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FORT SMITH -- A new development is in the works to help make the city of Greenwood more friendly to pedestrians and bike riders.

The city and the Frontier Metropolitan Planning Organization in Fort Smith are working together to create a new bicycle and pedestrian plan. Greenwood Mayor Doug Kinslow said Friday that the plan is important because the city believes this is what people want.

"The trail system that was initiated several years ago here in Greenwood, we've slowly but surely added to it, and people enjoy it," Kinslow said. "It's just a perfect way for people to get out and enjoy the outdoors and exercise and that sort of thing."

Making Greenwood more walkable, Kinslow said, is going to be very important.

"When people move into Greenwood, or anywhere else for that matter, I think ... one of the things they're looking for is the pedestrian, bicycle and trail system," Kinslow said.

Kinslow said Greenwood is trying to continue on with what it already has and make it better for people in town.

Cody Schindler, the planning organization's transportation planner/bike and pedestrian coordinator, said by email Wednesday that Greenwood has a bicycle and pedestrian plan that is still in effect, but needs to be updated. It contains three phases of facility recommendations spanning from 2006 through 2014. A draft version of the new plan provided by Schindler states this iteration originated in 2005.

Schindler said work on the new Greenwood Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan started in July, when the planning organization met with city officials and started collecting data on sidewalks. The framework for the plan has been developed, and information from the previous plan has been gathered, along with current data.

Currently, Schindler said, the new bicycle and pedestrian plan is in the public involvement stage. People can take part in an online survey for the plan that is available on Frontier Metropolitan Planning's website and Facebook page. The organization started the survey on Oct. 28, and plans to let it run until the end of November.

"Once the public involvement process is over with, we will review and evaluate to see if facilities need to be added," Schindler said. "The city of Greenwood will have to approve the plan, then Frontier MPO's technical committee and policy board will approve it. This should happen in 2020 spring/summer."

Getting the community to offer input on the new bicycle and pedestrian plan is important because the city needs to put trails and sidewalks where people are, Kinslow said.

"And if we build a trail going out to somewhere and people don't utilize it, we wasted time and certainly taxpayers' money, so we want to know where the folks would like to see them and what makes sense best for the city," Kinslow said.

Kinslow believes that at least one more public involvement meeting like the Oct. 29 open house will probably be held.

The draft of the new bicycle and pedestrian plan lays out three specific goals. The goals, in turn, contain a series of objectives, smaller targets that will help achieve them, as well as policies to guide city and community members on how to accomplish each objective, including connecting points of interest, connecting to the natural environment and supporting the local economy.

Schindler said the new Greenwood bicycle and pedestrian plan will connect with Frontier Metropolitan Planning's regional bicycle and pedestrian plan. The plan currently proposes building 24.48 miles of sidewalks and 55.26 miles of bikeways, including multiuse trails, but that can change.

The planning organization previously worked to develop bicycle and pedestrian plans with Van Buren and Alma, Schindler said. Those plans were adopted earlier this year.

State Desk on 11/11/2019

Print Headline: Greenwood teams with planners on walking, bike trails


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