“We wanted to encourage the safe use of our campus by pedestrians and cyclists.” — Bill Hall

As the first Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) in the state of Arkansas, Arkansas State University in Jonesboro is working to enhance the riding experience for its students and residents of northeast Arkansas. Arkansas State’s recognition as the state’s first BFU by the League of American Bicyclists coincides with a renewed effort to promote increased usage of bicycles on campus through the Pedestrian and Cyclist (PAC) Paths and associated programs. “More and more, the students who choose to attend Arkansas State are seeking a destination university where they live and study within a diverse community,” chancellor Tim Hudson said. “Our campus PAC Path system is responding to the desires of millennial students to live on a more walkable and bike friendly campus. It has the added benefit encouraging healthy, active lifestyles for our students, faculty and staff.” Utilizing dedicated bicycle lanes, shared-use paths through campus and the national standard “share the road” marking, the first phase of the PAC Paths includes eight miles of markings and the installation of PAC Paths map kiosks around campus to familiarize the community with the program. The PAC Paths are the result of a six-month long project to create a campus-wide master plan for bicycle thruways.

A campus special committee, co-chaired by Arkansas State’s University planner Bill Hall and executive director of communications Dr. Bill Smith recommended the system. “One of our goals was to listen to many groups on campus—faculty, students and staff, walkers and riders—and take their input,” Hall said. “We wanted to encourage the safe use of our campus by pedestrians and cyclists.” Educating students about the ways they can use bikes to move about campus and the Jonesboro community was the goal of the broader university’s bicycle master plan, adopted in May 2014. Arkansas State is working with the City of Jonesboro to enhance pedestrian and bicycle connectivity between downtown and areas near the campus. The university also supported Jonesboro-based riding events, including the annual Ride for the Cure each summer. Arkansas State continues to reach beyond the campus to promote cycling in the region. Arkansas State’s Heritage Sites in Mississippi County host the seventh annual Tour duh Sunken Lands, scheduled for Saturday, November 7. The 50-mile riding event is a cultural tour that links together several museums and unique landmarks in the geographic region known as the Sunken Lands, including the Dyess Colony-Johnny Cash Boyhood Home, the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum and the Painted House in Lepanto. 

Go to www.AState.edu/bike to see videos and download maps.