(Opinion by site owner Joe Jacobs)
Above is the map that was presented Tuesday night to local citizens showing a possible design for the Broadway Bridge. I’ve added a couple of circles and arrows (yes, this is feeling like an Arlo Guthrie song, if you don’t know the reference ask your parents or grandparents.)
The circles show two intersections which particularly bother me as a cyclist and as someone who would like to see more bike commuter friendly roads in central Arkansas.
My issue starts with the approach from the north. As a rider comes to the bridge, possibly commuting from the Park Hill area or other residential areas in North Little Rock, they should be riding in the right lane as per Arkansas Code of 1987, Annotated, (“A.C.A.”) Title 27, chapters 49 through 111. Once the cyclist reaches the bridge they must cross seven lanes of traffic to get to the left or east side of the bridge to take advantage of the bike/pedestrian walkway.
The next problem comes at the end of the bridge where riders must cross five lanes of traffic to get back on the right side of the road and then move on to major work centers at the Capitol complex or downtown.
They have obviously added nice ramps so that cyclists and pedestrians can access the Arkansas River Trail but as an avid river trail rider, I don’t need more ways to cross the river, we have no less than three bike/pedestrian crossings plus a pedestrian crossing on the Main Street bridge. What we need is planning that will easily allow future bike lanes and bike access throughout both Little Rock and North Little Rock so that maybe in another 80 years, or sooner, we don’t have to replace this bridge once again with a new bridge that allows even more cars across.
Earlier plans for the bridge included simple sidewalks and bike lanes on both sides. This is what we need. This is what we need to ask for. More good information is also available on the Move Arkansas website.
More pretty pictures and maps are available here. This site also offers a way that you can make comments about the design. They expect to spend a lot of money on this, have your say.