As I’ve blogged before, DOT is fully committed to supporting community efforts to treat cycling and walking as valued elements of the nation’s transportation system.
That’s why on Friday, I was pleased to help dedicate the Two Rivers Park Bridge in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The Two Rivers Park Bridge is a beautiful, 1,300 foot pedestrian and bike bridge that is the last link in a bike and pedestrian trail system connecting 20 parks and 18 miles of trails in downtown Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Pulaski County. Eighty percent of the $5.3 million project was funded by DOT’s Federal Highway Administration. The bridge will officially open to the public on July 23, and it is a beauty.
Video courtesy Gavin Lesnick, Arkansas Democrat Gazette
I want to send special thanks to Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines for his leadership on this project. He and other local officials had the vision to create a wonderful chain of parks along the river between downtown Little Rock and Pinnacle Mountain.
As Judge Villines said at the dedication, “This trail of parks is witness to the fact that when people work together, dreams come true.”
As an avid cyclist, I was excited to see that this project truly has so much support from the community. Even the 110 degree heat did not stop hundreds of bike enthusiasts from attending the event and taking their first ride across the new span. I loved seeing them all out there, and I truly appreciate the heartfelt welcome they gave me.
Cycling is one of the few activities that gives us the chance to keep fit and reach a destination, or just enjoy the journey. It brings families closer together, and people closer to nature. And, believe me, Arkansas has plenty of natural beauty to reward a cyclist.
An increasing demand for cycling opportunities is clearly a fact of life in America today. So, we at DOT are proud to support bicycle and pedestrian-friendly projects like this one.
After the bridge dedication, I also had the opportunity to break ground on the first project of the much anticipated Bella Vista Bypass in Hiwasse with Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, U.S. Senator Mark Pryor, Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department Director Dan Flowers, and other state highway officials. This project, funded in part by $10 million from a TIGER grant, will link important freight routes and open the region to economic growth.
Thank you to the people of Arkansas for your commitment to these important transportation enhancements. They are truly an inspiration for communities across the country. And the next time I come back, I look forward to bringing my bicycle.