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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johnnydr87    1

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.

True....a light rail project would be much more feasible in Little rock.... but that's never going to happen!

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Aporkalypse    1

True....a light rail project would be much more feasible in Little rock.... but that's never going to happen!

If they had room to widen Central quite a bit I could see a Trolley system in Hot Springs but there's just no room to do it and you certainly can't impede traffic any more on that congested roadway.

People in NWA and Little Rock whine about traffic but I can tell you that Central Ave in Hot Springs and Harkrider in Conway are far and away the most congested roads in Arkansas.

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mcheiss    1

The Light Rail system would probably work better if it did go through the center of all of the cities, but condos, and mixed-use projects would develop anywhere the system would be. If they did follow the proposed route along the Arkansas/Missouri Railroad, I think places like eastern Rogers, and Benton County would be developing just as much as Western Rogers.

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Arkansawyer    0

I'm with Aporkalypse on this. As cool as it may be to imagine a light rail system in Northwest Arkansas, there simply isn't a need for one. Only very big metros have a population that relies on public transit. Northwest Arkansas is growing very fast, but that doesn't mean it can support or needs light rail; it's still a small metro area. In fact, its very nature as a sprawling, low-density region makes light rail even more unfeasible. Mass transit is used as an alternative to driving, and most families in largely suburban areas, which Northwest Arkansas is, have cars, and most of them have multiple cars. As has already been mentioned, mass transit only works if it is an easier or better form of transportation than driving an automobile. It's like a business; it will only work if it makes business sense. Couple the lack of need, plus the tremendous expense of constructing and operating such a system, and it's really an absurd idea. What Northwest Arkansas does need are better roads, for less congested traffic. It's that simple.

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mcheiss    1

I agree. I know that more than likely better roads and widening the Interstate to 3 or 4 lanes is the best option and is desperately needed if Northwest Arkansas wants to continue with growth.

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mcheiss    1

What about a communter bus running from Fayetteville through Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville?

Apparently officials at Ozark Regional Transit want to try out the idea.

Edited by mcheiss

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Aporkalypse    1

I agree. I know that more than likely better roads and widening the Interstate to 3 or 4 lanes is the best option and is desperately needed if Northwest Arkansas wants to continue with growth

What about a communter bus running from Fayetteville through Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville?

Or how about a Western Bypass?

Improvements to connecting roads along I-540?

I think every single one of these ideas needs to happen within the next decade.

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mcheiss    1

I think every single one of these ideas needs to happen within the next decade.

I agree.

Some of these projects such as the Interstate widening and such should already be complete.

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Mith242    69

I think every single one of these ideas needs to happen within the next decade.

Maybe so, but they won't. I'd be surprised if even one of these projects will be done in a decade. Arkansas is pretty bad about being rather slow in projects like these. How long did it take for I-540, 20 years?

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mcheiss    1

Maybe so, but they won't. I'd be surprised if even one of these projects will be done in a decade. Arkansas is pretty bad about being rather slow in projects like these. How long did it take for I-540, 20 years?

I could see more bus usage in Northwest Arkansas and the Interstate widening. That's pretty much it, but you never know about something like the Light Rail.

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Mith242    69

Like I said before I'd really like to see most of these get done. But first I do think they need to focus on getting I-540 the main corridor here widened and then go from there. There's no risk because it's already the main corridor here in northwest Arkansas. Then I'd like to see some of these other projects get done. If they'd ever get the 412 bypass done and then put in an eastern bypass you'd have a nice quality road circling the Washington County portion of the metro. But as I believe I stated before I'm not sure how well a eastern parkway would do in Benton County. Wouldn't that be getting rather close to Beaver Lake? I think the topography and the cost of land around there might hamper any type of road in that area. Not to mention all the mad homeowners near Beaver Lake. I'm not sure how well I like the western bypass idea. I don't really have anything against it but I would like to see most of the growth stay in northwest Arkansas. I think a western bypass might eventually help push growth into the Oklahoma area. I'd like to see this area grow also but not at Arkansas' expense.

