by Max Brantley
Tim McKuin, whose MoveArkansas blog tries to encourage a more progressive view of city life in cycling, transiit planning and design, finds little to cheer in recent work by the secretary of state's office on the west side of the Capitol groundss Dozens of trees have been felled to create more parking spaces and the work has just about removed the last green space in the sea of asphalt serving state buildings.
He provided the photos above on his blog, plus lots more. He engages in some wishful thinking about state planning.
The really amazing part about the state's approach is that they seem to be completely ignoring ways that might simply lessen the supposed need for parking spaces. I can think of several changes that would make alternatives to driving more attractive to state workers, and when there are viable alternatives to driving, example after example worldwide shows that people will use them.
Alternatives to driving? Pshaw, man. This is Arkansas. Get 100 state employees to ride the bus? Right.
That said, I'd note that hundreds of UAMS employees park in the remote War Memorial Stadium lot and get ferried to work by charter bus. I'd also note that the city of Little Rock has regulations on breaking up parking lots with greenery. Either a) the state isn't covered or b) the regulations are clearly inadequate. And if the state isn't covered, which I suspect to be the case, it should honor the spirit of them all the same.
PS — UPDATE: I'm still trying to run down the thinking on this decision. Secretary of State Mark Martin's office says this particular decision, though on the grounds generally part of Martin's responsibility, was made by the Arkansas Building Authority. I have a call for more information.