Celebrating National Bike Month, the League of American Bicyclists has released its 7th annual ranking of bicycle friendly states. Although Arkansas dropped one point to 38th among the 50 states, the results still reflect successful efforts to accommodate and promote cycling as an alternative mode of transportation.
The ranking is based on a number of key indicators including infrastructure and funding that provide bicycle facilities; education and programs that promote cycling; and passage and enforcement of bicycle-friendly laws that make it safe and comfortable for people of all ages and skills to ride a bike. More information about Arkansas’ ranking is found at bikeleague.org/content/states.
Notably among these is an ongoing effort to update the Arkansas State Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan. Originally published in 1998, the Plan serves as a reference document for local governments and state agencies to work toward improving the environment for both cyclists and pedestrians.
“A lot of progress has been made since then,” said AHTD Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Kim Sanders. “Municipalities throughout Arkansas have implemented great trail systems and ordinances that accommodate cycling. The revised State Transportation Plan will recognize these efforts along with incorporating updated policies and best practices.”
A series of statewide meetings to gather public input for the updated Transportation Plan began in March and continues through the end of this month. Silver Spring, Maryland-based Toole Design Group is a national planning firm that has been hired by AHTD to help update the Plan through a proactive public involvement process that may be accessed at arkansasbikepedplan.com.
“Although this effort will not produce a list of projects or identify funding, among our goals is to determine what facilities exist and where,” adds Sanders. “Resources remain extremely limited. However, AHTD will continue to play a role in the progress toward providing a convenient and safe infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians.”
Updates to the Arkansas State Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan should be complete by the end of this year, followed by a formal presentation to the public in early 2015.