Planning Commission approves Bentonville bike, pedestrian plan

NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANTHONY REYES @NWATONYR The Bentonville City Hall building Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017 in downtown Bentonville.

BENTONVILLE -- The Planning Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved the city's bike and pedestrian plan.

David Wright, Parks and Recreation director, gave a plan overview at the beginning of the meeting.

The plan started being stitched together in early 2019, and there was a public reveal Feb. 20, 2020, right before covid-19 hit, Wright said.

City officials also were starting to work on the street plan, and Wright said it was important the plans work in tandem.

"We did not want to create a document that would conflict with the master street plan," Wright said. "We pushed pause to make sure these two documents were singing from the same set of music. These two plans work really well together."

The street plan was approved by the City Council in January.

There were community forums, an online survey that more than 550 people took, and the city also had pop-up events to discuss the bike and pedestrian plan.

"We wanted to create a document that citizens want," Wright said.

Connecting Bentonville identifies strategies to increase safety and connectivity for people who bicycle and walk in Bentonville, according to plan documents.

The plan employs condition analyses in conjunction with community feedback to propose a network that increases access to key community destinations, as well as encourages bicycling and walking for numerous trip types throughout the community, according to the plan.

The network is accompanied by prioritization metrics outlining how the system could be implemented, plans for moving projects to design and construction and an action plan to ensure success. A key component of the plan is forward-looking, defining progress and success through benchmarking a variety of metrics, according to the plan.

Connecting Bentonville will serve as a resource and guiding document for implementation of local bicycle and pedestrian projects to advance the plan's vision.

Project goals include emphasizing a network of safe bikeways and walkways, to establish a connected network of low-stress bicycle and pedestrian facilities providing access to community destinations, to develop recommendations to increase access in the community through expanding the network to link more destinations and connect people to the larger network. The plan also recognizes more users will be drawn to a comfortable and convenient network of bikeways and walkways, according to Wright's presentation.

One goal is to is to create a loop trail system that would encompass 3o to 35 miles in the city, Wright said.

The plan will go to the City Council for approval March 30.

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Other action

The Bentonville Planning Commission on Tuesday:

Approved rezoning Southeast 30th Street and Southeast John Rollow Drive from general commercial to mixed-use commercial.

Approved rezoning 514 S.E. E St. from medium-density residential to downtown edge.

Approved rezoning 312 S. Main St. from downtown edge to downtown core.

Approved rezoning 900 S.W. Regional Airport Blvd. from agricultural to general commercial.

Denied a rezoning from neighborhood commercial to general commercial on Northwest Trinity Way.

Approved rezoning 404 S.E. Sixth St. from single-family residential to downtown edge.

Approved rezoning 402 S.E. D St. from single-family residential to downtown edge at

Approved a permit for Coler Grove at 2500 N.W. Grove Lane.

Denied a sidewalk waiver at 708 Jefferson St.

Source: Bentonville Planning Commission