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Transportation Projects, Roads, Light Rail, etc


mcheiss

Future Proposed Northwest Arkansas Transportation Projects  

103 members have voted

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

    • 10 Stop Light Rail System
      33
    • Western Bypass
      15
    • I-540 Improvements (6 to 8 lanes)
      35
    • Eastern Parkway
      6
    • Regionwide Bus Service
      8
    • Pedestrian Facilities
      1
    • Bicycle Facilities
      4
    • Ride Share Programs
      1


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Here we go, 6:30 apparently. Here's a link to the library's site that has more details.

http://www.faylib.org/events/press_release...?ann=light-rail

While I was looking around I saw something else I don't think I'd heard. Sounds like Fayetteville is going to start applying for Federal money to look into doing a more detailed study into light rail and other alternative forms of transportation.

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I read something in the editorial page of the Ark Dem Gaz today. I was a little surprised to see it come from radio broadcaster from central Arkansas. But basically to boil it down. He mentions that some of the NWA cities are looking into possibly taking the AHTD to court over how funds are distributed across the state for road projects. Something I haven't heard before. I'm sure a lot of us in NWA already feel that our road situation isn't being 'taken care of'. The state seems to put a lot of emphasis on rural funding of roads. And with the other major Arkansas metro being the capitol of the state, they seem to find ways to make sure most of their needs are met. I wonder if this is a preliminary move before the 2010 census. As I mentioned before, our urban core is expected to surpass 200,000 and would give us more leverage on our federal funding for transportation. But I guess I was still a little surprised to hear NWA might possibly try to take the AHTD to court.

Although even if NWA does manage to gain more control of transportation issues. I still wonder how things will work out between NWA cities. Fayetteville's goals seem to differ from most of the other NWA cities. I think most of the other NWA cities, particularly in Benton County really like the western beltway idea. Where as Fayetteville seems to really like the light rail idea. I believe a couple of NWA cities have already expressed a lack of interest in the light rail concept. Although it would still be nice if more of the decisions were made in NWA and not in another part of the state.

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Personally, I like both ideas. In the long run, I'd like to see a multilane loop looping through Fayetteville, Farmington, Prairie Grove, Lincoln, Siloam Springs, Pea Ridge, Rogers, and Springdale. But in the long run, I'd like to see a light rail connecting Fayetteville, Farmington, Springdale, Lowell, Rogers, and Bentonville.

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I read something in the editorial page of the Ark Dem Gaz today. I was a little surprised to see it come from radio broadcaster from central Arkansas. But basically to boil it down. He mentions that some of the NWA cities are looking into possibly taking the AHTD to court over how funds are distributed across the state for road projects. Something I haven't heard before. I'm sure a lot of us in NWA already feel that our road situation isn't being 'taken care of'. The state seems to put a lot of emphasis on rural funding of roads. And with the other major Arkansas metro being the capitol of the state, they seem to find ways to make sure most of their needs are met. I wonder if this is a preliminary move before the 2010 census. As I mentioned before, our urban core is expected to surpass 200,000 and would give us more leverage on our federal funding for transportation. But I guess I was still a little surprised to hear NWA might possibly try to take the AHTD to court.

Although even if NWA does manage to gain more control of transportation issues. I still wonder how things will work out between NWA cities. Fayetteville's goals seem to differ from most of the other NWA cities. I think most of the other NWA cities, particularly in Benton County really like the western beltway idea. Where as Fayetteville seems to really like the light rail idea. I believe a couple of NWA cities have already expressed a lack of interest in the light rail concept. Although it would still be nice if more of the decisions were made in NWA and not in another part of the state.

A lawsuit is an interesting idea- it is being compared to the Lake View school suit that changed how the public schools are funded. Evidently it is an idea that is in search of plantiffs to move it forward. It would be aimed at the independent Highway Commission and not the Highway Department. Just the threat of a long drawn out court battle like Lake View may lead to some changes- a need based formula for distribution of funds is needed.

The urban areas of Central Arkansas and Northwest Arkansas are the economic development centers that are providing most of the new jobs that Arkansas has seen the last decade. It has been established that the rural areas are losing population to the urban areas and the 2010 census will show this clearly. It might even be better to wait until the new populaiton figures are out in order to make a stronger case for change. The changes in the legislature that will occur because of the census will be a benefit also- it is possible to change the role of the Commission through legislative action.

The ADG columnist that wrote that piece is a long time Central Arkansas advocate- why he felt the need to try and make this a NWA only issue is unknown. Central Arkansas has many needs that a funding change would help. The I430/I630 interchange, I630/I30 interchange, the North Belt Freeway and widening I40 to 6 lanes all the way to Conway are just a few of the projects that are needed. Changing the distribution formula along with increasing revenue will help both urban areas and if there has ever been a time when cooperation is needed this is it.

