The Conway City Council heard suggestions before their regular meeting Tuesday night from the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board about the Western Arterial Loop and the projected I-40 overpass at Elsinger Blvd.
After hearing about concerns with the plans for the Western Arterial Loop, council agreed to ask City Engineer Ronnie Hall to consider some of the BPAB’s suggestions, including an on-street bike lane in each direction that is five feet wide, demarcated from traffic with a four inch stripe, marked bike symbols every 250 feet and a five foot sidewalk on each side of the road for portions of the design.
“I’m of the opinion, measure twice and build it once,” said Mayor Tab Townsell. “Lets spend the time and money to get it done right now.”
Concerning the proposed I-40 overpass, the BPAB had several suggestions for the bridge design that would make the bridge usable and attractive to bicyclists and pedestrians.
“One of the biggest challenges that we have as a city when it comes to bike-ability is Interstate 40 is a huge barrier,” said BPAB Secretary Greg Reddin. “One of the biggest things we could do to improve bicycling in Conway is to provide an east-west access route across the interstate that would make people feel secure.”
The board suggested an on-street bike line in each direction for the bridge similar to their suggestions for the Western Arterial Loop supplemented by a 12 foot wide multi-use path on either side of the road separated from the road with a physical barrier.
For the proposed roundabout, the board suggested a 12 foot wide multiuse path around the roundabout with street crossings in different colored material to stand out to drivers. They also suggested manually activated yellow flashing warning lights and signage to alert drivers to bikers and walkers.
At the end of the discussion, council said they would consider a resolution suggesting the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board have a chance to give input during the planning stages of a project.
“Our desire is to get involved earlier in the process of street design so that instead of going into a place after it’s been built and saying, ‘I wish you had done this,’ we could say, ‘Why don’t we do this,’” said Reddin.
He also specified it would not be a binding voice. Councilman Andy Hawkins said a resolution would be best to set up a process to involve the board. Council is expected to vote on a resolution at the first council meeting in September.
(Staff writer Angela Spencer can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1212. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)