mcheiss

Transportation Projects, Roads, Light Rail, etc

Future Proposed Northwest Arkansas Transportation Projects   101 members have voted

  1. 1. Which Project is the best option for the future of Northwest Arkansas?

    • 10 Stop Light Rail System
      32
    • Western Bypass
      15
    • I-540 Improvements (6 to 8 lanes)
      34
    • Eastern Parkway
      6
    • Regionwide Bus Service
      8
    • Pedestrian Facilities
      1
    • Bicycle Facilities
      4
    • Ride Share Programs
      1

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1223 posts in this topic

Which proposed Transportation Program would you most likely see happening in Northwest Arkansas in the future?

Edited by Mith242

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Which proposed Transportation Program would you most likely see happening in Northwest Arkansas in the future?

Hmmm, that's a tough one. There's stuff I'd like to see but I guess I'd have to stick with what I think should be done first and what is needed the most. That's to widen I-540 to 6-8 lanes. Many of the other plans are very interesting and I hope we get to see some of the others also somewhere in the future. I still like the light rail plan, although I'd hate to put so much into that when I'm not sure how accepted it will be. I also really like the eastern parkway idea also.

Edited by Mith242

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Hmmm, that's a tough one. There's stuff I'd like to see but I guess I'd have to stick with what I think should be done first and what is needed the most. That's to widen I-540 to 6-8 lanes. Many of the other plans are very interesting and I hope we get to see some of the others also somewhere in the future.

Yeah, I should have voted to widen I-540 to 6-8 lanes, but the Light Rail to me was the one I wanted most. Feasably, though, the I-540 improvements are probably what's going to happen first in the future.

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I'm going to hold off my vote until I understand things a little...

Where would the light rail stops be? Where would the western bypass be? The Eastern parkway?

I've always thought it would be nice to have another N-S limited access highway on the east side of things.

East Springdale is a rapidly expanding area. Eastern Fayetteville is growing too. Not so much in eastern Rogers.

But anyway, it would be nice to have 540 split in two and you could go on one side or the other of the cities. A 412 bypass could intersect them in the middle and go out to the airport.

I've been thinking that the university could use a Monorail. I don't know what it is, but I just like monorails. I think it could do kind of a figure 8 and could make getting to football games a lot easier. Just a silly idea but wouldn't that be cool.

Just a thought.

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I'm going to hold off my vote until I understand things a little...

Where would the light rail stops be? Where would the western bypass be? The Eastern parkway?

I've always thought it would be nice to have another N-S limited access highway on the east side of things.

East Springdale is a rapidly expanding area. Eastern Fayetteville is growing too. Not so much in eastern Rogers.

But anyway, it would be nice to have 540 split in two and you could go on one side or the other of the cities. A 412 bypass could intersect them in the middle and go out to the airport.

I've been thinking that the university could use a Monorail. I don't know what it is, but I just like monorails. I think it could do kind of a figure 8 and could make getting to football games a lot easier. Just a silly idea but wouldn't that be cool.

Just a thought.

There are 10 Proposed Light Rail stops including: 1 in Greenland(Why, I don't know?), 1 or 2 in Fayetteville, 1 in Springdale, 1 in Lowell, 2 in Rogers, 1 in Bentonville at Wal-Mart HQ, 1 at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, and another one along the path. It's supposed to cost between $550 Million Dollars and 1.2 Billion. They want to start on it now, because when the time is ready for one, say 15 or so years, it will be too expensive to build one. Basically a giant loop from Greenland up past Bentonville, to the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport and back down. It would run along The Arkansas/Missouri Railroad, and could spark urban development of type around it.

The Western Bypass would start somewhere in Fayetteville, and go west near Siloam Springs I believe, and past the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, and up to the proposed 1-49 Interstate near Arkansas/Missouri Border.

The Eastern Parkway I don't know much about, but I do think It would run along the Eastern part of the Four Cities. My opinion is that I won't happen for a long time because land is too mountainous to develop an interstate or bypass.

As far as the monorail in Fayetteville, I could never see a monorail simply do to the fact of the sheer price-tag on it. But, I could see something in the way of a historical-street car project like Little Rock has Done just on a smaller scale.

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I'm going to hold off my vote until I understand things a little...

Where would the light rail stops be? Where would the western bypass be? The Eastern parkway?

I've always thought it would be nice to have another N-S limited access highway on the east side of things.

East Springdale is a rapidly expanding area. Eastern Fayetteville is growing too. Not so much in eastern Rogers.

