Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Citizens Hire Firm to Evaluate Highway Department's Work and Make Recommendations

Several members of the Improve 30 Crossing community have come together along with a few key donors to hire a transportation engineering consulting firm to help strengthen the independent, citizen-led voice in the broader 30 Crossing debate. The firm retained is Smart Mobility, Inc. The founder and principal of the firm, Norm Marshall, has a math degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a Masters degree in engineering sciences from Dartmouth College. Norm has decades of experience with traffic modeling, evaluating government agencies' proposals, and developing alternatives to address a region’s needs with a variety of transportation solutions.

Smart Mobility's work in Central Arkansas will be completed in two broad phases over the next few months. The first step will be to analyze the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department’s technical data and traffic modeling to determine if any problems, oversights and incorrect assumptions might exist in their work. The second phase will be to develop specific recommendations for addressing Little Rock's, North Little Rock's and Central Arkansas's transportation needs in the I-30 corridor, including options beyond simply expanding the highway. Smart Mobility will be able to fit pieces together that may have been passed over in isolation during the Department's Planning and Environmental Linkages study in order to produce affordable transportation solutions for downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock that increase value and livability by expanding freedom, choice, and opportunity for residents, property owners, and visitors alike.

It is important to note that not only will Smart Mobility, Inc. and Norm Marshall be providing an independent perspective regarding the Highway Department’s proposals, the firm will also be working independently of the City of Little Rock’s recently hired planning consultant. Smart Mobility will be accountable only to concerned citizen volunteers. The contract with Smart Mobility lists Tom Fennell, Eddy Moore, and Tim McKuin as members of the local team designated to help the staff at Smart Mobility complete their work, and there will be several opportunities for input from the larger Improve 30 Crossing movement over the next few months. People interested in learning more should join the Improve 30 Crossing Facebook group, read movearkansas.blogspot.com, and watch for additional details soon.

The crowd at tonight's Capitol View Stifft Station Neighborhood Association meeting heard Tom Fennell present some boulevard ideas and Tim McKuin share information about the consultant.

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