Though Park Hill in North Little Rock is known as an area of strong community and business fabric, the highway that courses through the neighborhood with little accommodation for pedestrians and cyclists made it a prime candidate for the 2014 Better Block Project demonstration.
This highway has 4 lanes with high speeds and continuously cuts between intersections and parking lots, making it almost impossible to travel along the three blocks safely and efficiently. The Pop-Up in the Rock project exhibited the benefits of complete streets by placing this area on a temporary “road diet”, promoting walk and bike transit by increasing comfort in the surrounding area though signage, crosswalks, bus shelters, and trees/plants.
To begin this process, over 50 community members and Pop-Up volunteers brainstormed ideas for the Pop Up Park Hill. Taking a walking tour down this boulevard, the group gleaned information from business owners and residents about what the demonstration should address. By utilizing local businesses and vendors to maintain continuity between existing buildings and infrastructure, the project created the active street edge necessary for any successful street or block.
Though an immense amount of preparation and coordination was necessary in the month leading up to the demonstration, the donated materials made it possible to build the required fixtures to sufficiently achieve the active street edge. From free concerts and beer gardens to bike stations and outdoor galleries, the community was able be involved in its own success.
The event was well received by the community, drawing in visitors from all over North Little Rock and Little Rock to experience the change. By transforming the neighborhood into community based locale, the Pop-Up event symbolized the potential that small scale transportation development can have on a city.
Pop Up in the Rock. AIA Arkansas. Web. 20 June 2016. <https://www.aiaar.org/awards/entries/detail/pop-up-in-the-rock/>.
Createlittlerock. “PopUp 2013.” Online video clip. YouTube, 17 December 2013. Web. 20 June 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVYhFIol9RU>.
Hancock, Chris. “Better Blocks PopUp in Arkansas: New urbanist guerillas planning, designing, and building the Natural State Now.” The Idle Class. 01 Aug. 2014. Print. <http://idleclassmag.com/popuparkansas/.>