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2007 Metroplan Annual Report

President’s Letter One of the highlights of my year at the helm of the Metroplan Board was our fact-finding trip to Vancouver, British Columbia. It is important to see the best other regions have to offer so that, as our region grows, we can build communities of excellence by incorporating the best ideas into our plans. Vancouver made a choice years ago to focus on dense development around Sky-Train, their elevated and fully automated rail system. Transit and density play key roles in Vancouver’s ambition to be both environmentally sustainable and economically competitive in the 21st century. My own city of Benton benefited this year from one of Metroplan’s least visible roles – that of providing technical assistance to its member governments. Metroplan staff have been guiding and supporting our staff and citizens as the city developes a new comprehensive plan. Metroplan has also begun conducting Walkable Benton workshops in support of our pedestrian planning, as they did before in Cabot and Mayflower. Benton also adopted an anti-idling policy for city vehicles after extensive research by Metroplan staff. Now our citizens benefit from cleaner air and less noise pollution. Whether it is on regional issues, in transportation planning, on environmental concerns or in providing technical resources and support, Metroplan serves central Arkansas well, and it has been my honor to lead its efforts this past year.

Sincerely yours,

Mayor Rick Holland President


2007 Metroplan Annual Report

2007 Metroplan Annual Report

Executive Director’s Letter

Mid Arkansas Water Alliance

This past year was a rewarding one for Metroplan. In the spring, our organization was honored with three awards from the Arkansas chapter of the American Planning Association. In the fall, we were honored to host the annual conference of the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO), our national trade association. In between, our Board took a very informative trip to Vancouver, British Columbia to study their transportation system. To cap the year off, I was humbled and deeply honored to be presented with the Jack Evans Regional Leadership Award for our work on new long-term water sources for the metro area through the Mid-Arkansas Water Alliance.

Metroplan continues its work supporting the Mid-Arkansas Water Alliance (MAWA) in its effort to secure one or more new long-term water sources for the eight county region in central Arkansas. In late 2006, the Corps of Engineers found no significant impact in MAWA’s proposal for the reallocation of 15 million gallons a day from Greers Ferry Lake and 20 million gallons a day from Lake Ouachita. Much of 2007 was spent waiting for the Corps of Engineers to process the MAWA Reallocation Request’s environmental documents.

I had the privilege of knowing and working with the late Mayor Jack Evans of Sherwood. He was a selfless public servant and truly committed to seeking regional solutions. To receive an award bearing his name is humbling beyond words. It is always gratifying to be recognized by one’s peers. In 2007, the AMPO Conference brought hundreds of urban planners from around the country to downtown Little Rock. Not only was the conference the best attended in recent years, our peers from around the nation were uniformly complimentary about the beauty, urbanity and friendliness of our downtowns. This is no small compliment from professionals who have seen the best this nation has to offer. Of course, as rewarding as the past year has been, the new year shapes up as one full of challenges and opportunities for the region. Our Economic Review and Outlook in 2007 issued an early warning about Peak Oil, the coming increase in petroleum costs and the impact of that on all aspects of our society. As always, the staff at Metroplan look forward to the opportunities that growth and change present our region.


Sincerely yours,

Jim McKenzie Executive Director

Unfortunately, late in the year, the Vicksburg District, which has authority over Lake Ouachita, raised unexpected objections to the MAWA reallocation because it would require raising the flood pool by 8 inches. Blakely Mountain Dam at Lake Ouachita had been reclassified a DSAC II structure because of design shortcomings that were typical for dams of its age. Dams are classified DSAC I-V (V being safest). The Corps’ dam safety experts recommend against raising pool levels for any dam rated under DSAC IV. It is most unfortunate that such information was not brought to light by Vicksburg earlier in the history of MAWA’s request.







At the end of the year, MAWA officers and members were evaluating the situation to determine if all or part of the reallocation request could be salvaged, and had begun exploring alternatives.



2007 Metroplan Annual Report

Metroplan Earns Kudos



Metroplan has a tradition of innovative planning that has frequently won national and local attention. The year 2007 was no exception. The Big Dam Bridge (officially, the Pulaski County Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge) was recognized by the Federal Highway Administration with FHWA’s first Exemplary Human Environment Initiative Award. Metroplan was honored along with Pulaski County, the Cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock, the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Garver Engineers, and Jensen Construction for the project. FHWA cited the recipients for “outstanding commitment to improving the human and natural environment through an innovative project that increases connectivity of bicycling and walking facilities.”

2007 Metroplan Annual Report

“CARTS” and “BANANA,” this document has proven useful time and time again. Metroplan staffers Susan Dollar and Jean Dahms were also leaders of this project. You can access this glossary, and the reports described above, on Metroplan’s web site at Walkable Cabot. For this project, Metroplan received the 2007 Achievement in Plan Implementation Award. Project leaders Susan Dollar and Jean Dahms facilitated a highly successful public involvement effort that led to a Master Sidewalk Plan for the City of Cabot. The Walkable Cabot project is described in greater depth on page 11 of this report.




