The people of central Arkansas are lagging behind. Maybe highways don’t create growth after all

The Democrat-Gazette presented today Director of Metroplan Tab Townsell’s lament at a recent regional planning agency board meeting that growth in central Arkansas has plummeted over the past decade, with population growth of 6.9 percent (less than half of the increase in the previous decade) of the six counties attributed to natural growth (more births than deaths) rather than the migration of new residents.

The situation was even worse in Little Rock, with only 4.7% population growth.

Townsell concludes that the area may not be considered a hotspot for quarry construction, unlike Northwest Arkansas. Duh. We may be giving birth to more children, but jobs have stagnated here over time, according to federal figures. Basically flat in Little Rock for two decades, with little growth mostly in government jobs.

Townsell now touts amenities, such as building a regional trail system like the Green Lane in Northwest Arkansas as a way to build the region. From the article:

More generally, such a network would offer benefits beyond transport, including improving the quality of life in the region and promoting economic development, according to supporters of the concept.

The development of amenities such as cycle lanes is an increasingly important element in attracting young workers, which could stop further declines in the rate of population growth.

The irony here is rich thanks to a multibillion dollar elephant in the Metroplan boardroom.

If Townsell mentioned it, it was not included in the DG article and it is this:

Decades of building ever-widening freeways to suburban counties, including 30 Crossing, the more than $ 1 billion concrete ravine that cratered downtown Little Rock, apparently failed product of economic and demographic growth. Say it isn’t, Tab.

Metroplan has been and remains one of the main advocates, through a suburban five-county-controlled council, of an ongoing orgy of spending on Little Rock’s freeways to cut the travel time during peak half hour at Little Rock.

Could anyone think that 10 lane highways are not a “amenity”?

That the traffic grids of cities ruined by such highways are not “amenities”?

That demolished neighborhoods are not “amenities”.

That more air pollution is not a “pleasure”.

That the flight of middle-class people to the suburbs – aided not only by wider freeways, but also by senseless city policies such as free commuter cars for the Little Rock Police Force – has not had an impact. favorable on Little Rock? Good schools are an approval.

Think for a moment about the pending proposal to increase the sales tax on Little Rock’s groceries and other items (including utilities) by one dime on the dollar. The half billion planned spending includes $ 5 million to pay security guards to escort people to their cars downtown. Is it an “approval”?

It may take more than a “green lane” to fix what is afflicting us.

But if you want a little excitement, downtown LR is bustling with life.

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