The Central Arkansas transportation planning agency Metroplan has awarded the city $3 million to build a large section of the 6-mile Tri-Creek Greenway, a 12-foot-wide off-street bicycle and pedestrian route that will connect city parks in Southwest Little Rock. The city match is $750,000; Parks and Recreation Department representatives will meet with the Arkansas Department of Transportation this week to begin planning. Construction should begin in fall of 2020.

Metroplan’s funding will build Phase 3 of the Tri-Creek (Brodie, Rock and
Fourche) Greenway, which stretches from Western Hills in the south to the intersection of Mississippi and Rodney Parham in the north. It will make use of an existing trail in Boyle Park. There will be 3-foot shoulders so pedestrians and bikers don’t clash; bridges will be 14 feet wide, with the exception of an existing bridge in Boyle Park. Construction of bridges and underpasses, to create safe passage where none exist now, will require “a lot of engineering,” John Landosky, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator, said.

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“This is an underserved area in Little Rock,” Landosky, who wrote the grant, said. The Greenway will be more than a recreational trail; he said it would be a “bicycle and pedestrian highway” that will connect unconnected neighborhoods and provide offer access to parks for people who don’t drive, including older folks and teenagers “who would otherwise be staring at a screen.”

Phase 1 will build a small portion of the trail in Western Hills and First Tee with a $500,000 Legacy Grant from the National Park Service. Phase 2 will extend the trail from Western Hills through Hindman Park to Brodie Creek Park. The city has applied for a $500,000 Transportation Alternatives Program grant from the Arkansas Department of Transportation to build Phase 2.

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Parks plans in the future to connect downtown Little Rock, midtown, the Southeast Trail from the Clinton Presidential Library to the Terry Lock and Dam, the Southwest Trail (a project of Pulaski, Saline and Garland counties) and trails west, north and south of the Greenway.

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