Metroplan was also honored with three awards by the Arkansas Chapter of the American Planning Association: Benton Planning Studies Report. For this project, Metroplan received the 2007 Achievement in Comprehensive Planning Award. The Benton project exhibited a tremendous diversity of effort, including detailed research in topics like local history, economics, utilities, transportation infrastructure, zoning and subdivision laws. The Benton project was led with great thoroughness and perseverance by Transportation Planner John Hoffpauer. The Benton report is described in greater depth on page 10 of this report.

APA President Dana Carney presents the the 2007 Achievement in Comprehensive Planning Award to John Hoffpauer for the Benton Planning Studies Report, top left, and the 2007 Achievement in Plan Implementation Award to Jean Dahms and Susan Dollar for Walkable Cabot, below left.

City of Benton A Glossary of Transportation Comprehensive Terms. Metroplan received the 2007 Unique Contribution to Planning Development Plan

Award forMarch this24,project. The glossary was first developed years ago to 2008 assist its citizen committees, Board members, and interested citizens with transportation planning jargon and definitions. With its pithy definitions for terms like “Jersey Barrier” and “Light Rail,” and acronyms like



2007 Metroplan Annual Report

Jack Evans Award Goes


Jim McKenzie

Metroplan’s Executive Director Jim McKenzie was presented the 2007 Jack Evans Regional Leadership Award. The award cited Mr. McKenzie’s outstanding leadership and dedication in working with the Mid-Arkansas Water Alliance (MAWA) to secure new, long-term drinking water sources for central Arkansas. MAWA’s 27 member utilities serve nearly a million people in the mid-Arkansas region and form the largest water coalition in the history of the state. Mr. McKenzie is MAWA’s ex officio secretary. Upon presentation of the award Mr. McKenzie said, “I had the privilege of knowing and working with Jack Evans. He was a dedicated public servant and was truly committed to finding regional solutions. To receive an award bearing his name is humbling beyond words.” The Jack Evans Award is named in honor of the late Mayor Jack Evans of Sherwood and is presented annually by the Metroplan Board to an individual or organization that has shown leadership in regional planning and cooperation.

2007 Metroplan Annual Report

Metroplan Board Visits Vancouver In September, the Metroplan Board took a fact-finding trip to Vancouver, British Columbia. The City of Vancouver and Translink were exemplary hosts, and the work schedule was full and productive. Lord Mayor Sullivan shared his concept of Eco-Density with his visitors. In his framework, “eco” stands for both ecology and economy. The mayor believes cities in North America are ill-prepared for growing fossil fuel scarcity. However, by improving pedestrian accessibility and transit availability, and by increasing population/employment density, Vancouver hopes to make itself exceptionally competitive in the future. The International Olympic Committee has chosen Vancouver to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. Today the City of Vancouver is planning to undertake another urban redevelopment project, by replacing a brownfield site on the harbor waterfront with a green Olympic village.

McKenzie Joins ENO Transportation Foundation Board of Advisors The Eno Transportation Foundation invited Metroplan Executive Director Jim McKenzie to join its national Board of Advisors. Mr. McKenzie will serve a three-year term. The foundation is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the transportation field. The Eno Transportation Foundation was founded in 1921 by William Phelps Eno (18591945), who pioneered the field of traffic management in the United States and Europe. Mr. Eno sought to promote safe mobility by ensuring that traffic control became an accepted role of government and traffic engineering a recognized professional discipline. The Foundation focuses on all modes of transportation, with the mission of cultivating creative and visionary leadership for the sector. They pursue this mission by supporting activities in three areas: professional development programs, policy forums and publications.


Regional planning at work in Vancouver, British Columbia. The top photo shows Cambie Creek, looking east, in 1978. The bottom photo shows the exact same view, in 2003.


2007 Metroplan Annual Report



2007 Metroplan Annual Report

Little Rock

10¢ per year for ten years to provide a floor in consumer demand that would allow manufacturers to sell more fuel efficient cars.

The Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations held their Annual Conference in Little Rock October 2-5, 2007. The conference was held at the Peabody Hotel and attracted nearly 300 registrants. It was the best-attended AMPO conference in several years. The pre-conference workshop was an Urban Design Charette conducted by Dan Burden of Glatting,Jackson Kercher Anglin, an engineering firm dedicated to planning and designing livable communities. Dan was formerly Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for the Florida DOT and is the founder of Walkable Communities, Inc. and a noted speaker on urban design. The topic of the charette was a well-known local problem – improved access to Riverdale while protecting the recreational uses on Rebsamen Park Road.

A New Look



In late 2007, Metroplan adopted a new logo and tag line as part of a focused effort to improve its message and communications ability. In its fifty-two year history, Metroplan has changed its logo several times. This latest version represents our core mission, “Smart Planning Makes Smart Places”, as we continue to serve our member governments and the citizens of central Arkansas.

