Arkansas State University receives grant to build multi-use pathways on campus

by George Jared ([email protected]) 210 views 

Arkansas State University received a $450,000 grant from the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) under the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) to fund the second phase of a planned campus-wide multi-use path. The grant is part of an 80-20 match program and was part of more than $8 million announced earlier this week across the state of Arkansas.

“We are thankful to have the support of ArDOT to complete this portion of our campus master transportation plan,” Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Dr. Len Frey said. “It will allow us to complete work on the trail started under a similar ArDOT grant that we opened this past summer.”

Phase one, completed earlier this year, provided a parallel multi-use path for pedestrians and bicycle riders along two of the higher traffic areas of campus, Aggie Road on the western side of campus and underneath the Marion Berry Parkway along University Loop West.

The first phase multi-use trail included the first bridge section on the university’s Pedestrian and Cyclists (PAC) Paths system, and was a total of three-fourths of a mile long. The Aggie Road portion provides connectivity and traffic relief for the hundreds of students and other residents of The Circle, notably resident students of the NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine located at Wilson Hall.

Phase two will extend the protected lane along the southern border of campus along University Loop and connect to the eastern half of campus, again along Aggie Road as it departs campus toward Red Wolf Boulevard.

“We appreciate the support of our region’s Highway Commissioner, Alec Farmer, throughout the planning and grant application process,” Frey added.

When complete, the multi-use path will allow students, faculty and staff to flow across campus, and eventually serve as a connector route for future pathways in coordination with the city of Jonesboro.

“We will begin detail design on this second portion of the trail after the first of the year,” University Planner Bill Hall said. “We will also set the construction schedule during that time period.”

Arkansas State University was the only university campus awarded a TAP grant during this fall cycle.

“This new section will provide connectivity to Aggie Road and Olympic Drive on the east,” Hall added. “Our recently completed project has provided the opportunity for connection to a future downtown trail.”

With the previous $500,000 TAP grant toward Phase One, ASU matched with $100,000 to bring the total project to a $600,000 investment in campus.

The first “Bicycle Friendly University” in the state of Arkansas, ASU recently received the BFU Silver status by the League of American Bicyclists. The university is one of only 59 Silver-level in the nation.