Sure, next time I see you on the trail, we'll talk."
 It then dawned on me that Kim is one of my long-time trail friends, though I've never known her last name. I'm sure she has told me, but sometimes, I'm just a slow learner, and , "Hey, Kim" always sufficed. Kim is an avid rider and a regular on the River Trail, usually in her trademark red kit. If you ride the trail frequently, upon meeting her, you'll say, "yeah, I see you all the time."  I see Kim as being "one of us" and I believe that she will be able to identify with those of us who rider for recreation, fitness, or transportation. I want to thank Bud for his efforts and welcome Kim aboard. With Governor Beebe apparently embracing bike friendliness on the state level, I hope to see more positive action from the AHTD.

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