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mcheiss    1

Like I said before I'd really like to see most of these get done. But first I do think they need to focus on getting I-540 the main corridor here widened and then go from there. There's no risk because it's already the main corridor here in northwest Arkansas. Then I'd like to see some of these other projects get done. If they'd ever get the 412 bypass done and then put in an eastern bypass you'd have a nice quality road circling the Washington County portion of the metro. But as I believe I stated before I'm not sure how well a eastern parkway would do in Benton County. Wouldn't that be getting rather close to Beaver Lake? I think the topography and the cost of land around there might hamper any type of road in that area. Not to mention all the mad homeowners near Beaver Lake. I'm not sure how well I like the western bypass idea. I don't really have anything against it but I would like to see most of the growth stay in northwest Arkansas. I think a western bypass might eventually help push growth into the Oklahoma area. I'd like to see this area grow also but not at Arkansas' expense.

True, the Eastern Parkway in Washington County would be a big success, but up here in Benton County it the topography is a little more rugged along with the lake and those angry homeowners.

Edited by mcheiss

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mcheiss    1

In case anyone wants any more information about the proposed Light Rail in Northwest Arkansas, I found a website dedicated to it.

www.nwa-lrts.org

Edited by mcheiss

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lefty    0

As much as I like the idea of this Greenway thing, I still think it would be kind of silly right now. Sure, we might need this sort of thing 20 years in the future. And maybe now is the best time to have it already in place for the future. From a planning perpective, it's a great idea. But from an economic perspective, it's horrible. The thing would cost a ton of money, and then lose even more money for probably the first 15 years it ran.

All this time, we would have just spent a bazzilion dollars on a train and we wouldn't have any money for much needed road improvements.

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mcheiss    1

As much as I like the idea of this Greenway thing, I still think it would be kind of silly right now. Sure, we might need this sort of thing 20 years in the future. And maybe now is the best time to have it already in place for the future. From a planning perpective, it's a great idea. But from an economic perspective, it's horrible. The thing would cost a ton of money, and then lose even more money for probably the first 15 years it ran.

All this time, we would have just spent a bazzilion dollars on a train and we wouldn't have any money for much needed road improvements.

I agree, that's why I propose they tweak the plan for the light rail, like what they did in Nashville. Instead of adding on track and and right of way for land, all they did was use existing railroads, buy the light rail cars, install a third rail, and train stations and such. Believe it or not, it would be more feasable, since the existing Arkansas/Missouri Railroad runs along the 4 cities anyway, to not build 41 miles of track and right of way. It only cost Nashville around $30 Million or so. So think about it, if we tweaked the plan, and spent, at the most around $100 million, instead of $1.2 Billion, it would be a great asset to the community.

Otherwise, if they don't change the plan, the I agree with you that it is a waste of money (in terms of economic perspective), and that that money could be otherwise used on better road and infastructure projects.

I love this topic!!!

:D

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lefty    0

Well, using existing track would be an excellent idea. But the first question that comes to mind is what about existing Ark/Mo Railroad traffic? It's not like that line is not used.

Would the Greenway have to hide on a seperate portion of track while the Ark/Mo trains went through? I don't know how often trains come through right now, but I assume it's something like twice a day.

The route would work well. The existing lines go right by areas like Dickson street, Emma (downtown Springdale). But also go by areas like the Springdale chicken plants. I'm not sure if people would want to go by those things.

Plus, people already hate waiting for trains now. There's a lot of roads that don't need to be tied up by rail traffic every hour.

Edited by lefty

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mcheiss    1

Well, using existing track would be an excellent idea. But the first question that comes to mind is what about existing Ark/Mo Railroad traffic? It's not like that line is not used.

Would the Greenway have to hide on a seperate portion of track while the Ark/Mo trains went through? I don't know how often trains come through right now, but I assume it's something like twice a day.