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A lawsuit is an interesting idea- it is being compared to the Lake View school suit that changed how the public schools are funded. Evidently it is an idea that is in search of plaintiffs to move it forward. It would be aimed at the independent Highway Commission and not the Highway Department. Just the threat of a long drawn out court battle like Lake View may lead to some changes- a need based formula for distribution of funds is needed.

The urban areas of Central Arkansas and Northwest Arkansas are the economic development centers that are providing most of the new jobs that Arkansas has seen the last decade. It has been established that the rural areas are losing population to the urban areas and the 2010 census will show this clearly. It might even be better to wait until the new population figures are out in order to make a stronger case for change. The changes in the legislature that will occur because of the census will be a benefit also- it is possible to change the role of the Commission through legislative action.

The ADG columnist that wrote that piece is a long time Central Arkansas advocate- why he felt the need to try and make this a NWA only issue is unknown. Central Arkansas has many needs that a funding change would help. The I430/I630 interchange, I630/I30 interchange, the North Belt Freeway and widening I40 to 6 lanes all the way to Conway are just a few of the projects that are needed. Changing the distribution formula along with increasing revenue will help both urban areas and if there has ever been a time when cooperation is needed this is it.

Yeah he even said something about NWA was even willing to take this position because it would benefit central Arkansas as well. :D But like you, I was just wondering why he wrote the article like he did, focusing on NWA so much rather than central Arkansas. But overall it all goes back to despite differences between NWA and central Arkansas. It would be best if both worked together to make changes in the state.

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I was wondering about that as well. I can assure you that Central Arkansas is not getting nearly as much as they ought either. When both area pick up seats after the next census we will probably see much more of an impact. I have a feeling that there will be a lot of supporters for the defendant in the case. : (

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I was wondering about that as well. I can assure you that Central Arkansas is not getting nearly as much as they ought either. When both area pick up seats after the next census we will probably see much more of an impact. I have a feeling that there will be a lot of supporters for the defendant in the case. : (

Yeah- the state is still very rural so the legislature is majority made up of representatives from rural districts and they will fight to keep the status quo. Convincing them that it is in their long term best interests to ensure that the urban areas that are producing the jobs and tax money continue to do so is essential. Letting the urban areas strangle on their own traffic problems will benefit no one. I don't know if that is an argument for a court case but it is common sense reasoning.

Edited by zman9810
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Unfortunately I didn't know about a ward meeting that dealt with the Garland Ave issue. I still find it interesting that so many people want the tree lined median and I haven't heard any people complain about how a median might make be an inconvenience to some in making left hand turns. Just seems usually you have at least a few people complain.

http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2009/07/...09fzgarland.txt

You can also fill out a survey telling everyone what you want done on Garland Ave.

http://tr.im/garland

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Unfortunately I didn't know about a ward meeting that dealt with the Garland Ave issue. I still find it interesting that so many people want the tree lined median and I haven't heard any people complain about how a median might make be an inconvenience to some in making left hand turns. Just seems usually you have at least a few people complain.

http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2009/07/...09fzgarland.txt

You can also fill out a survey telling everyone what you want done on Garland Ave.

http://tr.im/garland

Thanks for that survey link- that is a great idea by the city. When the median option was first announced I thought it was a final decision that the state highway department had signed off on. Considering the amount of money the city is putting in compared to what the state is and the fact that it is a city street, I assumed the city and the public would receive consideration of what they chose. There are lots of good reasons to include a median and, like you say, little opposition to it.

The article mentions that more participation at the state level meetings is needed but doesn't say if there will be another state meeting. I think if there is another meeting that is well publicized three would be more people show up- especially if it's one of the normal state highway department meetings where you go in a several hour window and view plans and leave your comments.

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Thanks for that survey link- that is a great idea by the city. When the median option was first announced I thought it was a final decision that the state highway department had signed off on. Considering the amount of money the city is putting in compared to what the state is and the fact that it is a city street, I assumed the city and the public would receive consideration of what they chose. There are lots of good reasons to include a median and, like you say, little opposition to it.

The article mentions that more participation at the state level meetings is needed but doesn't say if there will be another state meeting. I think if there is another meeting that is well publicized three would be more people show up- especially if it's one of the normal state highway department meetings where you go in a several hour window and view plans and leave your comments.

