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Arkansas Officials Surround State Capitol With Even More Parking

10:45 AM EST on December 5, 2011

Another day, another sad tale of government officials trying to cram as many parking spaces downtown as possible.

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Today's example is especially disappointing because what was standing in the way of 100 additional parking spaces near the state capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas were the sort of things that make cities nice: namely trees and sidewalks.

Tim McKuin at Network blog Move Arkansas was there when they were bringing out the chainsaws. The worst part, he says, is that this uninterrupted asphalt lake is right in the middle of about half a dozen transit stops. But those stops aren't too inviting anymore:

So, eight bus routes make multiple stops on different sides of the Capitol grounds, yet there seems to have been no thought or effort put forth to make the experience more pleasant for transit riders on their walk between the stops and the buildings they work in. The State bends over backwards to devote more and more limited space to cars in reaction to a perceived parking problem, but what have they done to actually solve that problem? What have they done to make it easy and convenient for employees to ride the bus? What have they done to make biking to work safe and convenient? 100 people deciding to ride a bus to work is no different from carving out 100 new parking spaces, except 100 new transit riders would have allowed those trees to continue providing a little shade for the cars in the parking lot.

I bet some very small steps toward improving the connections to the bus stops would result in way more than 100 state employees choosing to ride transit to work. That seems like a smarter long-term solution than just slashing trees and paving everything in sight... and a much better use of my tax dollars.

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If you're still not convinced, check out this view from behind the capitol. Ugh. That's no way to live up to Little Rock's nickname, "the San Francisco of the South."

Elsewhere on the Network today: Seattle Transit Blog explores the tendency for every transportation faction to believe it is subsidizing another mode. Decatur Metro looks at how much gas prices have to rise to get folks to trade their car commute for transit in different cities across the US. And Systemic Failure shares a study that found states with medical marijuana laws had lower traffic fatality rates.

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