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The city's Board of Directors voted to keep bike lane delineators at the intersection of West Jefferson Street and North Mt. Olive Street during its meeting Tuesday night.

The move comes after a motion to remove the delineators, proposed by Ward 3 Director Marla Sappington during the May 7 director's meeting. Sappington expressed frustration on behalf of her constituents about the placement of the delineators, saying they're "in the way" and drivers almost collide with other cars trying to avoid them.

Twelve community members spoke against removing bike lane delineators, saying they're not only keeping cyclists safe, but they're bringing attention to drivers to slow down and respect bicyclists like they were intended to do.

"Cars today are built for highways, not for neighborhood streets. Which means we have to actively work together as a community and as individuals who operate these cars to be mindful of the people around us, whether it's fellow motorists, families out walking their dog, or people on bikes," said Meghan Feyerabend of South Wright Street. "Because of the technology now available to us, protected bike lanes have had to become the standard to keep our communities safe. We have to take some personal responsibility here, and not let the distractions and rapid advances in the technology of driving prevent our town from being family friendly."

Director Bob Coleman, at large, made a motion to leave the path as it is. Director Carol Smiley, at large, seconded the motion. Directors Sappington and Lesa Rissler, ward 4, opposed the motion.

The motion passed.

The delineators were placed at the intersection after the city was awarded a grant from the Walton Family Foundation. They're made out of a material known as flex curb, which isn't typically forgiving, Community Development Director Don Clark said.

"There are multiple materials that can be used as bike lane delineators," Clark said. "If the Board decides to make this permanent, (we) as staff would do necessary research for what best fits our community."

The grant's goal was to "create a low-stress bike route to downtown (Siloam Springs) and connect the trail by making a neighborhood greenway." Springdale and Fayetteville were also recipients of the grant.

The Board of Directors approved the project at its Oct. 16, 2018, meeting. The project spans one year and looks to study the relationship between the efficacy of traffic alleviation measures such as speed humps and tables on city streets and the level of use by nonmotorists, like pedestrians and cyclists, on those streets, according to a Nov. 14, 2018, edition of the Siloam Springs Herald-Leader. A focus of the project are pinch points, or a part of the roadway consisting of two spaces, both of which are contained by railing and extend into the roadway directly across from one another, resulting in a narrowed portion of the road in which only one vehicle can pass through at a time.

The study will conduct user-insight surveys and collect data about how many pedestrians and cyclists utilize the greenway in the year the project is in place. The data is provided by the city of Siloam Springs quarterly.

In other business, the board:

• Approved a capital budget amendment of $5,750 for a flail mower for the public works department.

• Adopted an amendment to the city's municipal code that allows discretionary purchases without competitive bids for items and services totalling less than $1,100. Examples of items and services include contracts with students, postage, travel and artwork.

• Approved an application for an 80/20 grant from the Arkansas Department of Transportation to build a West Harvard Street side path. Pending final design, the estimated cost of the project is currently $620,000. The grant would cover $496,000. Since this is a side path, both pedestrians and bicyclists would be able to use the path.

• Approved an application for a 90/10 grant from the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics for vault equipment upgrades at the airport. The grant is for $17,550, but full project costs are estimated to be $19,500. The last $1,950 in funding is expected to come from savings in other airport-related projects. However, if anticipated savings aren't available, the airport will have to amend its budget to pay for the project.

• City Administrator Phillip Patterson reported the Police Department purchased a 2019 Dodge Durango for $30,883.81.

• Patterson also reported that according to April sales tax data, the city is down 5%, or $21,000 compared to April 2018. Patterson said he believes the data is an anomaly and city staff is watching the data closely. Patterson also reported the county is up 4% for the month and down 14% for the year.

General News on 05/26/2019

Print Headline: Directors leave bike delineators at intersection

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