Safe Routes to School: Horace Mann Middle School
Walking or biking to school can have health, learning, and other benefits. These can be the only reliable options for some students to get back and forth between school. The Little Rock Public Schools does not provide bus service for middle or high school students living within two miles of the school (Fig. 1, sea green).
A half mile walk is considered convenient (pg. 4), which is why this distance from Horace Mann is shown in salmon on Fig. 1. A mile walk may be approaching the maximum distance students would typically choose to walk, which is why the distance is featured in yellow on Fig. 1. Students may typically choose to bike at a distance greater than one mile (and students can get but service beyond two miles), which is why the distance is shown in sea green on Fig. 1. Therefore, in order to create Safe Routes to School for Horace Mann, safe bike routes should be the focus in the sea green area and both bike and pedestrian safe routes should be the focus in the yellow and salmon circles.
Many (but not all) of the streets around Horace Mann have sidewalks because this is an older part of town designed and built when there was a greater focus on pedestrian transportation. However, some of the existing sidewalks are in disrepair or incomplete. In April 2017, Little Rock Central High School student Ava Horton called attention to some particularly challenging routes to Horace Mann (Figs. 2-6). These include segments of Barber St., East 25th St., E. and W. Roosevelt Rd.
There may be an opportunity to leverage the value of the Roosevelt Rd. TAP grant creating connectivity to Our House and continue that sidewalk connectivity on the north side of Roosevelt from Spring St. to Barber St. on Roosevelt and on 25th St. from Barber St. to Springer Blvd.
Who Builds and Maintains Sidewalks?
In the City of Little Rock, sidewalks are typically installed by developers at the time of development. What types of streets require what types of sidewalks is determined by the Master Street Plan, which itself is a summary of City Ordinances and codes. Sidewalks maintenance is the responsibility of adjacent property owners. However, the City also employs a crew to build and maintain sidewalks and sometimes contracts out sidewalk construction and repair as well. Some sidewalk construction and repair has been funded by the City Sales Tax and Bond projects in the past. Grants may also be available to build and repair sidewalks.
Figure 1. Horace Mann Middle School is in the center of the figure surrounded by a sea green two-mile circle, a yellow one-mile circle, and a salmon half-mile circle. Brown lines are existing sidewalks and visible green lines are streets without existing sidewalks. The bright blue line is the border of the Horace Mann two-mile circle. No bus service for Horace Mann is provided within the bright blue line surrounding the two-mile circle.
Figure 2. Streets highlighted by Ava Horton for pedestrian improvement. Map by Ava Horton.
Figure 3. Sidewalks are absent or in poor repair along some of Barber St. Figure by Ava Horton.
Figure 4. This section of East 25th St. is short but challenging for a pedestrian. Figure by Ava Horton.
Figure 5. W. Roosevelt is not designed for pedestrians, but their are few other corridors to Horace Mann west of Main St. (Fig. 1). Figure by Ava Horton.
Figure 6. E. Roosevelt Rd. is not welcoming to pedestrians. Sidewalks are already planned for some of this corridor funded through a Transportation Alternatives Program Grant. Figure by Ava Horton.