7th Street Infrastructure Request

Public Works is currently taking requests from residents for infrastructure projects for the 2019-2021.  I have been approached from several people who are interested in projects that would make Little Rock a better place for bicycle and pedestrian modes of transportation but who are not familiar enough with current BikePed challenges and opportunities to make a meaningful request.  It is in that spirit that I share with you this and other ideas.  Unless Little Rock residents fill out an infrastructure request form for this idea, it will not be considered for the 2019-2021 funds.  The demand for each idea is measured, in part, by the number of residents requesting an idea.  Support from local organizations, businesses, and neighborhood associations can also help increase the likelihood that a project is selected for implementation.  Requests are due by September 30, 2017.

Seventh St. from Main St. to Booker (Fig. 1) is an important corridor for bicycle and pedestrian transportation, but does not currently serve either mode well.


Figure 1.  Bike lanes proposed on the Master Bike Plan on 7th St. from Main to Woodrow would create the only on-street east-west bike corridor possible between the Arkansas River and I-630 without significant improvements to 3rd St.

Pedestrian

1) Bus corridor: This segment of 7th St. is a major bus corridor, including the 3, 5, 11, 17, 25, and 26 bus routes.  Bike, pedestrian, and bus transportation modes work best synergistically.  Riders need to have safe access to bus stops and a way to get to their destinations after exiting the bus.

2) Southwest Trail:  The Southwest Trail/Central High Corridor will intersect 7th St.  Pedestrians could access the trail from bus routes or from Stifft Station, Capitol Hill, or Arkansas Children’s Hospital if sidewalk facilities were adequate.

3) The Midline is a proposed east-west bicycle and pedestrian corridor approximately following I-630.  7th St. is a part of that corridor.

Bicycle

1) See Above:  This corridor is important for the bicycle mode because it is a bus corridor (all buses have a front rack that holds two bikes), because it intersects the Southwest Trail, and because it is a part of the proposed Midline.

2) West from Downtown:  There are only three on-street ways between the Arkansas River and I-630 to go west out of downtown.  LaHarpe/Cantrell is not a safe bike route, 3rd St. may not get bike facilities anytime soon.  That leaves 7th St. as the only east-west corridor available to create a lower-stress corridor to encourage ridership and commuting.

3) Bike share: Some of this corridor falls within the Phase 1 bike share launch in Spring 2018.  If the Capital Mall and Arkansas Children’s Hospital are not included in the Phase 1 launch, they will be high priority targets for Phase 2.  Quality bike facilities (those that offer substantial separation between bikes and vehicular traffic) have been shown to increase the use and success of bike share programs.

4) Main St. Connectivity:  The importance of connectivity cannot be overstated when implementing a bicycle transportation network.  Creating a high quality east-west corridor that intersects with a high-quality north-south corridor on Main St. will increase ridership and bike commuting.

We have already considered lane configurations and held public meetings regarding 7th St. from Broadway to Chester.  If this is a project you would like to see completed, feel free to use any of the below language you would like to complete an infrastructure request form and submit it to Public Works no later than September 30th (postal mail and email addresses can be found on the form):

1) Briefly describe the proposed project.  Please include the boundaries of the project.

7th St. BikePed Cooridor:  7th Street is a critical corridor to make multimodal.  It is the only potential east-west bicycle corridor out of downtown between the Arkansas River and I-630.  It is a main transit corridor; bike and pedestrian facilities help transit access.  It would provide access to the proposed Southwest and Rose Creek Trails and is a critical part of the proposed Midline.  Creating quality, buffered bike lanes on 7th Street would help the success of our new bikeshare program and increase ridership in Little Rock.  I would like the City of Little Rock to take the necessary steps to create buffered bike lanes on 7th Street from Main to Booker Streets.  This would include restriping much of this corridor and possibly widening 7th Street from Summit to Dennison and from Appianway to Booker Streets. If a new Master Plan reroutes the Midline to a route that bypasses this project's location, I would like the funding requested here to go toward making BikePed improvements to support that corridor.

2) Indicate if this is a new project or a continuation of an existing project.

This is a new project implementing the Master Bike Plan.