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story.lead_photo.caption Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola speaks at the Downtown Little Rock Partnership's press conference to raise awareness of pedestrian safety in the downtown area on Monday, April 8, 2013. - Photo by Lee Hogan

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola on Monday said the city is focused on making Little Rock's downtown area safer for pedestrians.

Stodola, along with downtown leaders, spoke at the first of four Downtown Little Rock Partnership press conferences to bring awareness to its Pedestrian Safety Campaign.

The first event was held in front of eStem Public Charter School at the corner of 3rd and Louisiana streets.

Partnership officials said in a Monday news release that its safety subcommittee for the Main Street Revitalization Committee was asked to address downtown community safety issues as well.

John Bacon, chief executive officer for eStem, said the school's 1,400-plus students represent a large portion of downtown pedestrians and the institution is happy to be in Little Rock's downtown area.

The proximity of museums, city and state governments and businesses makes the downtown area a "living laboratory," Bacon said.

Bacon said eStem's most important issue is creating a safe environment for teachers and students, and that eStem appreciates the efforts of the city to keep the downtown area safe.

Stodola noted that the ability to have a walkable city, especially downtown, and being aware of the benefits to pedestrians is important.

Stan Dimitrov, chair of the Partnership's Pedestrian Safety Committee, said the movement has invested in various areas, such as more police, to ensure pedestrian safety.

The Partnership will host three other press conferences this month to feature other downtown locations of "special importance" to pedestrians and drivers, the release states.

Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more details.

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