By Daniel Holland, Transportation Improvement Program Manager, Metroplan
Central Arkansas currently enjoys an impressive collection of trails in all corners of our region. But Metroplan aspires to a pathways system that is much more ambitious and connected. Metroplan enlisted its member communities to help craft the Central Arkansas Regional Greenways Plan that will guide investment towards a world-class, multi-use pathway network spanning Faulkner, Lonoke, Pulaski and Saline counties. Six new routes, and the existing Arkansas River Trail, make up the planned pathway system. The plan is truly region-defining!
Regionally connected greenways provide a new option to travel Central Arkansas between cities and within each community. The greenway network will integrate into local trail systems and transit routes to provide a cohesive active transportation network. Eventually, each corridor will connect to the region’s core.
Residents will benefit significantly from the new greenways. Users will have access to essential destinations and amenities while increasing their physical activity and enjoying our region’s natural beauty. Ditching the keys for a peaceful walk or bike ride can alleviate traffic and reduce harmful emissions to improve our air quality. Additionally, national development trends around trails will help Central Arkansas realize similar economic opportunities that enhance our quality of life.
Eight guiding principles steered the greenways’ development:
- Transportation-Focused – A viable transportation option.
- Physically Separated – Separated from traffic.
- Inclusive – All ages and abilities can use it.
- Consistent – Easily recognized systemwide.
- Safe – Accommodates user visibility and access to emergency service.
- Context Sensitive – Adjusted to challenges of the landscape.
- High Quality – Designed to the highest standards.
- Well-Connected – Population centers and major destinations are linked.
Multi-use paths are a significant asset, providing better-connected, more accessible communities. Expanding these greenways benefits individuals because it creates additional transportation choices for everyone.
Each summer, Metroplan hosts Ozone Action Days to encourage Central Arkansans to rethink transportation to help reduce harmful ground-level ozone. The Greenways are part of the strategy to mitigate traffic congestion, and in turn, improve air quality.
Learn more about the Central Arkansas Regional Greenways Plan at www.centralarkgreenways.com.