Potential Bike Lanes On South Main Street Spark Debate

Jun 18, 2013

Credit In Arkansas

The City of Little Rock is holding a meeting Thursday to consider reducing the number of lanes on South Main Street to add bike lanes and calm traffic. 

Cycling enthusiasts are not the only ones interested in the potential bike lanes.  Residents and officials are on both sides of the debate are speaking up on the issue.

Bud Laumer is an instructor with the League of American Bicyclists and professor of sustainable land use planning and transportation at UCA.

While he’s not involved in the decision making process, he says roads are being reduced for the benefit of the community, not just the cyclists.

"What people on Main Street are trying to do is redesign that road way to accommodate those businesses on both sides and the neighborhoods behind them, without terribly inconveniencing anyone on the street" said Laumer. 

On the other hand, some say adding bike lanes is not a good idea, including City Board Director Erma Hendrix, who doesn’t agree with the way decisions are being made. She feels they do not reflect the desires of those in the community South Main runs through, just south of interstate 630.

"My concern for Main Street, as a city director, I was not notified that this was even about to happen. Of course, the Mayor says that's his prerogative but I don't think so. I think that Ward 1 residents should be as informed as the wards in the West of the city and that to me is discrimination," said Hendrix. 

John Honeywell, Director of Public Works for Little Rock, says the changes are coming in response to the request for decreasing traffic.

The question is a complicated one, taking into account matters of public safety, urban city design, and other systemic issues. The meeting is being held at the Rufus K Young Christina Church on South Main Street, Thursday evening at 6:30.