Metroplan, the regional planning agency based in Little Rock, has released its annual demographic review and outlook with an emphasis this year on commuting. Full document here.
Metroplan’s selected tidbits include:
* Though jobs remain concentrated in Little Rock, the area matches the trend of job growth in suburban cities that move workers closer to their homes. (So do we really need a wider concrete destroying downtown Little Rock to move a declining number of workers home faster.)
* 84.4% commute to work alone. Small numbers carpool, bus, walk, work at home. Hmmm. Might a concentrated core city with greater reliance on mass transit be more efficient? Just asking for a friend, Jarod Varner.
* The average commute in Central Arkansas is 23.4 minutes against a national average of 26.4. Tell me again why we need to pour more concrete.
* Despite that average shorter commute time, people in the Little Rock metro area drive 43.5 miles a day versus 26.2 nationally. Do we really need to shave a minute or two off the commute with a $600 million-plus concrete gulch that will induce demand for billions more in needed road
* I quote: “Automatic vehicles and the rise of car-sharing could literally change the landscape and alter commuting patterns beyond modern-day recognition.” Clip and send to the Arkansas Department of Highways (D’OH) in regards that concrete gulch.
But enough of my pet peeve. Metroplan also speaks in broader terms. There was a slowdown in multi-family construction in 2016 and single-family housing construction was up slightly.
Central Arkansas is now seeing its slowest rate of overall population growth since 1980–1990. There are pockets of faster growth, and Austin and Ward are currently among the region’s fastest-growing communities.
But, if UA-Little Rock can just get a marching band. Oh, and a football team to go with it.
The traditional “brick and mortar” retailing sector is entering a crisis at the national level, competing against Internet sales.