Increasing Bike Lane Network Mileage
Creating more bike lanes, especially those proposed in the Master Bike Plan, brings us closer to an interconnected bicycle network linking origins to destinations throughout Little Rock.
Figure 1. New bike lanes on Van Buren link the bike lanes on Fair Park Blvd. to the sharrows on Kavanaugh, creating a link between existing facilities that moves us closer to an interconnected bike network.
Progress from 2016-2018
Conventional Bike Lane on Overlook
In 2016, the City installed a bike lane going uphill on Overlook, a 25mph collector street.
Conventional Bike Lanes on Van Buren
In 2017, the City installed bike lanes on Van Buren, a 30mph collector, connecting the Fair Park bike lanes to Kavanaugh.
Goals from 2018-2020
Install More Bike Lanes in 2016-2018 Resurfacing Projects
Strong consideration should be given to bike lanes on 2017 and 2018 resurfacing projects not already completed, especially Pleasant Valley Forest (2018). Other financial means of installing bike lanes on arterial and major collector streets should be considered to increase the pace of installation and target key network connections.
Install More Bike Lanes on 2019-2021 Resurfacing Projects
This is listed separately from the 2016-2018 resurfacing projects because it may require a different set of actions to achieve. Streets to be resurfaced in the 2016-2018 projects have already been determined; the only outstanding questions are whether they will get bike lanes and the design of those bike lanes. The streets that will be resurfaced in the 2019-2021 cohort are still being considered.
Connecting existing bike facilities together into a network is much more constructive than installing additional, disconnected bike facilities. While we should not discourage opportunistic installation of bike lanes, especially those proposed in the Master Bike Plan, extra efforts should be made to connect existing facilities as quickly as possible. Guidance for creating a network and prioritizing bike network connections exists and should be used. This might also be considered an "Evaluation and Planning" goal. This goal could be part of the partially funded revisions to the Master Street Plan.
Amend the Master Street Plan to Have a Higher Network Density
In our current Master Bike Plan, there are large areas without existing or proposed bike facilities (Fig. 2). Because the Master Plan was primarily created by advocates, not professional planners, the reasons for these regional gaps are unclear. A strong bike network has a high network density, allowing users to take short, low-stress residential connections to make final connections from origins or to destinations as necessary, but otherwise creating direct routes. This goal could be part of the partially funded revisions to the Master Street Plan.
Figure 2. Some areas in Little Rock have few existing or proposed bike facilities (Master Bike Plan).