Little Rock Complete Streets Master Plan
The Little Rock Complete Streets Master Plan will serve as the City’s blueprint for the development and implementation of Complete Streets and active transportation projects, policies, and programs. The Complete Streets Master Plan will help create a safer, more comfortable transportation environment for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds, especially for people who walk, bike, and use mobility assistance devices like wheelchairs or walkers. This long-range planning document will fuse inspiration and ideas from Little Rock residents and community stakeholders with technical analysis of current conditions and needs and best practices in Complete Streets, bicycle, and pedestrian facility design.
Walking and bicycling are on the rise in Little Rock. Residents have shared with the City their desire for safer, more connected, and more comfortable streets and trails to support walking and bicycling. Creating these public spaces is about more than just helping people get from point A to point B. The benefits of a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly community encompass health, equity, environment, safety, economic development, and overall quality of life.
Through numerous plans, policies, and projects, the City of Little Rock and our partners throughout the region have begun to transform our public spaces to make active transportation travel choices like walking and bicycling more accessible to Little Rock residents and visitors. From major capital projects like the Big Dam Bridge and the Arkansas River Trail to small investments like ADA-compliant curb ramps or signed bicycle routes, investments in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure have a big impact on people’s transportation and recreation choices. Recent City initiatives like the Complete Streets Ordinance (2015), Master Trail Plan (2016), Master Streets Plan (2018), and Master Bike Plan (2018) identify concrete strategies to integrate pedestrian and bicycle facilities into future transportation projects. Regional and state plans like Metroplan’s 2050 Long Range Transportation Plan (2018) and the statewide Arkansas Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan (2017) also provide important guidance for investments in active transportation. The Complete Streets Master Plan will synthesize many of these plans and policies to create a singular guide to advance walking and bicycling in Little Rock.
The project began in February 2021 and will continue through February 2022. The 13-month project timeline is divided into four phases, beginning with an analysis of existing conditions and needs and the development of a vision statement to form the basis of the plan’s goals and recommendations (Fig. 1). The project continues through the summer with the development of a future network of Complete Streets, trails, sidewalks, and bikeways to support active transportation. The project team will also be exploring programs, policies, and implementation strategies to expand travel choices for Little Rock residents and make walking and bicycling an integral part of the larger transportation system. In the fall, the project team will develop a draft plan document that synthesizes all the work done to-date. Following a review by various City departments and by the public, the project team will finalize the plan document in January and February for final review and formal adoption as a guiding policy document for City staff and elected officials.
Figure 1. ALTA Planning's timeline for Little Rock's Master Complete Streets Plan.
How to Get Involved
Public outreach and engagement are critical to the success of this plan. To support the health and safety of community residents during the Coronavirus Pandemic, many of the Complete Streets Master Plan engagement events and activities will take place online.
Want to get involved? Here are a few ways you can contribute to the Plan:
How Else to Get Involved
Thank you for your above engagement with the Complete Streets Master Plan. Are you looking for more ways to make Little Rock a safer and more welcoming place to walk and bike? There's no quit in you! Here are some more ways to get involved above and beyond the Complete Streets Master Plan.
1. METROPLAN SURVEY: Five themes have emerged in Metroplan's Regional Advisory Committees. How important are these themes to you and why? Take their brief online survey to inform Metroplan priorities.
2) READ LEAGUE FEEDBACK: The League of American Bicyclists evaluates our community every four years for how welcoming our community is to bicycling. We earned Bike Friendly Community (Bronze) in 2016 and in 2020. With those awards come Little Rock-specific recommendations to improve bikeability. Here are the most recent recommendations.
3) WALK AND BIKE: More residents walking and biking increases the political will to invest in walking and biking infrastructure. It also makes walking and biking safer per capita, presumably because drivers better recognize and anticipate people walking and biking.
4) ATTEND BFCC MEETINGS: Attending the public, monthly Bicycle Friendly Community Committee meetings (first Wednesday of the month from 11:30am-1:00pm) helps keep you informed of current activity and ways to get involved and also shows the public interest and engagement for active transportation.
5) FRIENDLY DRIVER PROGRAM: The biggest disincentive to bicycling in Little Rock, by far, is a fear of being hit by a car (Table 1). Steps to improve the safety of walking and biking may be the most impactful ways we can improve walkability and bikeability. You can make Little Rock a safer place to walk and bike by taking the free Friendly Driver Program; the program teaches new bicycle and pedestrian laws and street designs from a driver's perspective. You can also bring this program to your workplace or organization for free!
6) HELP THE BIKEPED COUNT: Every year on a Tuesday (5-7pm) and a Saturday (12-2pm) in September, we count the number of bicyclists and pedestrians in different locations across Little Rock and North Little Rock. This is not possible without volunteers counters. If this sounds like something you might be able to do in September, please contact John Landosky.