Kavanaugh Bike Lane 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.
Kavanaugh is intended to be a main bike corridor and currently has sharrows from Markham (southeast of Hillcrest) to the University (in the Heights). From Markham to North Valentine, Kavanaugh is an gentle, intermittent uphill climb, so the speed differential (pg. 7) between cars and bikes is particularly high (Fig. 1). Kavanaugh's lanes are not wide enough for a car to pass a bike in the same lane while giving the bike three feet of clearance, but cars can be reluctant to cross the double yellow line because sight-lines are often short on this curvy road (Fig. 2).
Figure 1. From Markham to Valentine, Kavanaugh is an uphill climb.
Figure 2. Between Markham and Valentine, Markham has poor sight-lines because of winding nature of the street.
What results can be dangerous behavior from people on bikes and driving cars. A nervous bike rider may weave in and out of the parking lane to get out of the way of automobiles. This can result in a driver not seeing a bicyclist and hitting her from behind as she steers into the shared lane. A nervous bike rider may ride too close to parked cars, risking a dooring crash. Between breaking the law of crossing a double yellow line (a clear demarcation in the street and a law universally known) and breaking the law of passing someone on a bike without giving her three feet of clearance (a judgement-call measurement by a driver and a law not universally known), a driver may pass a bicyclist too closely. An impatient motorist may attempt to pass, crossing the double yellow line, when he doesn't have long enough sight-lines, risking a car vs. car or a car vs. bike collision.
Currently, this section of Kavanaugh allows parking on both sides of the street, but the parking on both sides of the street together is almost never more than half full of its capacity on any given block. This parking zone is demarcated by a solid while line on both sides of the street from Markham to Martin and not delineated at all after that (Fig. 2). Converting the ~8-9 ft. parking lane on the uphill side of the street to a bike lane would not require removing any street striping other than the beginning of the parking lane around Markham and the ending around Martin.
This connectivity is important to make a well-used bicycle corridor safer, but also as part of creating access to the Midline.
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.
Bike Lane on Kavanaugh: Kavanaugh is a main bike corridor, but riding uphill from Markham to Valentine can be dangerous. The speed differential between cars and bikes is high, which can cause drivers to be frustrated, but the double yellow line and limited sight-lines can complicate passing. To avoid cars, bicyclists can either pass parked cars too closely (risking a dooring accident) or can weave in and out of the parking lane, risking a car vs. bike rear-end collision. I would like the City of Little Rock to convert the 8-9 ft. wide uphill parking lane on Kavanaugh between Markham and Martin into a buffered bike lane, using 6 ft. of width for the bike lane, the remaining width as a buffer, and the existing white line as the line between the buffer and the vehicular traffic lane. I would like the City to extend the bike lane from Martin to Valentine, and remove the sharrow markers on the uphill vehicular lane between Markham and Valentine. 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.