Expanding Trails Call for More Safety Measures

With beautiful weather — and many schools on summer vacation — the Razorback Regional Greenway is full of people and bicycles.
 Local outdoor lovers can now relax when navigating their favorite trails.
“The Razorback Regional Greenway is kind of the spine of the system of trails through northwest Arkansas, so each city is taking measures to expand that trail,” said Elizabeth Bowen, project manager of  the Northwest Arkansas Planning Commission.
She says several expansion projects are in the works for the trail system.
New directional signs will also go up to aid in trail safety, something cyclist Bret Arnold thinks is especially important, because of large amount of college students using the trail.
“I know as a student, this is a lot easier than taking a car from place to place, so if I just wanted to take a bag and ride down to the coffee shop to go study, or up to the library then I’d love to do that, and the safer the trail is, the more comfortable I feel using it,” said Arnold.
Each town or city along the trail has a set number of police officers on patrol, but with more trail expansion, extra safety measures are needed.
“We are going to have to make some accommodations and hopefully in the future we’ll get more officers to accommodate the expanding trails and the activity on the trails,” said Corporal Dallas Brashear of the Fayetteville Police Department.
He says your safety isn’t just up to police– you need to be the one on the lookout to protect yourself.
“When you’re using the trail, own the trail, walk around and present an air of confidence. Know your surroundings, try to use the trail during the daytime hours, know where you are,” said Brashear
Arnold says he’s never felt threatened during the day-but traveling at night could be a concern
 “I think it’s relatively well lit but I don’t know if I would advise a woman to walk alone on the trail,” said Arnold.
But police across northwest Arkansas are working together – to keep our trails safe.
“Basically in effect all of our patrol officers are trail officers, we have access to the trail at every point that is crosses a major intersection and we also do extra patrols on those trails as a normal patrol duty,” said Brashear.
Trail planners say the new routes will be complete by 2020 and you should see signage go up over the next few weeks.

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