Area bicyclists will soon be able enjoy safer travel on Ouachita Avenue as the City of Hot Springs prepares to stripe a 3800-foot, two-way stretch from Grand Avenue to the Transportation Depot.
Once the city’s 2017 paving program concludes in the next several weeks, striping of those streets will begin, followed by striping of the new, five-foot-wide bike lane on Ouachita. At the depot end, the bike lane will tie in to the north trailhead of the Hot Springs Creek Greenway. This multi-use trail, with 2.25 miles in current use, has a new section under construction. The completed greenway will offer an additional 4.2 miles of scenic, multi-use trail ending in a wetlands area at Lake Hamilton.
Bike lanes are already established on portions of Convention Boulevard, Cedar, West St. Louis and Valley streets, Higdon Ferry Road and Park Avenue. In the next few years, the city plans to complete additional bike lanes on Whittington and Malvern avenues, which will bring Hot Springs’ bike lane inventory to a total of 5.3 miles. This total does not include the greenway, or streets like downtown Central Avenue with “sharrows” that encourage safe sharing of the road between vehicles and bicyclists.
“Although Arkansas is ranked 35th in the nation in bike-friendliness by the American League of American Bicyclists, it has advanced from last place in just five years,” said Hot Springs Parks & Trails Director Jean Wallace. “In Hot Springs, our Complete Streets team is working to increase bike-friendliness within the city. And when the first 16 miles of the Northwoods mountain biking trail system is completed, we will attract even more bikers and outdoor enthusiasts.”
Recently designated as a Bronze-level Ride Center by the International Mountain Biking Association, the Hot Springs area offers a wide range of trails at varying distances and skill levels, from beginner one-mile loops to three IMBA Epic Ride Trails that challenge the most seasoned rider. For more information on biking in Hot Springs, visit http://www.hotsprings.org/pages/bike-hot-springs/ .