FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Should they stay or should they go? That’s the question the City of Fayetteville has been asking the public regarding a protected bike lane project on Rolling Hills Drive.
City officials say a compromise has been made and changes will be coming soon.
“What we did learn from the pilot is that there is a strong interest in that street for biking and for walking, especially. We do want to include it in the phase two of the bond project…a fully protected bike facility that will be separate from the street on that road,” said Dane Eifling, Bicycle & Pedestrian Programs Coordinator for the city.
The one-year protected bike lane project was met with mixed reviews.
It was organized by BikeNWA and completely funded by a grant from the Walton Family Foundation.
Maintenance was an issue, Eifling says. “We had a video camera that we put out, like a time lapse camera. I got to see how the street functioned and who was using the bike lanes.”
The plan is to remove the rubber blocks and replace them with rumble strips.
“It’s lower-profile and combined with reflectors, highway reflectors in the buffer space,” Eifling says.
However, not everyone is convinced this is the right step forward.
Liz Krauft and her children ride their bikes to Butterfield Trail Elementary School several times a week.
“[Rumble strips] makes Rolling Hills look more like a highway. When you have highway infrastructure on a street, it doesn’t send a good message,” she said.
Krauft says rumble strips are not the compromise she was hoping for.
She prefers keeping the block model. “I would definitely like to see them stay. I would recommend a different product that would be more appropriate, like a rounded product that has been used in Springdale downtown.”
How the city will pay for these changes, and when the rumble strips will be installed, is still up in the air.
“We will be interested to see how people respond to them because they are a low-cost option,” Eifling said. “We are just trying to listen to everybody.”
Additional changes to Rolling Hills Drive will be included in the 2023 Bond Project.