New Plan Promotes Biking, Walking in Arkansas

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) — Earlier this week, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) released the Arkansas Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan. The plan contains guidelines and recommendations to enhance and protect opportunities for cyclists and pedestrians throughout the state.

According to a release from AHTD, “the plan will serve as a guide for future planning and implementation of bicycle and pedestrian improvements going forward. Communities across the state will be able to receive technical assistance and use templates and guidelines included in the plan to develop local bicycle and pedestrian plans.”

One key recommendation within the plan is an emphasis on Complete Streets policies for communities across Arkansas. The Complete Streets model is referenced within Healthy Active Arkansas’ Physical and Built Environment priority area, supporting grassroots efforts to implement Complete Streets policies.

Much of the Bicycle and Transportation Plan aligns with the goals of Healthy Active Arkansas’ Physical and Built Environment priority area, including creating denser, more connected communities, promoting walkability, and expanding opportunities for nonmotorized forms of transportation.

“The Arkansas Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan provides an excellent roadmap for increasing bicycle and pedestrian opportunities within the state,” said Casey Covington, deputy director of Metroplan and the Physical and Built Environment team lead for Healthy Active Arkansas. “This plan provides a unique opportunity to promote healthy and active transportation options to Arkansans while strengthening local economies through increased tourism opportunities. I was pleased to see the overlap of this plan with that of Healthy Active Arkansas, particularly with reference to the growth of livable communities and promotion of local Complete Street policies.”

The Arkansas Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan was constructed as part of a joint effort between AHTD, a number of other state agencies and other stakeholders. Each stakeholder will play a unique role in the success of the plan.
Troy Wells, president and CEO of Baptist Health and president of the Healthy Active Arkansas board, said the plan is a good springboard for many of Healthy Active Arkansas’ goals, adding that he is encouraged by the collaborative approach to building the plan.

“We who have worked on Healthy Active Arkansas for the past couple of years have seen firsthand the power in bringing together multiple entities, all of which bring something different to the table, in the service of a common cause,” Wells said. “We look forward to working with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, Arkansas Parks and Tourism, Arkansas Department of Health and many others to implement policy recommendations in the coming years.”

Click here to view the Arkansas Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan online.

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