Spotlight on Conway's Jump Start Project

Since fall of 2013, redevelopment plans have been in the works for Conway’s Markham Street. Identified as an important corridor connecting downtown, Hendrix College, and Hendrix Village – the redevelopment plans show promise for additional housing options and improved walkability.

The initial analysis from consultants Gateway Planning and Dan Burden explained some key issues regarding transportation choices. Markham Street has low traffic volumes, fast-moving vehicles, and very little amenities for pedestrians or bicyclists to access the area. Immediately thoughts of a street redesign began dreaming up ways to create places for people rather than cars.

This is a typical view of Conway’s Jump Start area.


By the end of the Jump Start planning process, plans will be made to transform the Markham Street corridor to something like this.


“It will have something for everyone whether you’re a new tech company looking for somewhere to relocate or a single parent and you just want to live in an area that’s walkable where your kids have a great park across the street,” said Wes Craiglow, Deputy Director for City of Conway, in an interview for the Log Cabin Democrat

 In a poll conducted at a previous Markham Street public meeting:

  • 60% said the future of Markham Street is very important to the future of Conway
  • When asked “When considering new development, my highest priority for my neighborhood is” 64% selected all options of neighborhood amenities, walkability, and neighborhood character/design
  • 75% said they see Markham Street area supporting a mixed population of families with children, students, and aging in-place or empty nesters

For more on the survey visit the Log Cabin Democrat. To stay updated on Conway's Jump Start, bookmark

Conway-Little Rock Express Bus Feasibility Study

Metroplan has released a study that determines the feasibility of providing an express bus service between the cities of Conway, Little Rock, and North Little Rock during peak travel hours. The study, “Conway-Little Rock Express Bus Feasibility Study” was designed to examine the introduction of express bus transit service in the I-40 corridor to meet travel demand across regional activity and employment centers. The study examines two alternative route alignments and describes the nature of potential ridership, costs, revenues, and other public benefits of the proposed service.

The route selected utilizes the I-40/I-30 alignment beginning with two stops in Conway, stops in North Little Rock and at Little Rock’s River Cities Travel Center, and ending at the State Capitol Complex. The study recommends express bus service be implemented in two phases – a start up phase during the first four years and the build-out phase for year five and beyond. The target market for this service is  “choice riders”, individuals who do not depend on, but choose to ride public transportation.

While community feedback supports the idea of an express bus service — capital costs, funding sources, and operating responsibility for the express bus service remain obstacles to the implementation of a Conway-Little Rock Express Bus.

The study was initiated by officials in Faulkner County and Pulaski County who were interested in determining the feasibility of providing an express bus service between the cities of Conway, Little Rock, and North Little Rock. An express bus service is characterized by limited pick-up and drop-off locations emphasizing faster trips. More information and the complete study can be found at

Pop Up Park Hill

The organization behind the South Main Street revitalization in Little Rock is expanding Pop Up’s reach outside the Capitol City to the Park Hill neighborhood of North Little Rock.

Developed by studioMAIN and Create Little Rock, Pop Up in the Rock is a community development organization that focuses on enhancing local city areas with underdeveloped potential. 

Pop Up in the Rock is part of the national movement called the “Better Block Project” whose goal is to enhance a forgotten, desolate, or car-dominated street into a more community-oriented area for a weekend in the hopes of inspiring permanent change. 

This group of young professionals engages with community members to determine specific needs and institute changes such as bike lanes, shops, dining pop-ups and entertainment. By transforming just a few blocks into a thriving, complete locale, Pop Up in the Rock exemplifies the idea that developing potential, even block-by-block, can make our city better.



When: Saturday, September 13, 2014

           10 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Where: Park Hill neighborhood along JFK Blvd. 

