Not in my Frontyard, Either

My Beloved and I celebrated the first cool weekend in months with a brief, tame adventure: to see the progress of the Fayetteville trails by bicycle. Lengths are now connected that weren’t before. We hit only a few incomplete patches along the Scull Creek and Gordon Long paths.

Makes you wonder about Springdale. Maybe others can see why pragmatic, sophisticated residents don’t want a trail adjacent to their property. The proposed Spring Creek path follows that stream through a long-settled part of the city; it’s downtown plus.

A summary paragraph from the article:

Other property owners along the creek said such a trail would result in an increase in litter and petty crime. They fear their pets and livestock would be subjected to taunts from children and drunks.”

The couple who’ve owned a long successful bed-and-breakfast unexpectedly opposes it as well. They somehow foresee joggers disrupting their business in outdoor weddings. Do these various people think a trail in Springdale at every moment is going to look like either Mardi Gras or the beginning of the Hogeye Marathon with thousands of bony knees?

I have bicycled in central and west Springdale. Drivers surprisingly are friendly to cyclists. The city for this hilly region is actually pretty flat. The biker can come across interesting shops and occasional terrific residential architecture or landscaping.

Springdale city officials from this account said, Nevermind, didn’t mean to worry you folks.

Picking on Springdale is easy, but inaccurate. The only legitimate complaint is when people don’t show up to vote or to speak at public hearings. The community and its government, however, are obligated to act for the greater good. To be able to bicycle, in-line skate or walk safely and with relatively natural surroundings from south Fayetteville north into Bentonville would be a remarkable achievement. A consistent reputation for wide-ranging traffic planning, from walking to jet-packs, would be great for business in the 21st century.

There’s closed thinking a plenty, anyway. Already, a long-awaited plan in Fayetteville to widen the overcrowded North Garland Avenue has its close-by residents trying to control what should be inevitable.

This is a two-lane, shoulderless, state highway, Arkansas 112, that goes into the University of Arkansas from the Fulbright Expressway, which itself connects Interstate 540 to the North College Avenue-Joyce Boulevard retail mecca.

City and state officials propose widening it to five lanes, two a side and a continuous middle turn lane, wide bike-foot lanes on both sides. Nearby residents last week spoke up. How about three lanes, one each way and that turn lane so as to keep the street’s largely quiet lane feel intact.

Garland hasn’t been a country state road in decades. There’s a few houses, sure, but mostly it’s lined with apartment complexes.

To do anything less than a full-fledged boulevard without delay is so … heck if anyone thinks three lanes is enough — and already owns the Brooklyn Bridge — there’s a high school in town I can sell you.

Two examples. Gregg Avenue weeks ago fully reopened as a five-laner. It has a bike path on one side. No one’s complaining because they’re too busy whizzing by on the way to shop or work.

Then, Crossover Road is a three-laner of perhaps eight years that proves why this is an ineffective compromise. Crossover’s middle turn lane does keep some traffic moving, until you get behind the old pickup with the yahoo driving it and doesn’t appear to be steering off before you.

Garland’s neighbors need to shout. I shout when the city or a neighbor starts something on my street. But we bought our house liking its proximity to a state highway spur.

Anyone living along Garland surely bought their home aware of how it was used, and when apartments began coming could see the inevitable, and perhaps decide to move somewhere quieter. They didn’t.

Democracy is about speaking up then it’s about flow, going with, a flow with a jet-black asphalt surface, bright yellow stripes, not having to wait for the bus ahead to do its business. …


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2 thoughts on “Not in my Frontyard, Either

  1. Hey Ben. Just wanted to let you know I checked out your web site for the first time and read your aug 22 column. Good stuff!

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