NEABC News

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Update for June 2009

Our June meeting was held on the 16th at The Spot in downtown Jonesboro.  The main topic of the meeting was the proposed bicycle route map from Jonesboro Parks and Recreation.  During our planning of the Share the Road sign installations, we discovered that no bicycle signage of any kind is allowed on state roadways unless they are designated bicycle routes.  According to John Mathis of the Arkansas State Highway Dept., in order for AHTD to issue a signage permit, the road needs an official designation of being a bike route by the city or county, and it must have sufficient (4 ft.) shoulders. As it stands now, very few of Jonesboro's mapped routes would qualify which meant that the proposed map needed to be slightly amended.  Some of the state roads that do not meet the standards include Dan Ave., South Culberhouse, Hwy. 141, and Harrisburg Road.  The state roadways that were mapped will be named as "future bicycle routes," and where they were available, alternate routes were added. Those attending the meeting unanimously approved the amendments to the map.  Jeff Owens of Jonesboro Parks and Recreation is now in the process of getting the map approved by the city as part of the city's master street plan and then finally as a part of the master land use plan. There is an up-side to this development; once the city has adopted the new map with state roads designated as "future bicycle routes", the AHTD has to make provisions for cyclists when they make improvements to those roads.
 
As of this month, 15 large Share the Road signs have been purchased and are in the hands of the City of Jonesboro awaiting installation.  The signs will start going up along the "north route" starting with Philadelphia Rd.  We will not be able to use existing sign-posts for the large signs so the city is providing us with a few posts to get us started and we will have to purchase any additional posts needed.  To keep costs down and make installation much simpler, a smaller sign that will be able to share a post with another sign will be used in town.  The proposed design for this sign is to use the same graphic as the large minus the car. (As the design as it is now will not fit on a smaller rectangular sign.)  Mayor Perrin is planning to hold a press conference to announce the installation of the new signs.... an update will be posted on this as the date and time are scheduled. 
 
In other news, there are a couple of grant applications in the works.  NEABC and Jonesboro Parks and Recreation are co-applying for a grant through Bikes Belong (www.bikesbelong.org) to help fund Phase I of the Greenway. NEABC is also working on a matching grant from the Alliance for Biking and Walking that is just for fledgling groups like ours.  
 
*****If you have not paid your NEABC dues or purchased a Share the Road sign, please take a minute to do so!  You may send a check to the address at the bottom of the page or pay online through the paypal link to the right.  (You do not have to have a paypal account to pay through paypal, just a credit card.) Please make sure you include your name, address, and email address with your payment. The proceeds of membership dues go toward funding programs and projects that help improve the safety of cyclists in Northeast Arkansas.  
 

Bike Month a Success!

As you might all know, May is National Bike Month.  Throughout the month of May, groups and people around the country hold events and try to bring awareness to bicycling.  NEABC was no exception.
At the May 5th Jonesboro City Council Meeting, Mayor Perrin made a proclamation declaring that May is Bike Month in Jonesboro.  He also kicked-off our Share the Road campaign by showing off our sign and letting everyone know that he and the city are fully behind the campaign to help keep cyclists safe.
On May 11th, KAIT allowed Sally Broadaway (NEABC President) to give the "A Better Region 8" commentary on the evening news.  The subject was bicycle safety and sharing the road.
May 15th was the official National Bike to Work Day.  A big "Thank You" goes to everyone who came out to ride in our inaugural Bike to Work Day event!  Also, "Many Thanks" to Mayor Perrin, Jonesboro Parks and Recreation, JETS, the Jonesboro Police Dept., and The Daily Grind for helping make the event safe and fun for everyone! 
For those who missed it, we had about 30 or so riders (plus two kiddos in trailers) attend.  Mayor Perrin kicked off the ride for us, and our police escorts took us from NEA Baptist Hospital's parking lot on a 4 mile trip through Jonesboro.  We headed down Stadium, took a left on Highland, and then right onto Main St.  They actually cleared every intersection for us.... that was pretty amazing!  Once downtown, The Daily Grind provided free coffee and a great place to sit and relax before having to get to work. JETS and Parks and Recreation were on hand to provide a lift and bike portage for anyone who needed to get back to their cars.  However, it was great to see that most everyone rode to the start. 
..... Not bad at all for our first ever Bike Month!