A CLOSER LOOK: a temporary pedestrian access project becomes permanent


NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KFTA) — For the first time, a temporary Tactical Urbanism project will become permanent at an intersection near the Yvonne Richardson Community Center (YRCC) in Fayetteville.

Sidewalk connections, accessible ramps, crosswalks, and construction of a traffic island are improvements that will be made, according to the City of Fayetteville Assistant Transportation Manager Keith Shreve. The estimated cost is $18,000 and is funded through a Capital Improvement Program.

For the next three weeks, beginning Monday, February 3, and weather permitting, Rock Street (between College and Willow Avenues) and Mill Avenue (between Rock and South Streets) will have some lane restrictions in place so the project can be completed. Drivers should expect delays or consider an alternate route.

The construction of the traffic islands means it will be a shorter distance for people to get across the entire intersection and controlling traffic flow. “You can cross one lane at a time and you’ll have a safe place to stand where there is no car traffic,” said Shreve.

The term Tactical Urbanism became popular around 2010 and involves urban change that’s a temporary, short-term commitment with low-risks and high rewards. Fayetteville picked up on the concept in 2017. These are community-led projects that improve neighborhoods and gathering places.

A mini-roundabout was installed in January 2017 at Spring Street and North School Avenue as a pilot project. The purpose of the roundabout was to “improve pedestrian and bike connectivity from the Fayetteville Square to the Razorback Greenway,” according to the city’s website. The cost was about $2,700.

City of Rogers Director of Community Development John McCurdy said the city does use Tactical Urbanism, but in his opinion, it depends on how it’s defined, “it’s a subjective term.”

Rogers has tested a couple to projects that would fall under the guidelines of Tactical Urbanism such as bike and pedestrian facilities. “That project led into a permanent design and it’s basically free … the cost was the paint.”

There is a re-striping project going on in downtown Rogers, and McCurdy said that could be considered Tactical Urbanism. “We’re using paint … no concrete is involved. We are getting streetscapes done without breaking the bank,” he said.

A few years back, McCurdy said the city engaged with citizens to stripe streets and create beautification projects such as the one on Poplar Street.

In Rogers, you can make a suggestion for an improvement on its “Report a Concern” tab of its website.

Bentonville and Bella Vista have also created improvements via Tactical Urbanism.

Global creations include changing intersections into pedestrian plazas, pop-up parks in parking spaces, installing crowd-sourced signage.

Here are other cities that have implemented Tactical Urbanism:

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