Aug 17, 2022 - News

Dressing up Fayetteville's College Avenue

A rendering of College Ave. in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with a median and trees in place.
College Avenue reimagined with a median. Rendering courtesy of city of Fayetteville

The city of Fayetteville is looking to upgrade part of College Avenue, giving it more curb and appeal.

What's happening: Local officials showed the public plans for more trees and sidewalks — and maybe medians, too — for the roughly half-mile stretch between North and Sycamore streets, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.

Why it matters: An average of 28,000 vehicles travel through the area every day, according to the Arkansas Department of Transportation. That's more than 28% of the city's population, so traffic flow and speed control are important to keep motorists and pedestrians safe.

Yes, and: Most of College Avenue, which is also part of U.S. 71 Business, north of Lafayette Street isn't attractive and doesn't provide protected areas for pedestrians or cyclists.

College Avenue reimagined while retaining the center turn lane. Rendering courtesy of city of Fayetteville

Details: This project is part of the city's larger U.S. 71B corridor plan, which spans 15th Street to Lake Fayetteville.

  • The necessary rights of way for the work generally would not change, although car travel lanes would shrink by a foot or two depending on the final design.
  • Renderings show an 80-foot cross section of College Avenue with sidewalks and green space on its east and west sides, maintaining its four traffic lanes.
  • Two concepts under consideration include a raised median or a middle turn lane.
  • Of note: Medians and narrower lanes tend to slow traffic down.

Construction on this section of road is estimated to cost $6.2 million. The city has $1.5 million in federal aid available for the project, with another $1.8 million pending, along with money from a 2019 transportation bond.

Flashback: Medians on College Avenue were added between Dickson and Lafayette streets in the early 2000s, enhancing the aesthetics in the area and generally slowing traffic.

  • A median placed on Dickson Street west of College Avenue around the same time was later removed due to accidents and driver complaints.
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