Friday, April 3, 2015

Genuine Bad News-Pulaski County To Close Big Dam Bridge At Night, Ban Dogs

As usual, responsible people will lose the use of a public resource due to the inconsiderate or malicious actions of others. Sad, but understandable.
There are some nuggets of good news.
This information from Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde was forwarded by BACA president Mason Ellis to BACA board members:

Sorry I am out of town this week and cannot attend your meeting.
The Maumelle trail project is still looking for funding. 

We have applied for a grant that will allow us to install a 14’ lane on Pinnacle Valley Rd extending west from County Farm Rd. I’m optimistic about this one.  

We expect announcement very soon about the trail extending from Clinton Bridge to Terry Lock and Damn Park on Frazier Pike.  

We expect to begin closing the BDB because of vandalism and criminal activity occurring during the night. The closure time will be the same as Burns Park and we will have the BDB open early in the morning for our early risers. 

We also anticipate banning dogs on the BDB very soon. The cost of sending a crew out at least 3 times a week to clean up dog poop is not going to continue. It’s a disappointment to do that but the continued disrespect of some dog owners leaves me no choice.

More later.
Judge Hyde

The preliminary engineering continues on all three sections of the Southwest Trail. 
I hope to see you at your next meeting.

We will need to discuss this as a board! I don’t believe anyone wants to see the BDB closing at any time! Also, as big of an annoyance people walking their dogs and not picking up after them is, we need to work towards keeping the bridge open to all users.

We can discuss tonight at the meeting but I wanted to give everyone a heads up.  

Mason Ellis
I've always thought that the fact that the River Trail and the Bridges were open to all 24-hours per day, 365 days per year to be part of the unique charm of the River Trail system. Unfortunately, a different kind of bridge user has been emerging as folks realized that this unique venue is isolated and not subject to the immediate presence of law enforcement. It has been noticed that as darkness approaches, the crowds change from the usual families, exercise enthusiasts and nature lovers. The apparent result has been an increase in vandalism, litter, and illegal activity. Most of us will be unaffected by the nighttime closure, but it still pisses me off that, as usual, good people may lose privileges due to the actions of assholes.

There is good news in the above.
 I have an article on the works of the East Spur trail extension to Frazier Pike, which is largely the result of some very good work by Arkansas River Trail Task Force chairman Rob Stephens. We've been trying to get together to ride the route, but bad weather has popped up at every turn.
I am very pleased to hear that some positive action, if preliminary, is being taken on the Southwest Trail. Judge Hyde and the Quorum Court are also intent on building true bike paths along Pinnacle Valley Road. Ironically, Justice of The Peace Doug Reed, who represents district 1, opposed applying for a grant and providing funding for the project. Since many of his constituents have been vocal about the need to get cyclists off of "their" road, it would have been rational to assume that he would be supportive.

On the Not-So-Genuine News Of April 1

I want to thank Rob Stephens for his River Trail Task Force "Press Release" regarding trail closure.
He may have stumble on to a viable business model with the Uber Water Taxi. When the Broadway Bride closes in the summer of 2016 for replacement, desperate commuters would likely line the banks of the river seeking transport.
My article on the River Bluffs Trail Section is unlikely  to come to being. It would require some political risk on the part of mayor Mark Stodola, cooperation from the LR Board of Directors, and some community spirit on the part of Dillard's. Stodola seems to have abandoned the grand idea in favor of a far-from-ambitious plan of permanently routing the River Trail down the sidewalk and across the driveways along the north side of Cantrell.


Anonymous said...

I rode the Dillard's detour last weekend and it makes the Episcopal Section look like a super highway.

Unknown said...

I have ridden the east spur route and it is a great ride. Hopefully they will make it a loop by extending it around Harper road and back to the trail via sweet home.
They need to invest in random officers walking the bridge and writing warning or real citations. Perhaps some fake cameras to "watch" the bridge might cut down on the vandalism and drugs also.
The sidewalk in it's current form is a joke. I will not be riding the Little Rock side until I feel safe and that plan is not going to do it.

Anonymous said...

....and this amongst other recent policies is why tech workers such as myself are considering Boulder, Co or other like minded towns. It would be sad to see LR and NLR go back to the way it was but if the powers that be want to turn back the clock so be it, I'm out. None the less this is why half of my friends are already in SLC and Boulder, no jobs to compete with other offers, a broken River Trail and broken record of an argument and even if we do fix the River Trail, the peds will take it over. Then Pinnacle etc will be clogged and no one has even began to think about that less labeling it "River Trail" on Google Maps. Car harassment is getting worst and it still doesn't fix the fact that hitting a cyclist will probably end in the dead cyclist being fined. I"m beginning to think if you're young professional who loves to cycle LR/NLR may not be for you.

JBar said...

Ted, there are cameras on the BDB, and more were added with the lighting update. That additional surveillance may be what prompted Judge Hyde's thinking. I do not know that to be fact. The dog poop problem is evident.
Anon, I don't think the harassment issue is getting any worse; we're simply out on the road more. It has long been a problem out west. As far as peds on a new trail section, more power to them. You can still ride on the road.