But anyway, it would be nice to have 540 split in two and you could go on one side or the other of the cities. A 412 bypass could intersect them in the middle and go out to the airport.

I've been thinking that the university could use a Monorail. I don't know what it is, but I just like monorails. I think it could do kind of a figure 8 and could make getting to football games a lot easier. Just a silly idea but wouldn't that be cool.

Just a thought.

I'm not positive on all the stops. But it would go from Fayetteville(or Greenland) through Springdale to Rogers and to Bentonville then make a loop going west and eventually hit XNA. I also agree on the eastern parkway. But I think that it's more beneficial to Fayetteville and Springdale. I'm not sure how it would work with Rogers because it would be getting pretty close to Beaver Lake. Like I said I really like a number of those ideas, but for now I think widening I-540 is what is needed the most. But I really hope somwe of the other ideas happen also. I'm not sure if I'm real big on the western bypass idea. It would basically be building another I-540 but futher west. Maybe halfway between Springdale and Siloam Springs. I personally think widening I-540 is a better idea. I think some people just really don't like the idea of having I-540 6 or 8 lanes.

Edited by Mith242

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My priorities would be, in order:

1) Widening I-540 to 6 lanes

2) Improvements, more controlled access, and streamlined traffic flow on US 71

3) Long term plans for a new Eastern or Western parallel highway

4) A trolley system around the UA campus and Dickson and the square similar to what exists in Morgantown, WV

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A trolley system around campus and Dickson/Square area really is a good idea. Hopefully someone is considering something like this already.

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Anybody have any thoughts on The Light Rail System or a Regionwide Bus Serivce?

I don't think usage at either would dictate the expense, but that's just me. There's a lot of area to cover and it's fairly sparsely populated for a project of that sort. I don't even think light rail of that sort would work in areas much larger like Nashville or Memphis.

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I don't think usage at either would dictate the expense, but that's just me. There's a lot of area to cover and it's fairly sparsely populated for a project of that sort. I don't even think light rail of that sort would work in areas much larger like Nashville or Memphis.

But say in 15 or 20 years, when the population is a lot bigger, and traffic woe's are worse than ever, along with more businesses, and such.

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Anybody have any thoughts on The Light Rail System or a Regionwide Bus Serivce?

I like the idea of the Light Rail System, but I still have doubts as to whether people will accept it or not. It's a lot of money for something that a lot of people might not use. I also think you'd have to have better bus service for a light rail to also work. Not going to be very useful if I ride it to Rogers and then have to try to walk around traffic say like around the Scottsdale area. So I guess I'm torn on this issue. I'd really like to see it, but would it be better to use the money on another project that is more certain to be used?

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I like the idea of the Light Rail System, but I still have doubts as to whether people will accept it or not. It's a lot of money for something that a lot of people might not use. I also think you'd have to have better bus service for a light rail to also work. Not going to be very useful if I ride it to Rogers and then have to try to walk around traffic say like around the Scottsdale area. So I guess I'm torn on this issue. I'd really like to see it, but would it be better to use the money on another project that is more certain to be used?

To right you are Mith. A regionwide bus service has to be set up first, so that way, if you do travel to Rogers from Fayetteville, you can take a bus ride to the station, hop aboard the light rail, and then get onto a bus to your final destination.

Obviously, people aren't going to participate in using a Light Rail System if proper Transportation Infastructure isn't there.

Edited by mcheiss

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But say in 15 or 20 years, when the population is a lot bigger, and traffic woe's are worse than ever, along with more businesses, and such.

Even then I don't think it will have the population to sustain it, I think we really have to be along the lines of a Charlotte or a Nashville to even start talking about it, not a Little Rock. In Little Rock the buses are lightly used and seldom full, though the Trolley has been a hit thus far (and I think it would be in Fayettenam as well). Bus stops are often too far apart. In DFW where there are 5.5 million people and traffic can be punishing, it seems to work much better.

Dallas has a light rail system similar to what NWA would want to use. To make it worthwhile traffic has to be so bad that you're willing to take a bus to the rail station and walk several blocks downtown to work or if not downtown, take a second bus to work. For me it would triple my commute time and I live in the city proper along a major highway. Mass transit is dominated by the poorer minority population here and it seems to serve them fairly well with frequent bus stops. Thats' the real reason it works here is that many cannot afford cars, not convenience.

The thing that works in NWA's favor is the linear conformation of the cities which would make a single line sufficient. A sizable poor Hispanic population would be willing to use it, I'd bet. The distance involved with the rail line is large and should impair cost efficiency. Furthermore, though, I can tell you the conservative nature of those outside of Fayetteville proper will not lend itself to frivolous spending on something like this. Benton and Wash Cos as a whole would never pass taxes to pay for it.

