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Mahatma: Every time I take U.S. 1 near Marianna, I am bothered and bewildered by a mile or more of sidewalk on both sides of the road. Why sidewalks in a rural area where no pedestrian has been observed over many years? If the Arkansas Department of Transportation is trying to encourage people to walk more in the area, they should put up signs telling them not to feed the mosquitoes. -- Earl

Dear Earl: If you were bewitched as well, there would be a song.

The department tells us there were right-of-way constraints here that prevented an open shoulder, mainly there being a cemetery adjacent to the highway. The standard in such a case is to build sidewalks in lieu of an open shoulder so that pedestrians aren't forced to walk in the road.

Regarding mosquitoes, we have no doubt there are plenty there. But in our experience the worst mosquitoes ever are in Maine. No wonder the moose are grumpy.

Most Esteemed Mahatma: What's going on with construction at the Fair Park roundabout? The northbound lane has been closed for weeks. This is a critical route through Little Rock and the inconvenience to the public from this seemingly permanent lane closure is considerable. -- Frustrated Commuter

Dear Frustrated: Seeking even more esteem, we asked Jon Honeywell about this. He's the public works director for the city of Little Rock.

Construction here involves two projects, he said. One was to prepare the roundabout for the placing of a new sculpture. The second was to replace a failed drainage culvert under Fair Park Boulevard.

Work includes building retaining walls, under drains and base material that will support the new sculpture. A contract time of 60 days is over near the end of May, so expect the detours to be ended and traffic returned to normal.

The city, Honeywell said, understands the impact of such projects and makes every effort to minimize the effects.

Dear Mahatma: Some time in the past year I got a handicapped placard and have tried to pay attention to the rules for its use. One of those rules is to not drive with the hanger on the rearview mirror while the vehicle is in motion. This is written on the placard itself. -- Dennis Anyone?

Dear Dennis: It's wholly a pleasure to hear from you.

Regarding the hanging handicapped placard, thanks for the reminder. Many folks have those. And it does indeed say not to have it up while driving.

Because, duh, it can obscure vision. In fact, this is a federal regulation. Don't be messing with the federal government.

This reminds us of one of the greatest hits of state traffic law, Arkansas Code Annotated 27-37-302, which says that no one shall drive any motor vehicle with any sign, poster or other nontransparent material on the front windshield, side or rear windows if it obstructs the driver's view or the safe operation of the vehicle.

Metro on 05/18/2019

Print Headline: DRIVETIME MAHATMA: What's up with the sidewalks?


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Archived Comments

  • LR1955
    May 18, 2019 at 9:05 a.m.

    Regarding mosquitoes, my experience says the worst mosquitoes are Canada, with Northern WI & MN close behind. Or maybe I’m thinking biting flies.

  • Seitan
    May 18, 2019 at 9:57 a.m.

    Northern Alaska has intense swarms of huge mosquitoes for about a month or so every summer. One of the worse things I have ever encountered. We used to call them the state bird.

  • Skeptic1
    May 18, 2019 at 10:11 a.m.

    Sidewalks in the middle of nowhere and bridges to nowhere are the results of local pork barrel bills that fleece the taxpayer. I bet you can trace the money back to the representative that got the money approved.

  • Jfish1
    May 18, 2019 at 5:33 p.m.

    Not necessarily Skeptic, in some cities there are practically no sidewalks, so you have to start somewhere. Many cities now require sidewalks when there is new construction taking place, however, many cities such as Jonesboro are way behind in this regard. I would take a sidewalk any day over one of those beautifully paved shoulders.