by Max Brantley
The Downtown Little Rock Partnership and the city of Little Rock continued its pedestrian safety campaign today with a media event at La Harpe Boulevard and President Clinton Avenue, site of the most pedestrian accidents in the city.
"As the River Market District visitor numbers increase," said Sharon Priest, DLRP executive director, "and as the number of people living downtown increases, we become more walkable—a sign of a healthy and vibrant downtown."
The growing number of pedestrians is joined by a growing number of bicyclists who also share this key downtown crossroad with cars, trucks, buses, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and River Rail trolleys. Motorists use La Harpe as a connector to I-30. This heavily trafficked street was designed to get vehicles through downtown quickly.
Mayor Mark Stodola added, "We want a downtown that is safe for its citizens and its tourists. We are appealing to all Arkansans to use caution and increased awareness as they pass through this intersection. We also want to remind motorists that pedestrians have the right of way in the crosswalks when turning." Stepped up police patrols are also in place in the River Market.
Counting on the traffic that barrels through Clinton on La Harpe to slow down is a foolish leap of faith, I can testify. Clinton traffic is bad to ignore crosswalk signals and run down pedestrians with the right of way as well. Short of some real traffic calming devices there (in other words items that slow traffic, to non-Zen motorists' certain road rage response), the only real advice is "Be careful out there non-motorists."
The plastic warning figures are going to stay in place for a time. At least until someone mows them down. Never mind. They are gone.