Local City Leaders Visit Denmark For Bicycling Ideas

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SPRINGDALE (KFSM) - A group of Northwest Arkansas city leaders has returned from Europe after a week-long trip to study bicycle infrastructure.

About 20 people attended the "Bike Study" in Copenhagen, Denmark, a city well-known for being a cycling-friendly hot spot.

Only one Springdale city employee was in the group that went on the trip, which was completely funded by the Walton Family Foundation.

Misty Murphy, executive director of Downtown Springdale Alliance, was one of them. She said the area could learn a lot from what the city has developed over the last several decades.

"Maybe 30, 40 years ago, Copenhagen was a car city just like we see in a lot of the United States," said Murphy. "They made a conscious effort to change their culture and to try to have more bikes there. Now about 60 percent of their trips there are made on bike or on foot."

The study gave group members a chance to see how Copenhagen leaders accommodate cyclists.

"How they maintain their trails. How they increase bike usage. What does it look like over there?" said Melissa Reeves, public relations director for the City of Springdale. "Hopefully we're able to take some of what we've learned and be able to apply it to the city of Springdale."

Part of this trip was also to give local leaders a perspective, which can spark ideas on bettering infrastructure already in Northwest Arkansas.

"They have a really smart way of designing bike infrastructure," said Murphy. "So as we develop downtown, we're going to be looking at implementing some of the bike infrastructure best practices that they had over there."

Murphy said participants from each of the five local cities will get to work on sharing their experiences and lessons learned. The group will also meet again with one another to debrief.

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