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KJW

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Not news to the folks on this board, but...remember the thread, also based on a newspaper story, asking ""Could one of the area's school districts become the next Jenks, OK?"

Again, we have the sentence in my post title in this article (about growth in the county still proceeding) in today's Benton County Record that echoes my sentiment that we're in a major metropolitan area that doesn't yet understand that it is one. Where some folks may not quite understand that "sprawl" is a GOOD thing to many people who don't want to live in jammed-up areas downtown or along the Interstate. And I don't mean this as a putdown to the area or to our city planners whatsoever.

(And with that said, looking at that arena near the airport, I think we're going to have some weird "sprawl" issues of our own. Can you imagine what it's going to be like when: 1) we've got the Benton County fair going on at the new fairgrounds above Vaughn, 2) an event is going on simultaneously at the new arena just a mile down airport road, 3) (if it happens) there's a new town built between Centerton and Vaughn with the 1,200 plats of land designated and; 4) you've got busy airport traffic as usual at XNA.

Two-lane Airport Road could become quite jammed, could it not? These new talked-about bypasses can't be built fast enough, as in any other major metropolitan area.

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NWA wasn't designed to be a major metro. The more it grows the worse traffic will get. It's too bad the cities weren't laid out in more of a circular pattern than a straight line. But you can't reverse what's already done. We'll just have to live with the consequences. I hate to say it, but Sam Walton should have chose someplace like Springfield, MO to build his empire. I blame him for all of NWA's future traffic problems. :D

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NWA wasn't designed to be a major metro. The more it grows the worse traffic will get. It's too bad the cities weren't laid out in more of a circular pattern than a straight line. But you can't reverse what's already done. We'll just have to live with the consequences. I hate to say it, but Sam Walton should have chose someplace like Springfield, MO to build his empire. I blame him for all of NWA's future traffic problems. :D

I blame developers for the ever continuing sprawl in NWA. I'm glad that Sam Walton chose NWA, I wouldn't be here today if he chose somewhere else.

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I blame developers for the ever continuing sprawl in NWA. I'm glad that Sam Walton chose NWA, I wouldn't be here today if he chose somewhere else.

I doubt many of us would be here if it wasn't for Sam Walton. In fact, the developers wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Sam Walton. I also doubt that good ol' Mr. Sam would have ever thought Bentonville would become the engine that's driving NWA's growth.

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I doubt many of us would be here if it wasn't for Sam Walton. In fact, the developers wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Sam Walton. I also doubt that good ol' Mr. Sam would have ever thought Bentonville would become the engine that's driving NWA's growth.

Funny thing...this article was talking about properties in Siloam Springs...didn't Mr. Sam originally want to start his headquarters in SS rather than Bentonville?

Back to wishing...if he was wanting an area that could have been designed as a major metro, he should have gone to Fort Smith. However, that's neither here nor there now.

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Funny thing...this article was talking about properties in Siloam Springs...didn't Mr. Sam originally want to start his headquarters in SS rather than Bentonville?

Back to wishing...if he was wanting an area that could have been designed as a major metro, he should have gone to Fort Smith. However, that's neither here nor there now.

I don't remember anything about Mr. Sam and Siloam Springs, but he did go through SS to get to Bentonville. He must have saw something in Bentonville that he didn't see in Springfield since he went to College at MSU-Columbia.

It's not too late for the main cities in NWA to get together and come up with a model of NWA now and where it can be 50 years from now. I mean a real 3D model of NWA. Something everyone can see and touch. Not just a bunch of maps with lines. Letting sprawl spread like a disease will literally kill NWA's future. It'll just be a huge mess with no structure.

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Funny thing...this article was talking about properties in Siloam Springs...didn't Mr. Sam originally want to start his headquarters in SS rather than Bentonville?

Back to wishing...if he was wanting an area that could have been designed as a major metro, he should have gone to Fort Smith. However, that's neither here nor there now.

You are correct. He wanted to open his first store in Siloam Springs, however, the owner of the building and Sam could not come to an agreement, so he went on to Bentonville.

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You are correct. He wanted to open his first store in Siloam Springs, however, the owner of the building and Sam could not come to an agreement, so he went on to Bentonville.

Well the First Wal-Mart was in Rogers, the 5 & Dime was in Downtown Bentonville though.

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Are there any other large developments going on out there?

I only know of some housing going up.

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It's not too late for the main cities in NWA to get together and come up with a model of NWA now and where it can be 50 years from now. I mean a real 3D model of NWA. Something everyone can see and touch. Not just a bunch of maps with lines. Letting sprawl spread like a disease will literally kill NWA's future. It'll just be a huge mess with no structure.

Truer words were never spoken.

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It's not too late for the main cities in NWA to get together and come up with a model of NWA now and where it can be 50 years from now. I mean a real 3D model of NWA. Something everyone can see and touch. Not just a bunch of maps with lines. Letting sprawl spread like a disease will literally kill NWA's future. It'll just be a huge mess with no structure.

So right you are, we should get a petition or something going for that.

