On July 2, 7 bicyclists traveling cross country were injured while bicycling near McCrory, Arkansas. BACA was in contact with the group organizers, Overland, to offer whatever assistance we could provide. One of the injured teenagers was hospitalized in Little Rock, and we gave him a card signed by a number of bicyclists. Michael Chaffin of the Capital Hotel offered the family rooms, however, they decided to stay in the hospital with their child.
Unfortunately, one of the seven cyclists, Lee Merritt Levitan, died. We have been in contact with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and at this time the Prosecuting Attorney and the Arkansas State Police are still investigating the accident to determine what, if any, charges can be brought against the driver.
Overland had several other groups riding through Arkansas and we helped reroute them. In addition, thanks to Willa Williams and her contact at the Yell County extension office, Casey Scarborough, they were able to accommodate Overland’s request to transport 13 bicyclists, their bicycles and gear from Dardenelle to Ft Smith.
The accident has stirred talk of the need for a statewide advocacy organization to work on developing safe routes throughout Arkansas. We are working with the people around the state in developing Bike/Walk Arkansas, a statewide organization. See the Bike/Walk Arkansas Facebook page
May is National Bike Month and this year bicyclists in Central Arkansas had lots of activities from which to choose. Bicyclists started out the month with a Bike Bash Dash Scavenger Hunt on May 4h sponsored by Bobby’s Bike and Hike. Starting at the River Market, teams of bicyclists scouted out North Little Rock and Little Rock sites searching for clues. After the scavenger hunt, participants and others enjoyed hanging around the River Market visiting vendor booths.
Meanwhile, across the River, Rev Rock showed bicyclists how to use the fix-it station at the fix-it station under the Main Street Bridge in North Little Rock.
A week later, on May 12th, women cyclists gathered at Two Rivers Park to participate in Cyclofemme. We were part of a global event, 229 rides in 184 cities in 45 states, 21 countries and thousands of women. A diverse group of women participated in the Central Arkansas event, from first time bicyclists to experienced racers, from young children to grandmothers, we all pedaled to share the love of cycling. We all proudly displayed our Cyclofemme tattoos. A more experienced group of cyclists headed out for an 18 mile round trip ride along the River Trail. An intermediate group went out to Pinnacle Valley Road while a large group of about 27 women took a leisurely ride around the interior trails of Two Rivers Park and out to Maumelle Park. The three groups converged at Two Rivers Park to share our adventures and to indulge in the delicious cupcakes supplied by Cobblestone and Vine.. Janice Peters brought yummy pimento cheese sandwiches. Special thanks to Chainwheel who not only provided mechanical support, but provided lots of goodies for a drawing. Women walked away with gift cards, blinkies, lube oil, and other treats. And special, special thanks to the organizers of this terrific event – Lisa Mullis, Chantal Rogers, and Victoria Crumpton. If you’re interested in becoming part of the movement to get more women bicycling, check out Arkansas Heels on Wheels on Facebook. Like it and join regular bike rides with other women. For more information on Cyclofemme, and pictures of the event (thanks Cliff Li), see Cyclofemme Arkansas Facebook page.
On May 15th, local bicyclists joined cyclists around the world in the Ride of Silence. The Ride of Silence honors those bicyclists injured or killed while riding on the public roadways. Bicyclists road two abreast slowly and silently from the new Children’s Library, down the 12th Street bike lane, to the front steps of the State Capitol where the names of those killed the past year were read and honored with a moment of silence.
Ditch the Keys Week, the kickoff to Metroplan’s Ozone Action Alert Days, was May 13-17. The week culminated with Bike to Work Day on May 17th, in celebration of National Bike to Work Day. In conjunction with Bike to Work Day, the Clinton School for Public Service held a public forum on May 16th, “Ditch the Keys: Better Air, Better Bicycling,” focusing on the benefits of bicycling and improving cycling in Central Arkansas. On Friday, May 17th, convoys from around Central Arkansas biked to work. A number of convoys converged on the Rose Garden at the Pulaski County Courthouse for a press conference and then went on to the Capital Hotel where bicyclists were treated to an incredibly scrumptious breakfast. Thank you Capital Hotel!! Participants in Ditch the Keys week events received a button entitling them to discounts at local businesses. Thanks to all our supporters and participants. Let’s make biking to work a regular event! For more information on this year’s Ditch the Keys/Bike to Work Day see Ditch the Keys on Facebook.