In addition to the design workshop, the first day of the conference featured field trips to local attractions – a bike ride to the Big Dam Bridge, a rolling briefing on RiverRail, and tours of Heifer International’s LEED Certified Platinum headquarters. Welcoming remarks were made by Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines, a former president of AMPO and of NARC and currently president of the County Executives of America. Judge Villines stressed building communities that people want to come to not just pass through. As Judge Villines said in touting the Arkansas River Trail and the Big Dam Bridge, “We build roads because we have to move cars in commerce. We build trails because we want to improve the quality of life of our citizens.”


The conference featured two keynote speakers. Mr. Tom Downs, president of the ENO Transportation Foundation, addressed the conference on Wednesday. He talked in detail about the upcoming transportation reauthorization bill and the future role of metropolitan planning organizations. On Thursday, Mr. Michael Jackson, chairman of Auto Nation, the largest auto retailer in the world, gave the luncheon keynote. Although it is quite unusual for an organization like AMPO to attract a Fortune 500 CEO, Mr. Jackson is a leader in the transportation industry and brought a unique market-based perspective to the attendees. Mr. Jackson compared U.S. auto preferences, average fleet mileage and fuel taxes with those of Europe and Asia. During a question and answer session, Mr. Jackson explained his proposal to increase gas taxes by


A highlight of the conference was the reception and award presentations held at the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library. At the end of the week, the conference was hailed as a great success and our community complimented for its beauty, its urbanity and its gracious and friendly people.


2008 -

501 West Markham Suite B Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-1409

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2007 Metroplan Annual Report

City of Benton Comprehensive Development Plan In 2007, Metroplan completed two years of work on a new comprehensive plan for the City of Benton. The largest city in Saline County, Benton is also the fifth-largest city in the central Arkansas region. The plan was developed in a three-tiered format: Land Use Plan, Community Facilities Plan, and Master Street Plan. To develop the plan, Metroplan collected data on demographics, development constraints, park space, water, sewer and street infrastructure, traffic trends, and many other topics. The Land Use Plan maps out a strategy for developing land across the Benton Planning Area through to the year 2030. The Community Facilities Plan looked at topics as different as telecommunications infrastructure, storm water facilities, libraries, park space, museums, and historical structures. The Master Street Plan provides a framework for developing present and future roadways for a growing population and economy. As such, it includes roadway cross-sections, access management guidelines, and proposed bikeways and pedestrian trails. The Benton Comprehensive Development Plan will help guide the city’s development for many years to come. Like most of Metroplan’s work, the plan is not just a collection of documents, maps and data. Instead, the Benton Comprehensive Plan represents a process that draws together public and private community leaders, as well as ordinary citizens, encourages discussion and debate, and leads to new ideas that help shape a better future.

2007 Metroplan Annual Report

Walkable Cabot During 2007 Metroplan completed Walkable Cabot, a pedestrian plan for the City of Cabot. The plan represents the culmination of several years of effort. In November of 2005, Cabot’s City Council formally asked Metroplan to design a pedestrian plan in cooperation with Cabot’s Planning Commission and Department of Public Works. On May 16, 2006, nearly sixty citizens turned out at a workshop Metroplan sponsored to elicit residents’ ideas. Local residents agreed that schools and recreation areas should get priority, but the ultimate goal was to construct sidewalks in all parts of town. Citizens drew lines on maps to give Metroplan staff an idea of areas where perceived need was greatest. The process culminated in a study that summarized public inputs, and provided a Master Sidewalk Plan. The study also identified potential funding sources, and surveyed techniques and technologies that benefit walkability. Walkable Cabot set an example now being pursued by other Metroplan member communities. On September 6, 2007, the Arkansas Chapter of the American Planning Association conferred its annual “best project” award to Susan Dollar and Jean Dahms for exemplary work on Metroplan’s Walkable Cabot Plan.


Central Arkansas Risk Management Association continues providing affordable coverage to its members. From October 2003 through October 2007, CARMA members incurred $7.9 million in claims. Despite the costs of providing coverage to its members, CARMA continues to run a net surplus, which helps cover the costs of future claims development. CARMA offers its members more coverage and fewer exclusions that commercial insurance or other self-insurance programs. And, as always, members are not just customers — they are members on the CARMA Board of Directors. The chart shows incurred losses, by category, sustained from October 1, 2003 through October 31, 2007.



2007 Metroplan Annual Report




Metroplan Staff Jim McKenzie, AICP

Susan Dollar, AICP

Jonathan Lupton, AICP

Executive Director

Richard Magee, AICP

Deputy Director

Nila Corbell, CPPB


Casey Covington, PE

Transportation Engineer

Jean Dahms

Graphics Specialist


Transportation Planner/ Public Outreach Coordinator

Sandy Gray


Hans Haustein

GIS Planner

John Hoffpauer, AICP

Transportation Planner

Research Planner

Timothy Miles, CPCU, ARM

Risk Administrator

Jeff Runder

GIS Planner

Allen Skaggs

GIS/Planning Technician

Iris Woods


2007 Metroplan Annual Report  

2007 Metroplan Annual Report

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