Jump Start Updates

It's almost one year since Jump Start planning grants were awarded as part of our Imagine Central Arkansas long-range planning program. Last October, the Imagine Central Arkansas Partners and Regional Planning Advisory Council selected five neighborhoods in Central Arkansas to receive assistance redeveloping their areas. Those sites are:

  • Conway’s Markham St
  • Bryant’s Old Town Bryant
  • North Little Rock’s Park Hill & Levy neighborhoods
  • Little Rock’s 12th Street Corridor

In the past year walking audits of the neighborhood were accomplished to survey the needs. 

Dan Burden, renowned expert on walkability leads a group on a walk audit through Park Hill


Public meetings were held.

Conway kicks off their Jump Start project​ with a room full of residents


Input was taken on everything!

Park Hill residents use a map for a planning exercise

What will the future of these communities look like? Stay up to date with Jump Start and attend an upcoming meeting to find out. 

The goal of Jump Start is to show that development patterns featuring higher densities, mixed uses (commercial, residential and retail) and containing a variety of housing choices in a range of price points can be both commercially successful and environmentally sustainable.  As a result, such development patterns can generate more tax revenue and fewer public expenses per acre, making them more sustainable over time from the public sector standpoint.

Jump Start info

Jump Start Presentations

Bryant Original Town Visioning Workshop - February 3rd meeting

Bryant Original Town Draft Design Review - February 5th meeting

North Little Rock Park Hill Draft Design Review - February 7th meeting

Conway Markham Street Draft Design Review - February 26th meeting

North Little Rock Levy Visioning Workshop - February 27th meeting

North Little Rock Levy Draft Design Review - March 1st meeting

Little Rock 12th Street - check back after March 31st Stakeholder Meeting


Jump Start Visioning kicks off week of December 2!

Five neighborhoods across Central Arkansas need your help on crafting a vision for the future for their area! Jump Start Visioning Week is your opportunity to helm the future of your neighborhood.

Monday, December 2
Conway: Markham Street
Conway Chamber of Commerce, 900 Oak Street

Tuesday, December 3
Little Rock: 12th Street
Willie Hinton Center, 3805 West 12th Street

Wednesday, December 4
North Little Rock: Park Hill Neighborhood
Park Hill Presbyterian Church, 3520 John F. Kennedy Boulevard

*POSTPONED UNTIL EARLY 2014* Thursday, December 5
North Little Rock: Levy Neighborhood
Levy Baptist Church, 3501 Pike Avenue

*POSTPONED UNTIL EARLY 2014* Friday, December 6
Bryant: Old Town Bryant
Bryant High School – Community Room, 805 Reynolds Road

            All meetings begin at 6 pm and are open to the public.

If you live in or near one of these neighborhoods and are invested in the outcome of your neighborhood in the next five, ten or twenty years -- then you should attend a Jump Start visioning workshop. This is your chance to let city officials, planners, business owners, and your neighbors know what you want and more importantly how you want to get there.

In October the Imagine Central Arkansas Partners (ICAP) selected five neighborhoods to receive planning assistance to focus on implementing a vision for their communities. Each site is awarded up to $200,000 in federal funded individual consultant-led planning assistance to build specific development concept plans that include market analyses, form-based development codes, guidance on infrastructure investments, feasibility analysis and implementation process.  The consultant team is led by Gateway Planning and includes notable subconsultants: ICF International, The Design Group, Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, Catalyst Commercial, and Morris Beacon Design.

Jump Start Projects in Central Arkansas

In conjunction with Imagine Central Arkansas, Jump Start Projects were selected to show that development patterns featuring higher densities, mixed uses (commercial, residential and retail) and containing a variety of housing choices in a range of price points can be both commercially successful and environmentally sustainable.  As a result, such development patterns can generate more tax revenue and fewer public expenses per acre, making them more sustainable over time from the public sector standpoint.

Jump Start projects were selected by our Imagine Central Arkansas Partners (ICAP), a diverse, voluntary committee charged with helping the Metroplan Board and Regional Planning Advisory Council (RPAC) to consider ways to integrate housing, environmental, economic, and health issues in a more sustainable way into Imagine Central Arkansas.