The week ended on May 29th with Willa Williams, League Cyclist Instructor extraordinaire, giving a bike maintenance class for women at the Fix-It station on the North Little Rock side of the Big Dam Bridge. Women mastered the art of changing tires, and offered encouragement to each other. Thanks Willa and thanks Arkansas Heels on Wheels for organizing this.
So, this year’s National Bike Month was quite a success. Let’s make next year’s bigger and better. Become involved with BACA, and help promote and improve bicycling in Central Arkansas.
About 25 people braved the threat of rain and participated in this year’s Ride of Silence, sponsored by Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas (BACA) and the Arkansas Bicycle Club (ABC). The event, which is held across the world, honors those bicyclists who have been injured or killed while riding on the roadways. The ride left the new CALS Children’s Library on 10th Street in Little Rock. Bicyclists silently and slowly travelled east on 12th Street using the new bicycle lanes. The ride ended at the main steps of the State Capitol, where cyclists heard the names of those cyclists killed during the past year and stood in a moment of silence.
Cyclists wore a name tag with the name of cyclist killed. A number of participants wore a tag honoring Diane McConnell, an avid local cyclist who was active in ABC and BACA. Linda VanBlaricom and Chris Kupper handed out flowers from Diane’s garden to wear as we carried the memory of Diane and others during the ride.
The Ride of Silence, held during National Bike Month
, aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for and honor the lives of those who have been killed or injured.
Attend this public AHTD meeting on April 18 from 4-7 p.m. and tell them you want bike lanes striped on the repaved section of Highway 10 from Pleasant valley Road to Ferndale Cutoff Road. If you can't attend, public comment cards will be available at the BACA meeting that same evening and online.
Proposed width of the Broadway Bridge pedestrian walkway.
SIGN HERE: https://www.change.org/petitions/the-arkansas-highway-and-transportation-department-ahtd-include-five-foot-bike-lanes-in-the-new-broadway-bridge-plan-3
BACA has joined with the Bicycle Friendly Community Committees of Little Rock and North Little Rock to ask the Mayors of the two cities and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) to put bike lanes on the new Broadway Bridge.
Through discussions with the AHTD, we learned that there is no real likelihood that the bicycle-pedestrian pathway on the new Broadway Bridge will be the width we believe is sufficient to accommodate the various user groups. We have explored the idea of having five foot bike lanes on both sides on the Bridge (northbound and southbound) in addition to the 16 foot bike/ped path.
We recognize that many cyclists accustomed to riding in street traffic will very likely use the shoulders next to the motor vehicle lanes as bike lanes, so we would like the AHTD to design the bridge to accommodate those cyclists safely. While maintaining the current 16’ multi-use path, BACA (Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas), the Little Rock and North Little Rock Bicycle Friendly Community Committees formally ask AHTD for:
1) 5’ bike lanes along the entire length of the project, both northbound and southbound.
2) Modification of the La Harpe off-ramp to decrease exit speeds and the distance of conflict between through bicycle traffic and exiting motor vehicle traffic.
3) Implementation of appropriate traffic engineering (such as striping, bike lane colorization, warning/yield signs) at La Harpe off-ramp to minimize the danger for through cyclists.
4) Installation of a metal railing along the west side of the bridge at a safe height for bicycle traffic.
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION. https://www . change . org/petitions/the-arkansas-highway-and-transportation-department-ahtd-include-five-foot-bike-lanes-in-the-new-broadway-bridge-plan-3
Help spread the word and ask others to sign the petition-- our DEADLINE IS APRIL 20, 2013. Keep up with our Facebook page
and here on the website for updates and more information. REMEMBER: BACA GENERAL MEETING APRIL 18TH, U.S. PIZZA IN HILLCREST, 6:30 P.M.