I agree, I think part of the problem is that most people don't know when these meetings are. I also got the impression from the article (or maybe another one I've read during the day) is that this isn't a done deal with the AHTD. I believe one city official has stated that the city has managed to go back in a situation like this and make some sort of compromise with the AHTD. It may not be exactly what people want but could be something better than the proposal from the AHTD. I think one thing pointed out from an AHTD official was that there just wasn't enough room to make the entire length with a tree lined median. If that were going to be the case more houses might have to come down and also make things more expensive. Not to mention the owners of those houses probably are going to suddenly be against this. But as I said before hopefully some sort of compromise can be made. Perhaps not a total tree lined median but more than just some 'refuge islands'. I never really expected there to be a median from North St to say around Mt Comfort anyway. But hopefully the AHTD will realize there really seems to be a lot of people who want a tree lined median. That and I haven't anyone complain about the median idea like you generally hear. There were people complaining about putting in bike lanes on the Crossover widening that they were discussing last year.

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I agree, I think part of the problem is that most people don't know when these meetings are. I also got the impression from the article (or maybe another one I've read during the day) is that this isn't a done deal with the AHTD. I believe one city official has stated that the city has managed to go back in a situation like this and make some sort of compromise with the AHTD. It may not be exactly what people want but could be something better than the proposal from the AHTD. I think one thing pointed out from an AHTD official was that there just wasn't enough room to make the entire length with a tree lined median. If that were going to be the case more houses might have to come down and also make things more expensive. Not to mention the owners of those houses probably are going to suddenly be against this. But as I said before hopefully some sort of compromise can be made. Perhaps not a total tree lined median but more than just some 'refuge islands'. I never really expected there to be a median from North St to say around Mt Comfort anyway. But hopefully the AHTD will realize there really seems to be a lot of people who want a tree lined median. That and I haven't anyone complain about the median idea like you generally hear. There were people complaining about putting in bike lanes on the Crossover widening that they were discussing last year.

I think I read that that was our former mayor Dan Coody talking about his dealings with the highway department- good to see he is still involved with the community.

I think the best case that can be made to the highway department is that the median isn't just for aesthetics but is a major safety feature. It will cut down on the number of dangerous left hand turns across two lanes of traffic. As you mentioned there shouldn't be one between North and the new Mt. Comfort intersection and also not between Sycamore and Deane as the turn lanes between those streets would be too long for a median but along the rest of it a median will help traffic movement.

It is ironic that the very reason for having a median is seen by the highway department as a reason to not have one. Because there are a large number of access points not having a median decreases the safety and smooth flow of traffic- you can go to any large city and see where medians are used to control the amount of cross traffic for that very reason. The local drivers who need to go the opposite direction of their lane can circle around to one of the connecting streets such as Sycamore or Mt. Comfort to access Garland at a traffic light - in time they will learn the best way with no problems.

Edited by zman9810
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I think I read that that was our former mayor Dan Coody talking about his dealings with the highway department- good to see he is still involved with the community.

I think the best case that can be made to the highway department is that the median isn't just for aesthetics but is a major safety feature. It will cut down on the number of dangerous left hand turns across two lanes of traffic. As you mentioned there shouldn't be one between North and the new Mt. Comfort intersection and also not between Sycamore and Deane as the turn lanes between those streets would be too long for a median but along the rest of it a median will help traffic movement.

It is ironic that the very reason for having a median is seen by the highway department as a reason to not have one. Because there are a large number of access points not having a median decreases the safety and smooth flow of traffic- you can go to any large city and see where medians are used to control the amount of cross traffic for that very reason. The local drivers who need to go the opposite direction of their lane can circle around to one of the connecting streets such as Sycamore or Mt. Comfort to access Garland at a traffic light - in time they will learn the best way with no problems.

Yeah Coody still gets around. :D I do agree with you that it might take people a little time to get used to not being able to take left hand turns at some areas and will work their way around and get used to it. I still think a big thing to mention is that nobody's been complaining about that. I guess I just find that amazing that so far there haven't been a vocal group complaining about how they're going to have to take an extra minute of their time to get around to their location. If even the local homeowners are wanting a median, just seems like the AHTD should listen and realize this shouldn't be the typical 5 lane swath of asphalt.

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Any word on what they are going to do with Garland?

No, I believe this is going to go on for a while longer. The AHTD gave their recommendation, but I don't think any plan will officially be accepted till later this year. I imagine with the city trying to compromise with AHTD will also prolong the whole thing as well. Who knows when the actual construction will begin. But I was thinking I had heard that the AHTD was going to look over the project again sometime this Fall. If the city agreed with AHTD's plan it would probably be finalized then and bids would be put out and a construction date set. But since the city isn't agreeing with the plan I guess things will keep going a while before a compromise is made at some point. But with the city paying a big chunk of the money for this project and so many people against AHTD's plan I don't know if the city will give in easily without some sort of compromise. I guess it's either or AHTD could simply just put things off and make Fayetteville have to deal with the way it is now for a long period. With that section of Garland being a state highway the city can't really move forward without AHTD if I understand correctly.

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Any word on what they are going to do with Garland?

