Community and business leaders in Conway, Arkansas are hoping to make that city the state’s first Bicycle-Friendly Community, and their efforts are beginning to gain momentum:
The first meeting of the Mayor’s Bicycle-Friendly Community Task Force took place Tuesday, with representatives from major educational institutions and city departments beginning an inventory of the city’s existing bicycle infrastructure and looking to identify likely bicycle routes to make two-wheeled, pedal-powered transport a more viable point-to-point option for local students and workers.
Another recently formed group, Conway Advocates for Bicycling (CAB), holds regular meetings open to anyone wishing to discuss the current and future state of bicycling in Conway.
Dr. Peter Mehl, assistant dean of the University of Central Arkansas College of Liberal Arts and active member of CAB, said that organization members are looking at possible bike routes and working with the Conway Street Department to form a master bike plan.
Other CAB projects in the works include a system by which bicycles could be “checked out” from one or more locations in the city.
All of this will be incorporated into the city’s two-step Bicycle-Friendly Community application, the first part of which Mehl said could be ready for submission to the League of American Bicyclists early next year.
Funds for these projects are available immediately. The Conway City Council has voted to dedicate $70,000 in funds gathered through a one-time state turnback and back franchise fees from Centerpoint Energy to the bicycle-friendly initiative. The council has also voted to dedicate 100 percent of the city’s anticipated natural gas severance tax proceeds to fund bicycle-friendly measures.
Initially, the few dedicated bicycle paths and the addition of painted bicycle lanes on existing streets will be the city’s best effort at creating a bicycle-friendly community due to budgetary constraints, Townsell said, but as the natural course of anticipated growth necessitates that streets be widened, more and more streets can be augmented with adequately wide bicycle lanes or dedicated bicycle trails running alongside the street.
Such engineering measures as bike lanes and trails constitute only one of the “five ‘E’s” the city is required to address in the application. City and civil groups are also planning bicycle-related education, enforcement, encouragement and evaluation measures and programs.
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Post tags: Bicycle Friendly