Highway Department to hold public input meetings about state’s bicycle and pedestrian plan

Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department will hold two public meetings this week to discuss updates to the state’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan.

The first meeting is on April 1 in Little Rock, but a second meeting is planned in Springdale from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 3 in the Sam’s Club Community Room at Arvest Ballpark (enter through front gate). A formal presentation will begin at 6:15 p.m. and will focus on West and Northwest Arkansas issues.

Additional meetings in other areas of the state will be announced as they are scheduled.

The Department hired Maryland-based planning firm Toole Design Group to help conduct the meetings and update the plan, which was originally published in 1998. The plan serves as a blueprint for state agencies, local governments and affiliated organizations to work toward improving the environment for both cyclists and pedestrians.

Arkansas moved up 13 spots in a survey conducted last year by the League of American Bicyclists to rank 37th among the 50 states for bicycle friendliness. The ranking was based on a number of key indicators, including infrastructure and funding that provide bicycle facilities; education and programs that promote cycling; and passage and enforcement of bicycle-friendly laws that make it safe and comfortable for people of all ages to ride a bike.

“Arkansas has made great strides toward becoming a bicycle friendly state,” said Scott Bennett, director of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department. “Although our resources are extremely limited, we will continue to play a role in this progress toward providing a convenient and safe infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians in the Natural State.”