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It's not too late for the main cities in NWA to get together and come up with a model of NWA now and where it can be 50 years from now. I mean a real 3D model of NWA. Something everyone can see and touch. Not just a bunch of maps with lines. Letting sprawl spread like a disease will literally kill NWA's future. It'll just be a huge mess with no structure.

Welllllll.... what do you mean by this?

The NWA MPO is in the process of creating, with the help of a consulting firm, and AHTD and FHWA, a transportation computer model (sometimes referred to as a travel demand model) of the entire 2-county area (which is the MPO area). I think I've seen this briefly mentioned once in a NWA newspaper, so I'm sure hardly anyone in NWA even knows about this (but they will soon once it's completed). Larger MPO's have this type of model, which is very common and is based on sound principles and decades of research. However, it is very, very complicated and takes a very, very long time to set up from scratch. All the more so complicated when the MPO's budget is very, very small.

Now, there are so-called land-use models... which can be used in conjunction with a transportation model to my understanding. However, my understanding is that those models are much less commonly used, and are not as sophisticated (though I might be mistaken in that regard), as predicting future land use (like 25 years in the future) is very, very complicated.

Now, what I think you are saying is that NWA should come together to form a regional plan for future growth... is that right? In that case, I completely agree. However, unfortunately I'm not aware of any metro area, involving several/many seperate entities/jurisdictions/governments that have enacted such a thing. It doesn't mean that there haven't been some instances of that.

But keep in mind that places like Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville are in many ways competitors when it comes to development and growth. What type of land-use planning that goes on in Fayetteville I can say with confidence wouldn't be approached with such gusto in places like Springdale or Rogers (and vice-versa). Can these cities and others come together and agree on a plan for future growth? Boy, wouldn't that be nice!

The only way I could see that happening would be a federal mandate. FHWA explicitely recognizes this "dis-connect" between transportation planning and land-use planning. But, FHWA is the "Federal Highway Administration", a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation, which doesn't have direct jurisdiction over land-use planning (although they have direct oversight of transportation planning). I don't know which other federal department would have such appropriate authority or expertise for that matter. I'm pretty sure there isn't one. Maybe someone who knows more about it could say. Therefore, it is constantly regarded as a mostly local matter. The feds don't review a city's land-use plan.

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Now, what I think you are saying is that NWA should come together to form a regional plan for future growth... is that right?

I was actually thinking that each city builds a 3D model of it's city's land-use based on where the city will be in the future when the city's Master Plans are completed (sounds like Fayetteville already has such a model). The planners from each city meets at a neutral location and brings their 3D models with them and pieces them together so that the planners can work together with possibly transportation planners and find where trouble spots may occur. That way neither city is telling the other cities how to plan their city, but they can come to some agreement on how to handle future trouble spots, such as sprawl.

A highly detailed computer model would be nice too, but I was thinking something physical that would bring people together in person to see that NWA is a tangible region of connected cities and not just a bunch of lines on a map. But thanks for that very insightful information. I now know that something that seems so simple is actually very complicated. It's no wonder a lot of us keep saying "just do it already!" when it's not as easy for city officials to say that.

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I was actually thinking that each city builds a 3D model of it's city's land-use based on where the city will be in the future when the city's Master Plans are completed (sounds like Fayetteville already has such a model). The planners from each city meets at a neutral location and brings their 3D models with them and pieces them together so that the planners can work together with possibly transportation planners and find where trouble spots may occur. That way neither city is telling the other cities how to plan their city, but they can come to some agreement on how to handle future trouble spots, such as sprawl.

A highly detailed computer model would be nice too, but I was thinking something physical that would bring people together in person to see that NWA is a tangible region of connected cities and not just a bunch of lines on a map. But thanks for that very insightful information. I now know that something that seems so simple is actually very complicated. It's no wonder a lot of us keep saying "just do it already!" when it's not as easy for city officials to say that.

And you are definitely getting on to something that many wish more metro areas would do. That is, cities and jurisdictions working together more for planning purposes. When I hear "trouble spots", I think "traffic jams". With poor land-use planning, the biggest complaint that seems to arise is traffic. Of course, there are other negative consequences that go along with poor land-use planning.

This transportation model will in part at least help with what I think you are getting at-- it can in one way be thought of as a complex (and objective) computer model with which to help planners make transportation decisions more effectively. That way, planners can say with much more confidence what this idea or that idea will mean for the area (transportation wise at the least), while hopefully reducing the possibility of arguments or bickering that might arise between jurisdictions.

But just like anything, if the NWA MPO (NWARPC) had a bigger budget, they could do much more and in shorter amount of time-- I know we all say things need to happen more quickly in NWA, but with governmental agencies not getting enough funding to do important work, only so much can happen so fast. Which is a little ironic considering how many wealthy and influential individuals there are in NWA.

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Which is a little ironic considering how many wealthy and influential individuals there are in NWA.

That transportation model sounds great and I hope they get the money to get it going. I say that if Mr. Sam was still alive a whole lot more would be getting done a whole lot faster. That man new how to get wealthy people involved in developments. Mr. Sam was a regional leader that is lacking in NWA today.