Here's a good article describing everything going on. Mayor Jordan is going to go down to Little Rock and make a proposal of an 'intermediate' median. Apparently there's a bit of a rush. The city loses out on state money if the project is decided by this October. But it also sounds like the AHTD is denying that they are refusing any idea. But they do not 'recomend' a continuous median, although I believe what people were proposing wasn't totally continuous. As strongly as people have made this an issue I think the city will be able to talk the AHTD into something more than just the refuge islands. But the city has to do something quickly or lose out on $1.5 Mil of the state's money.

http://www.nwanews.com/nwat/News/78419/

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Here's a good article describing everything going on. Mayor Jordan is going to go down to Little Rock and make a proposal of an 'intermediate' median. Apparently there's a bit of a rush. The city loses out on state money if the project is decided by this October. But it also sounds like the AHTD is denying that they are refusing any idea. But they do not 'recomend' a continuous median, although I believe what people were proposing wasn't totally continuous. As strongly as people have made this an issue I think the city will be able to talk the AHTD into something more than just the refuge islands. But the city has to do something quickly or lose out on $1.5 Mil of the state's money.

http://www.nwanews.com/nwat/News/78419/

It sounds like to me the state is open to a median, but Jordan isn't pushing it hard enough.

When you are committing five million out of 6.5 million total for improvements on a STATE highway, you have a lot of leverage. And apparently Jordan doesn't understand that, and is going to get forced into something the people of Fayetteville don't want (again, despite the fact they are paying for it).

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It sounds like to me the state is open to a median, but Jordan isn't pushing it hard enough.

When you are committing five million out of 6.5 million total for improvements on a STATE highway, you have a lot of leverage. And apparently Jordan doesn't understand that, and is going to get forced into something the people of Fayetteville don't want (again, despite the fact they are paying for it).

I think there also may be some concern about the working relationship between Fayetteville and the AHTD. Earlier in the year the AHTD sorta complained about having to work with Fayetteville on projects. Also while Fayetteville does have leverage Fayetteville also wants the road done in the near future. Sure the AHTD could eventually get around to doing the road themselves, but the city would probably have to wait another decade. I also just wonder if there's some 'disconnect' between Fayetteville and the AHTD. I think Fayetteville tends to think outside the box while the AHTD prefers to stick to the usual road construction techniques.

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Apparently there was a poll out asking people if they'd support more taxes to help pay for public transportation. People in Benton and Washington Counties said they'd support it. Although I don't think the poll specified a specific form of public transportation. Not sure if some people might change their mind if a specified form of public transportation was selected. But still good to see overall there seems to be support in general.

http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2009/07/...onaltransit.txt

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Guess that article I had read last week about Garland was a bit premature. The City Council approved the plan last night and now Mayor Jordan is down in Little Rock with the plan. It's sounding more and more like the AHTD isn't really dead set against the plan. It may not be what they would recommend but if the city is set on it I think they'll work with the city. Either allowing this plan or moving to a plan much closer to it.

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Guess that article I had read last week about Garland was a bit premature. The City Council approved the plan last night and now Mayor Jordan is down in Little Rock with the plan. It's sounding more and more like the AHTD isn't really dead set against the plan. It may not be what they would recommend but if the city is set on it I think they'll work with the city. Either allowing this plan or moving to a plan much closer to it.

Seems like there was more going on behind the scenes than the public knew about- either that or the parties involved have very bad communication skills.

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Guess that article I had read last week about Garland was a bit premature. The City Council approved the plan last night and now Mayor Jordan is down in Little Rock with the plan. It's sounding more and more like the AHTD isn't really dead set against the plan. It may not be what they would recommend but if the city is set on it I think they'll work with the city. Either allowing this plan or moving to a plan much closer to it.

Which plan was approved and taken to LR?

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As I understand it, the state went with what the city wanted. Full median with trees, trees along sidewalks, and bike paths. It will be a grand entry way into Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas. And now with the Garland Parking Deck most visitors won't have to drive on Maple or around campus.

Edited by Snaple4
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It's still the same plan the city was talking about before. It's called a continuous median but really there are breaks in it. Mainly breaks at road intersections and such. I'm also guessing that there probably won't be much of a median from Mt Comfort Rd to North St as well. From what I'm seeing early this morning sounds like the AHTD has agreed to the current plan. I'm not sure if this is official now or not. I suppose if it is then construction will start this October.

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It's still the same plan the city was talking about before. It's called a continuous median but really there are breaks in it. Mainly breaks at road intersections and such. I'm also guessing that there probably won't be much of a median from Mt Comfort Rd to North St as well. From what I'm seeing early this morning sounds like the AHTD has agreed to the current plan. I'm not sure if this is official now or not. I suppose if it is then construction will start this October.

Great to hear.

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