Friday, March 7, 2014

Shillcut Bayou Bridge, BACA Meeting, Cantrell Road-Highway 10 Project

Shillcut Bayou Bridge Replacement

I received a phone call a while back from NLR's Mike Smith a while back with updated information on the construction schedule for replacement of the "wooden bridge" near the Burns Park launch ramp. Contracts should be signed in the next few days after which materials delivery will take about 45 days followed by 60 days of construction time. My calculations put completion at around the first of July. My experience with announcements about this project make me think it could be later!
In any event, the old bridge will remain open during and after construction and there should be minimal disruption use trail use.

 BACA Meeting-April 8 with Highway Commissioner Robert Moore

This announcement from BACA president Judy Lansky:


The development of few, if any, bicyclist - government relationships are more important to the improvement of bicycling in Central Arkansas and across the state than that of BACA with the Arkansas Highway Commission. In the past we have not been able to identify active supporters of bicycling within the five members of the commission. Just about a year ago Governor Beebe appointed former Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives Robert Moore to a ten year term on the commission. Mr. Moore comes to the commission with a long history of active interest in bicycling and trail development. He is also one of the prime movers behind the development of the Delta Heritage Trail State Park, currently being developed in phases along seventy-three miles of abandoned Union Pacific Railroad right of way through Phillips, Arkansas, and Desha counties in eastern Arkansas. 

LET’S HAVE A HUGE TURNOUT. Showing Mr. Moore and the Arkansas Highway Commission that there is a large community of support for bicycling in Arkansas is crucial if bicyclists are to have a seat at the table when the Highway Commission considers policies and allocates resources that could affect bicycling. Please reserve Tuesday evening April 8 to hear Mr. Moore talk about how bicyclists can develop a good working relationship with the Highway Commission and also learn a bit about the exciting Delta Heritage Trail.

River Mountain Road/ Cantrell-Highway 10 Redesign

In a recent article I mentioned traffic problems for parks users at the intersection of River Mountain Road and Highway 10. As was also mentioned, this area is being studied for a redesign to ease the flow of automobile traffic along Cantrell Rd/ Hwy 10. This redesign is all about cars and will likely result in 10- 11 lanes of traffic of to be crossed with the goal of "keeping them moving" in a constant flow. The configuration may ease the commute for the urban sprawl crowd, but could create an even worse situation for cyclists and pedestrians.
I've been assured that the engineers at work on the project have been given a directive to provide for safe passage by cyclists and walkers in the form of an underpass or overpass, along with off-street approaches. Unfortunately, such features cost money, and when budgets are tight are often reduced in scope or eliminated. This is especially true when it comes to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department's perception of the value of alternative transportation. They haven't earned the moniker "Department of Cars and Trucks" for nothing.

These projects take years to develop and any influence of the design must come in the early stages. They then must be fought for all along the way as ways are sought to reduce costs or reallocate resouces, often at the expense of smaller stakeholders (that is written to mean cars trumping bikes).
Who is going to do that for us?  See the BACA invitation above. Show up. Be counted. Be heard. Help BACA keep the heat on. Politicians do listen to voters but the voters have to speak up often and early.

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