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Sammy00

Little Rock Growth

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While U.S. home sales declined precipitously in May, sales of homes during the same month in Pulaski, Saline, Faulkner, and Lonoke counties were up a strong 18%. The end of tax credits may change the trend here, but for now we appear to be doing much better than the rest of the nation. Good news.

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While U.S. home sales declined precipitously in May, sales of homes during the same month in Pulaski, Saline, Faulkner, and Lonoke counties were up a strong 18%. The end of tax credits may change the trend here, but for now we appear to be doing much better than the rest of the nation. Good news.

A welcome and ever consistent trend...stability. No major highs, and no major lows.

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Both the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Channel 4 are reporting that government and business officials will make a "very significant" economic announcement tomorrow in Little Rock. This involves an expansion of an existing company, not a new employer.

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Both the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Channel 4 are reporting that government and business officials will make a "very significant" economic announcement tomorrow in Little Rock. This involves an expansion of an existing company, not a new employer.

It's Windstream. And it is good news. 210 new jobs for the area. Helps lessen the impact of reductions from Alltel/Verizon.

http://www.arkansasbusiness.com/article.aspx?zone=AB_DailyReport_Tuesday&lID=&sID=&ms=&cID=Z&aID=123053.54928.135179

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It's Windstream. And it is good news. 210 new jobs for the area. Helps lessen the impact of reductions from Alltel/Verizon.

http://www.arkansasbusiness.com/article.aspx?zone=AB_DailyReport_Tuesday&lID=&sID=&ms=&cID=Z&aID=123053.54928.135179

Excellent news, but...I guess I didn't know that there was ever a question about Little Rock being their headquarters?

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I guess I didn't know that there was ever a question about Little Rock being their headquarters?

Likewise.

The story on Arkansas Business’s website dedicated a paragraph or two on Windsteam’s current Little Rock facilities. According to CEO Jeff Gardner, the company has “real estate across Central Arkansas,” but they have no plans for any new facility “right now.” The new jobs will be accommodated in new space at the current headquarters location, but when the new five-year lease nears its expiration – and if the company continues growing, it will be interesting to learn their plans for the long-term. While not very likely right now, they may wish to consolidate their scattered personnel at a new headquarters facility – one that could also accommodate future growth.

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2010 Census data for Arkansas rolled out today. Although not everything is accessible on their website yet, we do see that Little Rock's population was up a little to 193,524 (5.7% growth since 2000), Pulaski County grew 5.9% to 382,748, and neighboring counties also saw growth, with Faulkner, Lonoke, and Saline all seeing growth of more than 25%. The NW corner of the state numbers also show significant growth of course, and south and east section of the state saw declines, including some significant declines in the Delta. More information available at the link: http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2011/feb/10/census-data-arkansas-released/?latest

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City level data posted moments ago. I've included the most relevant ones off the top of my head, more at the link: http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2011/feb/10/arkansas-population-city/?latest

Little Rock: 193,524

North Little Rock: 62,304

Conway: 58,908

Pine Bluff: 49,083

Hot Springs: 35,193

Benton: 30,681

Sherwood: 29,523

Jacksonville: 28,364

Cabot: 23,776

Maumelle: 17,163

Bryant: 16,688

Lonoke: 4,245

North Little Rock managed to keep it's population edge above Conway for metro-naming purposes, Benton and Bryant have experienced substantial growth, and Maumelle keeps chugging along too, while Pine Bluff slipped below the 50,000 mark. Any other thoughts?

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2010 Census data for Arkansas rolled out today. Although not everything is accessible on their website yet, we do see that Little Rock's population was up a little to 193,524 (5.7% growth since 2000), Pulaski County grew 5.9% to 382,748, and neighboring counties also saw growth, with Faulkner, Lonoke, and Saline all seeing growth of more than 25%. The NW corner of the state numbers also show significant growth of course, and south and east section of the state saw declines, including some significant declines in the Delta. More information available at the link: http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2011/feb/10/census-data-arkansas-released/?latest

Good find! One thing not mentioned in the report are MSA numbers, though according to current designations and my quick math, Little Rock's MSA would total 699,757...a measly 243 people short of 700,000. However, I recall that in the 2000 census, there was speculation (if not expectation) that Conway County would have been added to the MSA (7 total counties), but it was not. If it is added at this census - which will be determined later - it would bring the total to 721,030.

I know it's trivial, but missing the 700,000 mark by the slimmest of margins is unfortunate.

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I figure this thread is the most fitting place for the discussion of future transit possibilities...

As anyone else who reads the Dem Gazette online saw today, Little Rock is discussing the potential location of a future light rail corridor near I-630. Apparently this was a commitment the Metroplan board made over 15 years ago by saying that they would evaluate light rail options before widening an interstate beyond 6 lanes. Since a significant chunk of 630 is about to become 8 lanes, they're now bound to do what they initially promised and look at options.

