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FAYETTEVILLE -- Two groups working on regional transportation alternatives will have joint open houses this week to share information with the public and learn what people want travel around Northwest Arkansas to look like.

The Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission is starting on a 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan.

Plan to attend

Two joint open houses set this week, in Rogers and Fayetteville, will focus on transportation and public transit plans for the region. The first session is Wednesday at the Rogers Public Library, 711 S. Dixieland Road. The second session Thursday is at the Fayetteville Town Center, 15 W. Mountain St. Both sessions will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The sessions will be a drop-in format, with no formal presentations.

Source: Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission

Meanwhile, a group of planners and transit providers are working on a 10-year, regional public transit development plan, called Connect Northwest Arkansas. Alliance Transportation Group is the consulting firm commissioned by Regional Planning to do the $280,000 study and transit plan.

The public transit plan has developed bus routes for participating cities based on where people want to go and when that should improve connectivity, save riders time and provide a solid foundation for development. Alliance and regional planners have worked with Razorback Transit, Ozark Regional Transit to develop proposed routes.

"Our goal at these meetings is to obtain input from the residents to, hopefully, confirm that we have taken all options for growth and development of transit into consideration," said Joel Gardner, executive director at Regional Transit. "If there are any areas that we have overlooked, I hope that the attendees at these meetings can help us identify them and make recommendations for transit improvements."

The alliance staff will take comments and answer questions at the meetings in Fayetteville and Rogers. They also will have a short survey available. A public transit plan for the region was last adopted in 2010.

Tim Simon, staff member with alliance, said the study wil recommend regional goals and objectives, routes, local and regional money sources, performance measures and targets, levels of service and what areas should be served by public transit.

Land use and housing will be considered, he said. The plan has to be sustainable, scalable and designed to be implemented in phases, he said.

Plans will be developed specifically for Ozark Transit and the University of Arkansas' Razorback Transit to define their roles in a regional system, Simon said.

Alliance was selected based on its expertise in public transit planning, ridership forecasting, modeling and its record of completing plans that can be implemented, according to Tim Conklin, with regional planning. Alliance has worked at the local and state level in Arkansas, including statewide public transit coordination plans and a public transit safety plan, and is working on numerous projects in other states including in Austin, Texas, and Boulder, Colo.

Regional Planning is beginning to update the Metropolitan Transportation Plan. The plan will provide a long-range, comprehensive look at the region's transportation needs including highways, public transit, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

Regional Planning will have poster boards and maps describing population and growth trends; recent and ongoing road projects; the 2045 proposed road network; and the regional bicycle and pedestrian master plan.

Staff members will also have a short opinion survey and will be available to take comments and answer questions.

NW News on 10/13/2019

Print Headline: Transportation plans the focus of two sessions

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