AARP Arkansas co-sponsored two recent events to highlight the benefits of livable communities, including a presentation by world-renowned walkability expert Dan Burden, a walking audit of key roadways in Little Rock’s university district, and discussion of how to start developing a “design manual” for Arkansas roadways.
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Burden led a workshop at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock sponsored by the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention, AARP and UALR. Burden explained to the audience of 75 people how an unwalkable and unlivable community impacts the public health. Following the presentation, Burden led a walking audit of the university district. The highlight was an audit of the intersection of Kanis Road and University Avenue. This intersection, where two five-lane roads meet, is one of the most dangerous in the city.
The workshop represented Burden’s second visit to Arkansas in recent months. In October, Burden led a two-week tour of six Arkansas cities that included walking audits, workshops, and plenty of community input from elected officials and residents.
The University District Initiative and UALR hope to incorporate ideas generated during the workshop in recommendations to the city of Little Rock’s street improvements. Ideas include constructing a roundabout at Kanis and University and establishing measures designed to slow down, calm and “civilize” traffic.
A three-day transportation summit kicked off the day after Burden’s workshop. The summit, sponsored by AARP, the Arkansas Department of Health, and Metroplan (the state’s largest metropolitan planning organization) was convened to begin discussions on “phase one” of a multiphase project to create a 21st century design manual for Arkansas roadways for use by cities, planning districts, and the state Highway and Transportation Department.
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