The article can be found here: http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2011/apr/04/growing-lr-looks-i-630-light-rail-20110404/

And here is the picture of potential corridors from the article:

630rail_t600.png?4326734cdb8e39baa3579048ef63ad7b451e7676

Unfortunately 630 wasn't built with the intent of light rail running along side it, or things could be much simpler/cheaper to build, but then you have the issue of stops not being convenient if located right off 630. The Markham route seems to make the most sense for their purposes, but where are they going to put it? As anyone who drives Markham frequently knows- things are packed in along there already and I just can't imagine where they'll be able to make enough room for the safe construction of rail lines and stops. They'd have to tear out a whole lot of buildings or houses (and the way a lot of that area has been redeveloping, there are some nice places along there that won't be cheap to acquire), and I just don't know how they'd do it. The C alternative looks like a bad choice since it doesn't come close to the other major employers to be useful. The B alternative is a very strange route and would probably be slower running and take longer to build, but it does hit the most important stops.

Thoughts?

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Could they just not put in an elevated line? Seattle has this monorail, or even an ELR like this here. I could see this being an issue for people though. I wonder if they could just build the line over the highway?

On which route option? They apparently can't do it over 630 or the 630 right of way because it was never built with those considerations in mind- the way the overpasses and interchanges are designed, it'd be impossible to put in an at-grade or elevated line without major (cost prohibitive) rebuilding of the corridor. The overpasses are too low to fit a simple elevated line in, and apparently it'd be crazily expensive to build it high enough to go over them, and I imagine it would look hazardous too. (Even aside from the fact that a straight shot down 630 wouldn't hit some of the stops they need/want to hit.) Along Markham I don't see how elevated will really change matters much- you aren't going to build it over houses and such, so it still would involve a lot of land acquisition and residential and commercial property demolition.

Edited by thewizard16

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On which route option? They apparently can't do it over 630 or the 630 right of way because it was never built with those considerations in mind- the way the overpasses and interchanges are designed, it'd be impossible to put in an at-grade or elevated line without major (cost prohibitive) rebuilding of the corridor. The overpasses are too low to fit a simple elevated line in, and apparently it'd be crazily expensive to build it high enough to go over them, and I imagine it would look hazardous too. (Even aside from the fact that a straight shot down 630 wouldn't hit some of the stops they need/want to hit.) Along Markham I don't see how elevated will really change matters much- you aren't going to build it over houses and such, so it still would involve a lot of land acquisition and residential and commercial property demolition.

I see no way to locally raise the kind of money needed to build a light rail line. The federal government is strapped so that funding source is gone. We'll have light rail about the same time the state fair is moved off Roosevelt Road.

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I wondered if there had ever been much talk of light rail in Little Rock. Surprisingly the subject has even popped up in NWA. True it's certainly hard to imagine any Arkansas community getting it anytime in the near future. As it's been pointed out we're probably going to be entering a period of restricted spending from the federal government. But in most cases these types of things need to be well planned out in advance. So I think it's still a good idea for Little Rock to look more into the subject and start some early planning. Even if there won't be any construction going for another decade or two. As far as an elevated line, those tend to be rather expensive options. In some cities those costs are acceptable because of dense development and very high real estate costs offset the higher costs. But I can't really imagine any city in Arkansas being able to pull off an elevated line.

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A couple of points:

1 - The article and content makes a big deal about the 800,000 minimum target population. The 2010 census has the MSA right at 700,000...if population growth trends continue, 800,000 would be well exceeded even in six to seven years. This all assumes they're talking about population in the aggregate, and not city proper or county population.

2 - While I-630 would at first appear to be a logical alignment for some type of direct "express" line downtown, I don't think the intent would be a non-stop line. Light Rail is intended to be a collector and connector of neighborhoods, and stations that far "south" of significant, significant landmarks (hospitals, malls, neighborhoods), would be a huge mistake. That being said, the Alternate A line along Markham would seem best suited for that....however, there does seem to be the opposite problem of the I-630 corridor, and that's the fact that there are far too many impediments along that route (right of way, stop lights, structures, etc.) as it still needs to run unimpeded between stations.

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A couple of points:

1 - The article and content makes a big deal about the 800,000 minimum target population. The 2010 census has the MSA right at 700,000...if population growth trends continue, 800,000 would be well exceeded even in six to seven years. This all assumes they're talking about population in the aggregate, and not city proper or county population.

2 - While I-630 would at first appear to be a logical alignment for some type of direct "express" line downtown, I don't think the intent would be a non-stop line. Light Rail is intended to be a collector and connector of neighborhoods, and stations that far "south" of significant, significant landmarks (hospitals, malls, neighborhoods), would be a huge mistake. That being said, the Alternate A line along Markham would seem best suited for that....however, there does seem to be the opposite problem of the I-630 corridor, and that's the fact that there are far too many impediments along that route (right of way, stop lights, structures, etc.) as it still needs to run unimpeded between stations.

