City to conduct bike-ped safety studies for two high traffic areas

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - More and more cyclists and pedestrians by Arkansas State University and in the Downtown area have the City of Jonesboro looking to the future. Two recently approved studies aim to increase safety for bicyclists and pedestrians that could bring changes to the roadways.

"The reality is, people are looking for other ways to get out," Ted Herget told Region 8 News. "Exercising, no matter what it is."

With increasing amounts of cyclists and pedestrians hitting the streets of Jonesboro, safety for those not behind the wheel is an ever-increasing issue.

"Running, riding, walking, whatever. It's just where we are as a society."

Herget owns Gearhead Cyclehouse in Downtown Jonesboro and is an avid cyclist himself. Herget said education is key for keeping people safe when sharing the roadways.

"I think if everybody knows what the rules are, everybody wins."

The city of Jonesboro can see that.

"We know that traffic is going to increase in the city of Jonesboro," Mayor Harold Perrin told Region 8 News. "When you've got 2.5% to 3% growth per year, you're gonna have that much increase or more in vehicle or traffic"

Perrin said with that, they're trying to be proactive in all aspects of growing the city, including bicycle and pedestrian safety. Which is why the Jonesboro City Council recently approved bike-ped safety studies specifically for two areas known for cyclists and pedestrians, downtown and Johnson Avenue.

"The connectivity that we've been talking about with ASU and downtown, we want to make sure is that maybe large enough for bike trails the way it is, walking trails," Perrin said.

A look at what each roadway currently has to offer will be used to determine how suitable it could be for bike and pedestrian travel.

Herget said it's something that will help a lot.

"Take Memphis, take a lot of these little towns that are trying to implement this and it works. It's just...find it where it's a failure."

Mayor Perrin said the study should take about two to three months.

The city is also conducting it's own study of what Jonesboro residents want and they hope to incorporate all of the studies to find the best possible options for the city.

Funds for the bike-ped safety studies will come from monies in the Jonesboro Metropolitan Planning Organization's 2014 and 2015 budgets.

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