We have learned that the Highway Department (AHTD) plans on making the multi-use path on the new Broadway Bridge only 16 feet wide. We believe that the proposed width is inadequate to handle the variety of non-vehicular users of the Bridge, including bicyclists, pedestrians, strollers, in-line skaters, and wheelchairs. The original design proposed a 20 foot bike/pedestrian lane and some planners believe that the lane should be at least 24 feet. In addition, some people have expressed concern that the proposed off ramps are dangerous due to high speed. Without adequately wide bike lanes, bicyclists will bike on the vehicular road itself, in the shy zone, subjecting themselves and motorists to a dangerous situation. The AHTD is holding a design public hearing on Thursday, March 28th, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Arkansas Transit Association, 620 West Broadway Street, North Little Rock. Please plan on attending. Review the designs and advocate for wider bike/ped lanes and safer exit ramps on the bridge by filling out the comment card.
On February 26, 2013, BACA sent a letter to Scott Bennett, Director of the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, Jim McKenzie, Executive Director of Metroplan and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola. Copies of the letter were sent to the highway commissioners and Jeremy Lewno, Little Rock's Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator. The letter stated that the section of the River Trail being repaired at North Street and LaHarpe was extremely dangerous, forcing bicyclists to ascend up to Cantrell and make an almost 90-degree turn onto the narrow bridge over the railroad tracks. If the cyclist is unable to make the turn, the cyclist will end up going onto Cantrell, with cars zooming by at 35 to 45 miles an hour.
We requested that Directors Bennett and McKenzie and Mayor Stodola meet with representatives of BACA at the site to show them the dangers and to offer suggestions on how to improve the situation.
Director McKenzie and Mike Fugett, Assistant Chief Engineer of Design with the AHTD, responded quickly to our request. Representatives of BACA along with Director McKenzie and Casey Covington of Metroplan, Mike Fugett, Kim Sanders, James Dean and Steve Mitchell of AHTD, Jeremy Lewno and Jon Honeywell of the City of Little Rock, reviewed the plans and discussed what could be done to improve the hazardous conditions at North Street and LaHarpe Bridge.
The AHTD agreed to widen the path to from the cement pathway now in place to the utility box (see picture) for almost a 14 to 16 foot pathway. The sharp 90-degree turn will be eliminated and the pathway will gently ascend and turn to the east and west onto the five-foot sidewalk before the LaHarpe bridge. The contractors are expected to resume work on Monday, March 11 and complete the work within two weeks.
We discussed the very dangerous situation on the LaHarpe bridge and urged extending the sidewalk to the white line on Cantrell (see picture). Unfortunately that is not part of the AHTD’s current project and it appears that getting the sidewalk widened will require further advocacy work. The AHTD and Metroplan agreed to put reflective posts along the white line on Cantrell to warn motorists to stay out of the “shy zone” and provide some protection to bicyclists riding on the sidewalk. This is a temporary measure and in our mind not sufficient to remedy the dangers associated with riding on the sidewalk.
We appreciate the AHTD and Metroplan responding to our request and listening to our concerns. Dialog is important and we want to continue to work with the AHTD, Metroplan and the cities to improve bicycling in Central Arkansas. However, the response to our concerns that we continue to hear is that the problem with the River Trail in Little Rock will be solved with the proposed trail behind Dillard's. WE CANNOT WAIT. Completion of that trail will take years. In fact, the city apparently has not yet taken action to acquire the land behind Dillard's. More and more people are bicycling and we cannot recommend the use of the LaHarpe/North Street/Episcopal Collegiate School portion of the River Trail as safe. We are currently proposing that the City put up warning signs on that portion of the Trail.
The next BACA meeting will be held April 18 (location to be announced) and our featured speaker will be Jim McKenzie, Executive Director of Metroplan. Metroplan has been supportive of improving bicycle infrastructure in Central Arkansas, and Jim McKenzie has a lot of information about matters of concern to bicyclists. We need to have an especially great turnout of BACA members and supporters to show Jim McKenzie that a large number of Central Arkansas citizens support improvement of bicycle facilities. Stay tuned for more details on the meeting and other BACA activities.