The route would work well. The existing lines go right by areas like Dickson street, Emma (downtown Springdale). But also go by areas like the Springdale chicken plants. I'm not sure if people would want to go by those things.

Plus, people already hate waiting for trains now. There's a lot of roads that don't need to be tied up by rail traffic every hour.

The Greenway would work in Cooperation with trains coming through. Kind of like in Washington D.C., when commuter trains go through the route of the MetroRail.

And who knows, if that land become valuable out by Springdale in the chicken plants, those plants may sell their land, and multi-use functions could be built along that route. As soon as a project like that is confirmed and construction starts, that land will be worth a lot.

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Mith242    69

I also tend to agree with most of the points raised. I really like the idea of providing an alternative transportation. But it is a lot of money to spend on something that may not be used. As opposed to improving and widening roads that we know are used. But I really do hope that we simply don't become another version of California with huge freeways all over the place. I would like for there to be alternatives to try to get at least some of the people out of their vehicles. Overall I don't think the A&M railroad is used a whole lot. And some of the trains that go through are the tourist trains heading down to Van Buren. And the trains that do go through tend to be small as opposed to trains I've seen in many other areas. But depending on how often a light rail was ran it would cause more traffic problems along the roads near the tracks. But I wouldn't think it would be very long and would hamper things too badly. But I do agree that they should rethink their ideas and at least start off with a different cheaper and more feasible plan. If it works out well they can always try to add more in the future.

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lefty    0

Well, I asked somebody that lives by the track in fayetteville how often trains come through. Apparantly a train comes through about once every other day.

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Mith242    69

Well, I asked somebody that lives by the track in fayetteville how often trains come through. Apparantly a train comes through about once every other day.

I think it picks up on weekends, when the tourist trains tend to run, but still it's not too often. So I'm not sure if any of this would affect a light rail running on the same track too much.

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mcheiss    1

Well, looks like Ozark Regional Transit has added two more fixed routes.

They started yesterday in Fayetteville and Rogers.

The Rogers route goes along the southern portion of the city, and the Fayetteville route goes through Hillcrest Towers and The Northwest Arkansas Mall.

Also, the routes seem to be picking up a lot of interest. They now average around 28 riders a day on each route with a total of now 6 fixed routes.

I know numbers aren't as high as Little Rock's bus system or even Razorback Transit, but it's still showing a sign that maybe a bus system could work in the area.

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Mith242    69

Well, looks like Ozark Regional Transit has added two more fixed routes.

They started yesterday in Fayetteville and Rogers.

The Rogers route goes along the southern portion of the city, and the Fayetteville route goes through Hillcrest Towers and The Northwest Arkansas Mall.

Also, the routes seem to be picking up a lot of interest. They now average around 28 riders a day on each route with a total of now 6 fixed routes.

I know numbers aren't as high as Little Rock's bus system or even Razorback Transit, but it's still showing a sign that maybe a bus system could work in the area.

I wonder if they could ever work out some deal between Ozark Regional and Razorback or perhaps even merge them. I guess it's not as big of a deal elsewhere in northwest Arkansas but here in Fayetteville I think they sometimes tend to hurt each other somewhat.

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mcheiss    1

I wonder if they could ever work out some deal between Ozark Regional and Razorback or perhaps even merge them. I guess it's not as big of a deal elsewhere in northwest Arkansas but here in Fayetteville I think they sometimes tend to hurt each other somewhat.

That was actually going to be my next post.

Beat me to it!!!

But true, if they did work together, less money would have to be spent on them, and they could really start to get a true bus system in the area going.

Edited by mcheiss

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Mith242    69

That was actually going to be my next post.

Beat me to it!!!

But true, if they did work together, less money would have to be spent on them, and they could really start to get a true bus system in the area going.

I agree with you there. I don't know if it would affect the rest of northwest Arkansas quite so much but I think it would work much better in Fayetteville with just one bus system. At least you wouldn't have two different bus services competing for federal funds and could get more accomplished.

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