Yeah the article did mention the 800,000 mark. But I think that figure is really going to vary depending on who you ask. They did a study in NWA on light rail and that number never came up at all. I think a number of factors can vary what some would consider population thresholds. That said though, I'm sure a larger population always is more likely to help than hurt. Unfortunately it's hard for me to comment on the routes. I'm not familiar enough with Little Rock to give an opinions on what possible routes might be better than others. But still interesting to read about anyway.

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The Markham route seems to make the most sense for their purposes, but where are they going to put it? As anyone who drives Markham frequently knows- things are packed in along there already and I just can't imagine where they'll be able to make enough room for the safe construction of rail lines and stops. They'd have to tear out a whole lot of buildings or houses (and the way a lot of that area has been redeveloping, there are some nice places along there that won't be cheap to acquire), and I just don't know how they'd do it. The C alternative looks like a bad choice since it doesn't come close to the other major employers to be useful. The B alternative is a very strange route and would probably be slower running and take longer to build, but it does hit the most important stops.

Thoughts?

How about the dreamers at Metroplan and Little Rock set a realistic goal such as first, at the very least, adding a center turn lane on Markham? That would certainly help the congestion they are attempting to relieve. How many times do you get stuck behind a vehicle making a left turn at the shopping center by Barrow Road or the medical offices further down? How about all the left turn action by Shotgun Dan's or Chi's, etc.. It's boggling that such a major road is only sporadically 5-laned.

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How about the dreamers at Metroplan and Little Rock set a realistic goal such as first, at the very least, adding a center turn lane on Markham? That would certainly help the congestion they are attempting to relieve. How many times do you get stuck behind a vehicle making a left turn at the shopping center by Barrow Road or the medical offices further down? How about all the left turn action by Shotgun Dan's or Chi's, etc.. It's boggling that such a major road is only sporadically 5-laned.

Agree about left turns on Markham. Cantrell, east and west of Mississippi, is just as bad.

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I think its really less about some target population and more about density. Is there a land use density within a 1/2 mi proximity of these proposed stations to support use? Would this provide a reasonable cost or time savings for potential users over a personal vehicle? I don't think the density is really there to support it, not saying it won't be someday. If this is going be a serious proposal, we're going to have carefully reconsider how the Markham corridor functions and start planning on the land use side right now as well.

I love the river rail, but we don't need another poorly executed novelty. If you're walking from Broadway to the River Market you can beat the River Rail 90% of the time.

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Looking 15 to 20 years in the future I would say none of the routes outlined would be a good choice. My choice would be to look outside the box for LR and close down I-630 to auto traffic. Turn it into a light rail corridor with bike and pedestrian lanes with access using the current on and off lanes. Each station could have bike parking where transit riders would leave their bike over night. At Main St and I-630 move the River City Travel Center to connect an expanded River Rail down Main and the light rail. A stop could also be built at the Children's Hospital/State Capitol and stops at UAMS and University Ave. along with one at I-630/ I-430. By using I-630 the light rail could also be expanded to the airport.

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Now that's some extreme wishful thinking. All the work their putting into 630, that wouldn't be a thought of option. How would cars get from Downtown to WLR other than Markham, Cantrell, etc?

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Now that's some extreme wishful thinking. All the work their putting into 630, that wouldn't be a thought of option. How would cars get from Downtown to WLR other than Markham, Cantrell, etc?

I have to agree- the 630 corridor is one of the busiest traffic routes in Arkansas, and light rail wouldn't serve enough of the population that uses that traffic corridor (even if they were willing to use public transit on a daily basis, which we all know a lot of the higher end downtown and medical workforce the route would "serve" won't do) to come anywhere close to justifying putting it there... The AHTD would have to find a way to route traffic through that section of town without 630, and I just don't think that can be done. Markham and Cantrell are already very, very busy and would not be suitable for rerouting all 630 traffic through due to the already strained nature of the roads and the constant stoplights, etc. A high-speed auto corridor from west Little Rock to downtown is a necessary part of the regional transit network the way Little Rock developed, which is the reason 630 was built in the first place and the reason they're pouring so much money into this interchange. It's just not financially responsible to consider that option, as interesting a proposal as it is.

I don't know where they can put this light rail corridor that will both be useful and financially possible (which is a difficult proposition to begin with, without the costs of acquisition along the Markham corridor, which is probably the most justifiable route density wise), but I hope they can come up with a plan the city will stick for planning purposes, that way when the time comes they'll be prepared.

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Let's revive this thread...I saw a post on the NWA forum about this online resource that charts predicted growth for US metropolitan markets through 2030.  It projects the LR MSA to grow 26.7% to 914,848 by 2030.

It is an interactive website, so check it out at this link:  http://apps.urban.org/features/mapping-americas-futures/#map

p.s.  NWA is predicted to grow 58.46% to 800,996 by 2030.

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 8.30.07 PM.png

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