Plans are still in the works for connecting the University of Arkansas campus to the city’s trail system.
Members of the City Council’s Transportation Committee last week approved revised designs for a cycle track along Maple Street that was first discussed publicly in late 2018.
After the initial concepts were shown, university officials expressed some concerns about the overall safety of the project, so the plans have been revamped a bit, said Matt Mihalevich, the city’s trails coordinator.
The biggest change is the addition of a more robust buffer between the bicycle path and vehicles traveling along Maple Street.
Previous concepts showed a cycle track separated from vehicular traffic with raised cobblestones. The revised design shows a landscaped buffer with native vegetation rising up to 30 inches above the ground.
The 13-foot cycle track will be constructed on the south side of Maple Street from Garland to Gregg avenues. Vehicle lanes will be 11 feet wide to accommodate UA transit buses. Eight-foot sidewalks will be built on both sides of the roadway, and bike-specific signals will be placed at Arkansas and Gregg avenues.
The revised plans call for much wider crosswalks with self-activating, in-ground signal beacons.
The plan still calls for converting three side roads into one-way northbound streets, including Lindell, Oakland and Whitham avenues. Storer and Leverett avenues would remain two-way streets.
The project would be funded using $1.5 million in city bond money secured through the 2019 bond election. Of that, $1 million would come from transportation bonds, and $500,000 would come from trails bonds, said Mihalevich. The university would also provide $1.5 million.
The committee recommended the city apply for a $3 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation to cover the remainder of the project cost.
City Engineer Chris Brown said if all goes according to plan, construction could begin late this year or in early 2021. The work would take about a year to complete, he said.