Photo: Michael Ward
Fayetteville city planners are serious about embracing tactical urbanism.
Officials this week announced the creation of a new permit process to encourage residents to experiment with traffic and bike safety theories that could lead to permanent infrastructure improvements.
The city first dabbled with the idea last November during a tactical urbanism workshop hosted by Florida-based firm Street Plans Collaborative. The group led city planners through a day-long event showing the positive effects of low-cost, temporary experiments with existing transportation infrastructure.
The workshop culminated with an hour-long project to construct about 90 feet of bike lane and crosswalk using temporary chalk paint near the intersection of West Avenue and Spring Street. The area, located in front of Nadine Baum Studios, can be somewhat confusing for anyone navigating the criss-crossing of bicycles, pedestrians and vehicles. The idea was to show how quickly an idea can become reality without spending a lot of money on something that may not turn out to be the best solution.
The first official experiment came two months later when city crews and volunteers installed a temporary mini-roundabout at the intersection of School Avenue and Spring Street. The findings of the project have since been released in a seven-page report
A second project, stemming from the new permit process, will take place Sunday, July 23 at the intersection of Center Street and Church Avenue in downtown Fayetteville. Applicant Michael Ward, a Fayetteville resident, will work with volunteers from 8 a.m. to noon to make changes that mimic the intersection of Spring Street and Block Avenue which features curb extensions and planters designed to slow the flow of traffic and create a safer environment for pedestrians. Materials for the project are estimated at $500, and will be paid for by the applicant.
The temporary changes are scheduled to remain in place through mid-November.
Ward’s plans / City of Fayetteville
A third project is in the works for south Fayetteville.
Fayetteville Planning Commission member Allison Quinlan is scheduled to lead a design charrette at 3:45 p.m. at the Yvonne Richardson Community Center, 240 E. Rock Street. During the event Quinlan will seek ideas for improvements to the intersection of Mill Avenue and Rock Street. The chosen design is set to be installed in mid-August.
Residents interested in having their improvement ideas come to fruition are encouraged to apply for a tactical urbanism project permit. Applications are available at fayetteville-ar.gov/3268/Tactical-Urbanism.
According to city engineer Chris Brown, applications will be reviewed by city staff from the engineering, transportation, police, fire, and parking management departments to ensure the projects meet all necessary safety and procedural requirements.
Additionally, the city has developed a guide to help residents design and install their projects. The guide includes timelines, material suggestions, state and city standards for street and right-of-way projects, installation instructions, and helpful hints for evaluating the success of a project.