Create Master Transportation Plan

The following list is meant to make this goal more actionable and SMART.  This list may not be complete.

2.1.1 Integrate Master Trail Plan:  The Master Trail Plan was created to envision a separated, shared-use trail network within Little Rock.[5] ,[6] Like other Master Plans, seeing the entire network concept helps to understand the utility of smaller projects as they are implemented.  The Master Transportation Plan should consider motor vehicle connectivity via existing and proposed streets in the Master Street Plan and bicycle and pedestrian connectivity via existing and proposed streets and trails.  Just as developers are currently required to build streets contained within the current Master Street Plan to accommodate motor vehicle traffic relevant to their development, developers shall also be required to build trails to accommodate alternative transportation modes within the current Master Trail Plan (which will be integrated into the Master Transportation Plan).

2.1.2 Bicycles/LIT - Revise and Integrate Master Bike Plan:  Our Master Bike Plan is a proposed bicycle network we developed and were ultimately successful in incorporating into the City Board-adopted Master Street Plan. It has been an important and useful step toward including LIT considerations in our transportation network, but it has limitations.  First, it has not undergone a comprehensive review by City staff; several proposed routes are considered unrealistic.  Second, national bike planning experts have not helped to make the proposed network/facilities sufficiently dense, direct, and separated.  The City will contract with a consultant to revise the Master Bike Plan in partnership with City staff and residents so that it is a more actionable document going forward.  This will include an audit of the currently installed LIT network, a prioritized list of projects to complete, and, for all proposed on-street LIT infrastructure, specify the type of facility (e.g. conventional, buffered, or protected LITlane).

2.1.2.1 Include LIT Infrastructure as Design Standard:  The Complete Streets Ordinance states that bicycles should be accommodated on all road types (except expressways) unless one of five exceptions are met.  Therefore, typologies with bicycle infrastructure should be the Design Standard and typologies not including bicycle infrastructure should be “Other Design Options”.

2.1.2.2 Make LIT Infrastructure Context-Dependent:  FHWA, NACTO, and others have been publishing several resources for bike infrastructure best practices, the appropriate context of different types of infrastructure, and how to measure and prioritize completion of networks.  Our typologies should reference and reflect these resources.[7],[8]

2.1.3 Pedestrians: We do not yet have a Master Pedestrian Plan.  Sidewalk repair is often haphazard; primarily driven by residential requests rather than a systematic, proactive approach to improving our sidewalk network.  Pedestrian transportation needs within the Master Transportation Plan will be considered by creating an inventory of the presence and condition of sidewalks and crosswalks and creating a prioritized list of projects based on creating continuous corridors, pedestrian demand, and equity.

2.1.3.1 Require Sidewalks on Both Sides of Collector and Residential Streets:  Currently, sidewalks are only required on one side of these streets, increasing the number of street crossings (and thereby increasing pedestrian risk) required by pedestrians to move about the city.

2.1.3.2 Plant Street Trees: Street trees can increase walkability by reducing vehicular speeds, physically protecting pedestrians, and reducing ambient temperature.[9]  They have the additional benefits of carbon sequestration, storm water management, and increase home value (and tax revenue); both providing revenue and decreasing municipal costs.[10]

2.1.4 ADA:  The City of Little Rock has created an ADA Transition Plan to increase mobility, accessibility, and independence for all residents.  Implementation of this plan will reduce the necessity of motor vehicle transportation for these residents.  This plan should be folded into the Master Transportation Plan.

2.1.5 Mission Statement: Section 2 of the Master Street Plan includes the closest thing to a transportation mission statement found in the Master Street Plan.  It should be revised in the Master Transportation Plan to reflect a Complete Streets approach.  The “Traffic Calming” subsection is a good nod to placemaking but can be improved.  “Bike Boulevards” should be added as a traffic calming option.[11]

2.1.6 Include Level of Service Metrics for All Transportation Modes:  Level of service (LOS) is a metric typically applied to determine how efficiently a street moves motor vehicles through a corridor given a defined traffic volume with a rating from A to F.  If this is the sole measure of the success of a street design, as it often is, then streets will continue to be designed to maximize this measure.  Perhaps in an attempt to level the playing field with other traffic modes, LOS calculations have been developed for bicycles and pedestrians.[12]  Include LOS as an evaluation criterion for all traffic modes within the Master Transportation Plan weighted with the priority of each traffic mode for specific corridors.

2.1.7 Project Selection and Prioritization:  Projects have traditionally been selected based on perceived residential need (Infrastructure Request), City staff expertise, and Ward Director decisions.  The Master Transportation Plan will propose and prioritize projects based on the holistic needs of the network, including but not limited to connecting piecemeal walking/biking facilities to complete bicycle and pedestrian networks, creating Safe Routes to Schools, Safe Routes to Parks, increasing transportation equity, increasing safety, creating street connections to trails, creating connectivity to transit routes, and completing high demand sections.[13]  The Master Transportation Plan should propose a transparent project selection process, informed by the priorities articulated in community outreach efforts, City staff input, consultant expertise, and other relevant inputs that considers the holistic needs of the network and include citizen oversight of this process via a City Commission.