Twenty subareas were considered and five were selected to receive Jump Start funding and one-on-one consulting guidance. The awarded subareas include:

  • City of Bryant – Old Town Bryant
  • City of Conway – Markham Street
  • City of Little Rock – 12th Street/Pine and Cedar
  • City of North Little Rock – Levy
  • City of North Little Rock – Park Hill

Each award is up to $200,000 in federal funding (plus local and in-kind match and contributions) to provide individual consultant-led planning assistance to build specific redevelopment plans that include market analyses, form based development codes, and guidance on infrastructure investments. Full development plans and enabling development regulations will be completed by December 2014.

Help determine the future of regional transit between Conway and Little Rock!

One of the core elements of the Imagine Central Arkansas Vision is a regional transit network that connects our major cities. To that end, Metroplan, CATA and other agencies are partnering on a study of possible express bus service between the cities of Conway, North Little Rock and Little Rock (learn more here).

The study sponsors are interested in learning more about the level of interest in such a service, who might use it and how they would use it. Please take a couple of minutes to complete this brief survey > link.

Central Arkansans favor new policies and revenue sources to achieve regional Vision

Imagine Central Arkansas continued its very successful community outreach efforts by giving Central Arkansans an opportunity to weigh in on on how to implement a regional vision for our freeway, arterial, transit and bicycle and pedestrian networks. Are We There Yet? is an online “InfoGame” that lets residents set goals for the region’s future then make decisions about major trends, policy options, and funding sources to try and meet their goals. It was introduced this Summer as the backbone of Imagine Central Arkansas' third round of public outreach.

From among the over 500 responses received since the Are We There Yet? mid-June launch, key findings include:

  • A vast majority of participants favor a dedicated property tax to fund regional transportation improvements.

  • Three-fourths of participants favor a sales tax for building a regional transit system (bus rapid transit, light rail, commuter rail) and roadway improvements.

  • Two-thirds favor new fuel taxes to support road improvements.
  • Over 70 percent gave support for policies that support walkable and transit friendly developments, promote streets that accommodate walking, cycling and transit and preserve open space and environmentally sensitive areas. 

The results of Are We There Yet? will inform Imagine Central Arkansas as it moves toward a strategy for implementing the shared recommended Vision for the region.

A full summary of overall findings can be downloaded here. For more information contact Casey Covington or sign up here to receive notifications of future Imagine Central Arkansas events and happenings.

And the Winner is...

Congratulations to Nelson Reed of Searcy, Arkansas, for winning the Imagine Central Arkansas mini iPad giveaway. Mr. Reed entered the drawing by playing the "Are We There Yet?" infogame. This is his first time winning any type of prize and we can only imagine his excitement. For everyone who provided their feedback to Imagine Central Arkansas, thank you!

Casey Covington, Metroplan CARTS Director, (left) awards the mini iPad to Nelson Reed (right).

Are We There Yet? Engages Central Arkansas

Are We There Yet?, Imagine Central Arkansas' latest Infogame, is going strong. Since its mid-June launch, hundreds have completed the game both online and at events throughout the region.

There's still time to get involved! You can play Are We There Yet? online and share it with your friends. Or, you can invite Imagine Central Arkansas to your event or meeting and we'll bring it with us. For more information contact Casey Covington at (501) 372-3300 or


Imagine Central Arkansas

day dreaming - waiting the bus by Marius Muscalu, on FlickrDo you ever find yourself daydreaming about what the future may hold? Perhaps what you’ll be doing or where you’ll be 20 or 30 years from now?

Imagine Central Arkansas is the region’s opportunity to do just that. To imagine what the future will be like…where our children will work, live and play…how they will get there.


and vote on other ideas!
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    501 W. Markham Street, Suite B
    Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
    (501) 372-3300

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