The people that thought it up clearly aren't realistic, otherwise Greenland wouldn't be considered for a stop. At this point I think it's really a pipedream. Regardless, I think you have to have a large and heavily utilized bus system before light rail becomes a consideration.

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If the 412 bypass goes by the airport it would pretty much eliminate the need for a western bypass. I think the problem most people don't like about going to the airport is going through the small towns on 2 lane roads, getting stuck behind a tractor when their flight is leaving, etc.

But if people could head up 540, then merge on to another highway, just as big, that went to the airport, I don't think there would be a problem.

But right now, I think I'm for 540 improvements. I used to use that road a bunch going back and forth from school sometimes 3 times a day. I remember when they repaved it not too long ago. I was very unhappy they didn't add on another lane each way. It would have been a lot simpler while they already had everything torn up.

But about the monorail. I'm just talking around the university. I don't think it would cost a crazy amount. Well maybe it would. But how much did they spend on that new parking deck? 30 mil? They could put up more parking lots at Baum and monorail people in! Plus it would be a great attraction for the university. Would you rather go to school X with no monorail or school Y with one? Easy decision.

By the way, I rarely say anything that's entirely serious, I don't know if that comes through in the text.

Anybody have any thoughts on The Light Rail System or a Regionwide Bus Serivce?

We already have the Ozark Regional Transport. But it doesn't really go many places. Not really a substitute for driving unless you don't have a car.

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Even then I don\'t think it will have the population to sustain it, I think we really have to be along the lines of a Charlotte or a Nashville to even start talking about it, not a Little Rock. In Little Rock the buses are lightly used and seldom full, though the Trolley has been a hit thus far (and I think it would be in Fayettenam as well). Bus stops are often too far apart. In DFW where there are 5.5 million people and traffic can be punishing, it seems to work much better.

Dallas has a light rail system similar to what NWA would want to use. To make it worthwhile traffic has to be so bad that you\'re willing to take a bus to the rail station and walk several blocks downtown to work or if not downtown, take a second bus to work. For me it would triple my commute time and I live in the city proper along a major highway. Mass transit is dominated by the poorer minority population here and it seems to serve them fairly well with frequent bus stops. Thats\' the real reason it works here is that many cannot afford cars, not convenience.

The thing that works in NWA\'s favor is the linear conformation of the cities which would make a single line sufficient. A sizable poor Hispanic population would be willing to use it, I\'d bet. The distance involved with the rail line is large and should impair cost efficiency. Furthermore, though, I can tell you the conservative nature of those outside of Fayetteville proper will not lend itself to frivolous spending on something like this. Benton and Wash Cos as a whole would never pass taxes to pay for it.

The people that thought it up clearly aren\'t realistic, otherwise Greenland wouldn\'t be considered for a stop. At this point I think it\'s really a pipedream. Regardless, I think you have to have a large and heavily utilized bus system before light rail becomes a consideration.

I think NW Arkansas will have to do something like Nashville is proposing the get light rail going. Nashville is using an existing rail line to convert to a 30 mile long commuter line. This project is under construction and will only cost something like 30 million dollars! They found used rail cars for the project and only had to pay $1, believe it or not. I just don\'t think that there is the political will to spend a billion dollars for light rail in your area. This earlier post details the Nashville project.

Here\'s a rendering of the Riverfront Station. The other five stations on the line have been designed and approved, but as far as I can tell no technical drawings for the Riverfront Station have been finalized--and presently it is the biggest unforseen delay. Things are proceeding however.

riverfront.jpg

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Another aspect about the light rail is that it's not really needed right now. But they want to get it started now because they are worried that in 10 to 20 years from now it will basically be too expensive to ever get done. I guess that also makes it risky in another aspect. True things look pretty good right now and it looks like the population predictions very well could come true. But what if 5 years from now Wal-mart chose to move their hq to Dallas? I don't know if that's likely to happen but that would be a major hit to the area. Like I said before I really like the idea personally but I just am not sure if the idea would catch on or not. I really wish we could have some other alternatives than just widening roads.

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If they didn't go out of their way to make the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport a proposed stop, then I don't think the price tag would be too high on the Light Rail. Since the Arkansas/Missouri Railroad runs along the 4 cities, and doesn't go anywhere near the airport, it would be similar to what Nashville is doing by using an existing line.

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If they didn't go out of their way to make the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport a proposed stop, then I don't think the price tag would be too high on the Light Rail. Since the Arkansas/Missouri Railroad runs along the 4 cities, and doesn't go anywhere near the airport, it would be similar to what Nashville is doing by using an existing line.