General Membership Meeting
February 7th at 6:30 p.m
Oyster Bar, 3003 W. Markham
There is lots of news for bicyclists. Hear what has been happening of interest to bicyclists in Central Arkansas. Meet the new Little Rock bicycle-pedestrian coordinator, learn of the latest developments concerning bicycling in Central Arkansas, and find out about the new state-wide advocacy organization and what we can do to improve bicycling in the state during this legislative session. Special Program:
Welcome Alan Ley, Bike Bentonville’s director of outreach and advocacy and hear why Bentonville was awarded bronze status as a League of American Bicyclists bicycle friendly community, and what it is doing for bicyclists.
As always there will be good friends and good food. Come see old friends, meet new ones, and help make Central Arkansas bicycle friendly. Get Bike LR and NLR bumper stickers. We hope to see you on February 7th. GET INVOLVED!!
Do you like to ride your bicycle in Central Arkansas? BACA has been working hard for over 10 years to improve opportunities and facilities for bicycling. Let’s keep the momentum going. Please join us in making Central Arkansas bicycle friendly.
Here are some of the volunteer opportunities that are available – we need your help!. If you are interested in helping in any of the following (or in any other way) please e-mail judy email@example.com
or call 501-225-5343. Compensation may be available for some of the activities.
- Staffing tables at events
- Meeting/greeting at meetings
- Writing articles for the newsletter
- Monitoring legislation - national, state, local
- Attending City Council meetings
- Developing promotional/informational materials about BACA/bicycling for distribution
- Developing/producing PSAs for radio and TV
- Serving on the Board of Directors
If you haven’t been to a BACA meeting lately, please come on February 7th and hear about all the new and exciting developments. If you’ve never been to a BACA meeting, please come and learn how you can be part of your local bicycle advocacy movement.
For more information about BACA see: www.bicycleadvocacy.com
and follow us on Facebook
Hope to see you February 7th.
Acting President, Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas
Map to Oyster Bar for those that are new or can't remember. :)
Willa Williams and Bernadette Rhodes from NLR Fit2Live have developed a 3-foot passing law educational campaign
(yard signs, bumper stickers, billboards), which will be launched January 15, 2013
. (See graphics to the left and below)
From Bernadette about the sign design:
"You’ll notice that it includes the NLR and Fit 2 Live logos and lists the Fit 2 Live website. We are going to include information about the NLR Bicycle Friendly Community Committee on the Fit 2 Live website and include a rotating banner on the homepage about the 3-foot campaign. We didn’t want the graphic to become too busy, that’s why it doesn’t say “Bicycle Friendly Community Committee” on the graphic itself."
Also, NLR Fit2Live has purchased more Fix-it stations and the city needs input about where to install them: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DYSGF89
AND, they've purchased 88 (eighty-eight!!) bike racks to install throughout NLR. They're working on a survey and an application for businesses to complete in order to have one installed nearby. Watch for more updates.
From Jeff Caplinger at NLR Parks and Rec.
UNPAVED and NATURAL SURFACE TRAILS - I heard from our work crews this morning - "After a combination Master Naturalist/Burns Park Mountain Bike Group workday, the Red, Green, Blue, White, and Orange Connector trails have all been cleared of downed limbs and are ready for travel! We did not clear the Yellow Trail because it is so wet at the moment. On Saturday while we were working we had all users groups on the trails—bikers, equestrians, joggers, hikers, and dog walkers. This thing is coming together!
AMN plans to work on Pfeifer Loop sometime next week (probably Tuesday or Wednesday). Will let you know when that one is clear. We hear it is a disaster area, but I haven’t looked at it yet."
Thanks to the Central Arkansas Master Naturalists and the Burns Park Mountain Bike Group for the quick trail clean up and look forward to their report on the Yellow and Pfiefer trails.
BIKE REPAIR STATIONS - NLR is to receive three new bike repair stations. Help decide where they need to go by completing the survey shown here:https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DYSGF89