Possible bike lanes on Kavanaugh spark heated debate

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – It’s a dividing topic in Hillcrest: what to do about bike lanes.

The City of Little Rock has proposed adding the lanes to Kavanaugh Boulevard for all but the business district. The measure includes the roadway from Markham to Van Buren and would thin out lanes and move parking to only the south side of the street.

Some neighbors are all for making it more accessible to bikers and slowing down traffic. But others in the area say the lanes just aren’t worth it.

Frances Carner has lived on Kavanaugh for years. Her apartment sits on the road’s north side, where parking is set to disappear if the bike lanes are added. She’s also disabled and says having to walk far to her car just isn’t an option.

“I’m not going to want to cross the street,” Carner said. “I want to be as close as possible to the door that I’m going to enter.”

She’s one of many neighbors against the addition of bike lanes, saying the lack of street parking would be a major loss.

Neighbors came out in droves Thursday night to speak with city planners, asking questions and turning in written comments. Some were in favor, like Mason Ellis of Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas. He lives in the area and says the added lanes would make the road safer for everyone.

“This really is a prime candidate for a project like this,” Ellis explained. “Creating a little more safety for pedestrians on the sidewalk and cyclists who are already traveling on Kavanaugh.”

His view was shared by both Hillcrest neighbors and those who commute, including Jodi Morris, who added,

“I still want to be able to get here whether I drive, or I walk, or I ride my bike.”

But not everyone agreed. Sarah Hickman lives on Kavanaugh and says the road’s very design is dangerous.

“Am I going to be the first one to see a biker die in front of my house?” Hickman asked. “Because that over correcting’s not going to change.”

Pat Flanagin pointed out that accommodating bikers would alter the size of the roadway, adding that vehicles like ambulances, firetrucks, and school buses would be squeezing by with only a few inches of clearance on either side.

While neighbors continue to debate the lanes, Carner says any real change needs to be done together.

“We’re going to have to take the initiative as a community,” Carner said.

You can make your own comment and see the full proposal HERE.

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