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I don't know if this has anything to do with what you guys are talking about, but there seems to be a company by the name of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. that want's NWA to include more gridding of the streets. They say that Grids have several advantages.

19 percent more developable land than the grid;

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NWA wasn't designed to be a major metro. The more it grows the worse traffic will get. It's too bad the cities weren't laid out in more of a circular pattern than a straight line. But you can't reverse what's already done. We'll just have to live with the consequences. I hate to say it, but Sam Walton should have chose someplace like Springfield, MO to build his empire. I blame him for all of NWA's future traffic problems. :D

I feel bad for you guys every time I see a map of your metro and see the "straight line" formation the sprawl has taken on.

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I feel bad for you guys every time I see a map of your metro and see the "straight line" formation the sprawl has taken on.

SBC, indeed, I don't think people understand how tied up I-540 is going to be some day.

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That transportation model sounds great and I hope they get the money to get it going. I say that if Mr. Sam was still alive a whole lot more would be getting done a whole lot faster. That man new how to get wealthy people involved in developments. Mr. Sam was a regional leader that is lacking in NWA today.

One thing about Sam. He was a brilliant, and I mean that in a superlative way, businessman. However, he always looked at the bottom line. Looking at Wal-Mart's NWA buildings and HQs you can see that. What NWA and LR need is a few more innovative developers looking at more than immediate profits. So many of the developments in both places right now are bland. The worst by far, though, is Jim Lindsay. That guy has perfected cheap apartment development. There are some bright people up there with a lot of money that could really create some terrific new developments.

I agree about I-540 traffic. It will obviously have to be 6-laned at some point. One thing that helps is everybody's not commuting the same way at the same time, traffic goes both ways during rush hour. Still, alternate routes really need to be developed. The other place I've been that's linear like this is Southwest Florida, where U.S. 41 (Tamiami trail) acts like 71 does in NWA and I-75 carries the bulk of the traffic. Things developed this way down there because individual communities developed along the beach and in coastal areas this linear development is more common. Traffic there is ten times worse than NWA and NWA leaders all should have to go down there and take a look. It would make them realize that the time to prevent problems in 20 years is now. By then it will be too late.

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I'm not sure if we're going to be able to get the Federal Money as well for any improvements to NWA. We all know the I-540 is only bound to get worse, with all the development near the Interstate and such. I agree that it need to be 6 lanes, if not 8 lanes. The U.S. 412 Bypass is something else that's needed. But, how many people would be keen on the light rail system? I know the metro is really small now, but 15-20 years from now when there's 1 Million People living along the I-540 corridor, things are going to be hell.

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SBC, indeed, I don't think people understand how tied up I-540 is going to be some day.

The company I work for has a second corporate office in Springdale (I work in the Shreveport corporate office,) and I'm always talking to some of the Springdale execs when they're down and they say it's getting worse with every passing day. A couple of them leave for work at 6:30 am and then leave the office late in the evening. That's what I try to do in the evenings, but I leave my house in the morning rish like an idiot. And we have a freeway loop around our cities, so I can only imagine how bad it is having only a straight-shot freeway.

:lol: ^^morning RUSH, not "rish."

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The company I work for has a second corporate office in Springdale (I work in the Shreveport corporate office,) and I'm always talking to some of the Springdale execs when they're down and they say it's getting worse with every passing day. A couple of them leave for work at 6:30 am and then leave the office late in the evening. That's what I try to do in the evenings, but I leave my house in the morning rish like an idiot. And we have a freeway loop around our cities, so I can only imagine how bad it is having only a straight-shot freeway.

That brings up something I'm more curious about-- how common is it for employers in NWA to allow flex time for employees? From what I can tell people still do the 8-5 thing for the most part in NWA (and the traffic data I've seen tends to verify this... but things are changing fast). As traffic gets worse, I imagine more and more people will take advantage of, if they have the option, of doing 7:30-4:30, or 8:30-5:30, etc.

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I agree that the time to make plans is now. A freeway loop was completed around Texarkana about a couple of years ago. While the traffic may not be too bad now, in the future it will come in handy when all of the growth that is said to come here arrives.

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I agree that the time to make plans is now. A freeway loop was completed around Texarkana about a couple of years ago. While the traffic may not be too bad now, in the future it will come in handy when all of the growth that is said to come here arrives.

How much did it cost?

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That brings up something I'm more curious about-- how common is it for employers in NWA to allow flex time for employees? From what I can tell people still do the 8-5 thing for the most part in NWA (and the traffic data I've seen tends to verify this... but things are changing fast). As traffic gets worse, I imagine more and more people will take advantage of, if they have the option, of doing 7:30-4:30, or 8:30-5:30, etc.

I don't live in your area, but my time is 8:00-4:45, with lunch from 12:15-1:00. That used to be a good thing, but it doesn't work anymore. By the time I hit what I call the "downtown merge (I-49/I-20)" it's typically 5:00 and traffic is already backed up. Apparently lots of other people have flex hours. ;)

I really think that would be a great idea with the growing pains your area is experiencing... I like the 7:30-4:30 thing, personally. That sounds like a good one.

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