Valid point, but I could see many people using it to get to XNA. That way you wouldn't have to bother with parking there. But I wouldn't have any problems with starting a light rail through the main part of the metro. Then if it works out well extend it out to XNA.

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Valid point, but I could see many people using it to get to XNA. That way you wouldn't have to bother with parking there. But I wouldn't have any problems with starting a light rail through the main part of the metro. Then if it works out well extend it out to XNA.

One problem though, Scott Van Laningham, Airport Director, has already stated he does not support Ozark Regional Transit's proposal to provide service to the airport, simply because the airport makes money off of the parking. It's practically the airport's number one source of revenue.

If a light-rail system did come into play, I say that stops such as the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport should not be included, simply because of the sheer amount of cost it would be to build a railroad track an extra 30+ miles from the existing Arkansas/Missouri Railoroad Track to loop around the Airport and back to the meeting place around Lowell or Springdale. Also, who would use the proposed Greenland stop? The current proposal is just not cost-effective, but if they were to tweak it a bit and not build new tracks just to get to the airport, I might just see this plan working in 15 or so years (if current growth projections and economic factors play out).

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One problem though, Scott Van Laningham, Airport Director, has already stated he does not support Ozark Regional Transit's proposal to provide service to the airport, simply because the airport makes money off of the parking. It's practically the airport's number one source of revenue.

If a light-rail system did come into play, I say that stops such as the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport should not be included, simply because of the sheer amount of cost it would be to build a railroad track an extra 30+ miles from the existing Arkansas/Missouri Railoroad Track to loop around the Airport and back to the meeting place around Lowell or Springdale. Also, who would use the proposed Greenland stop? The current proposal is just not cost-effective, but if they were to tweak it a bit and not build new tracks just to get to the airport, I might just see this plan working in 15 or so years (if current growth projections and economic factors play out).

I guess I can see that. But they really need to get a better road into the airport. I think that is the one negative aspect about XNA. But I agree with you on Greenland. Sure maybe one day into the future a Greenland stop could be useful but I certainly don't see this anytime soon. I think there could be other locations in Benton County that would be needed more than Greenland. But yes it would be nice if they'd reconsider and scale it down a bit and have it running basically between Fayetteville, Springdale and Rogers/Bentonville. I wonder how that would affect costs.

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I guess I can see that. But they really need to get a better road into the airport. I think that is the one negative aspect about XNA. But I agree with you on Greenland. Sure maybe one day into the future a Greenland stop could be useful but I certainly don't see this anytime soon. I think there could be other locations in Benton County that would be needed more than Greenland. But yes it would be nice if they'd reconsider and scale it down a bit and have it running basically between Fayetteville, Springdale and Rogers/Bentonville. I wonder how that would affect costs.

They actually are creating an access road to the airport. It's supposed to be a 4 lane bypass of somewhat that is going to connect onto the 412 Bypass. They say it will probably be completed in 2009 or so. I agree though. I hate taking Southwest Regional Airport Road through Centerton and seeing cows and such. I really don't feel like I'm in Wal-Mart land, but more like 20 years ago. Plus there are so many curves and such. It is one thing holding back the airport for development though. I agree that other locations in Fayetteville and Benton County would be need for the proposed light rail.

It practically costs millions of dollars for a mile of railroad track these days. I remember that the airport wanted to extend the railroad from Gentry to it's facility so they could attract a "Super Project" to the airport and it was somewhere around $5-10 Million for 7 miles of track!!!

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Also, could anybody see more urban dwelling projects happening along this route If the light rail was to be made?

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I chose light rail, although I admit the expansion of i-540 would be more realistic.

I do think that urban developments would be built along the light rail, if it were ever to be built.

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I think Mith is dead on about a better road out to XNA being needed, preferably a 4-lane controlled access road. Frankly, it should've been built when the airport was constructed.

I still think the point everyone is missing about light rail is that you really need an extensive bus system connected to it to make it work. Ozark Regional Transit would have to be remade and demand would have to increase 20-fold or more to make that palatable.

As for development along the light rail route, I think it depends on where the rail line runs. A large station near campus or Dickson in Fayetteville could be transformed into an urban village akin to Mockingbird Station in Dallas, which has shopping, restaurants, a theater, gym, and tons of loft apartments. I could even see this concept working on a less grand scale in Benton Co at one station if you could get it in the middle of town somewhere. Again, though, I think light rail would be a tremendous boondoggle in NWA.

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