Editor’s note: Frank D. Scott, Jr. is a banker, state highway commissioner and a board member of the Little Rock Port Authority. Opinions, commentary and other essays posted in this space are wholly the view of the author(s). They may not represent the opinion of the owners of Talk Business & Politics.
Discussions surrounding the 30 Crossing project show how deeply committed residents are to sustaining the communities where they live and work.
While I serve as an “at-large” member of the Arkansas State Highway Commission, I live in Southwest Little Rock and travel through the 30 Crossing corridor nearly every day. As I’ve stated before, I am committed to Central Arkansas and support responsible growth that leaves no community, neighborhood, or citizen behind. It is my belief that the latest design options reflect the true purpose of this project, to move people safely and better connect us to each other and the places we want to be, not divide us.
The conversations Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department personnel and project engineers are having with neighborhood groups, merchant associations, business owners, advocacy groups, citizens, and elected and appointed leaders – hundreds to date – have made an indelible impression on potential project design. Members of the community are providing input and feedback – over 1,250 citizens have attended public meetings and thousands of questions and comments have been submitted to the project team. I can assure you AHTD is listening.
More than one dozen significant changes have been made to 30 Crossing design proposals, in direct response to public comment.
For instance, by modifying the Cantrell Road interchanges to allow 2nd, 3rd, and 4th streets to remain open, engineers were able to reduce River Rail Street Car impacts and preserve east-west connectivity. Proposals also include wider bridges on the 6th and 9th street overpasses to accommodate wider sidewalks.
In response to concerns about increased traffic on the downtown grid and certain intersections, the design team is exploring multiple alternatives that can help reduce traffic. Comments about access to and the safety of exits along the corridor have resulted in numerous adjustments, including an eastbound exit connecting directly to the historic Curtis Sykes Drive in North Little Rock, along with left-hand exits now converted to right-hand exits to eliminate weaving traffic between I-30 and highway 67.
On April 26th, the community had its sixth opportunity to see and hear about the latest design proposals. At the public meeting, project engineers illustrated how public comments have been incorporated into current plans. A public comment period will now be open for 30 days, and I encourage all to make their voices heard at www.30Crossing.com.
A healthy community is an engaged community. The level of discussion surrounding 30 Crossing is, in and of itself, a sign of our community’s strength. Argenta, downtown Little Rock and developing East Village are among many growing and vibrant neighborhoods.
My goal for the 30 Crossing project continues to be developing a solution that enhances the economic well-being of all our communities, while improving mobility and safety in the corridor.