Bike Trails Improving Around Region 8

JONESBORO, AR -- As summer approaches many of us will be doing outdoor activities.  For some, that means hitting the bike trail but there is a shortage of those trails in the city.

For the last 17 years area cyclists have been trying to get some changes made along our city streets.

"We started in 1990 trying to get more biking lanes and safe lanes in Jonesboro," said Jim Stearns.

Now, their wish is becoming a reality.

"The greenway is being developed we hope to begin construction on that in August," said Jason Wilkie.

The city is finishing up the plans for the project that will run behind The Mall at Turtle Creek after the plans are finalized on June 19th bids will be gathered so that construction can start as scheduled.  One project that is officially underway in the city is in the southern part of town.

"We've just announced the construction at Lawson Road which will include a bike lane with that and over the next few years I think we can extend that bike lane from Highway 49 to Highway one," said Wilkie.

"I think the city is making a progressive move to start considering bike lanes in all new street improvements.  We have an opportunity to make things better for recreational athletes and for people who are considering fitness goals," said Stearns.

Jim stearns is a member of the Ridge Riders club in Jonesboro and said that more and more people are taking up cycling but some are weary about getting out onto the open road.

"To get from point 'a' to point 'b', sometimes you have to be out on a busy road.  It's frustrating for the cyclists and it's frustrating to the drivers because they're not accustomed to seeing us out," said Stearns.

And other cyclists seem to agree.

"I think it would help convince people to ride their bikes and make the city a lot more healthy," said Claire Richardson.

"People that are competitive cyclists --  they're going to ride regardless whether they've got a bike lane or a road.  Beginners, that person is just trying.  They want to feel safe.   They want to feel like it is something that is doable for them," said Stearns.

The Ridge Riders meet every Tuesday and Thursday just before six to ride in Jonesboro.