Date Set For Partial Closure Of Kinkead Avenue

FORT SMITH (KFSM)- Come May 15, a portion of Kinkead Avenue along the University of Arkansas- Fort Smith campus will be closed. 

The closed portions include N. 49th Street to Waldron Road, as well as portions of 51st and 53rd Streets near Kinkead Avenue.

"It stinks," resident Dottie Smith said. "All the speeders out here are gonna have a rough go."

A speed study by the university shows more than 2,000 students cross Kinkead Avenue each day, which prompted the city's board of directors to close down parts of the street.

"When elementary schools, middle schools and high schools release at the same time and when we're still having school here, you can imagine, it gets crazy while students are still trying to get to class," student Johnny Resendiz said.

Dottie Smith has lived near the university for nearly 20 years and said the biggest issue will be adapting to the change.

"It'll be different," Smith said. "As old as I am, you're in such a habit of doing something. It's gonna be different."

The main concern for residents in the area is increased traffic and a longer drive to popular streets, but the university found the alternate routes would only take an extra minute or two.

"We outlined what the closure would entail and what it would look like with the traffic pattern," Ray Ottman, UAFS Chief of Police said. The citizens were heard, we visited with them about that. We believe the traffic through the neighborhood portions of 49th Street and 53rd Street might see an initial uptick, but we believe Park and Grand will be the preferred route."

Students said the closure will make the area much safer for those crossing the avenue.

"In the grand scope of things, it's beneficial to us as students," Resendiz said. "I have to take that stand at a student; this will benefit us, closing this avenue down."

The Fort Smith Board of Directors agreed to the closure last year.

An on-campus informational session will be held on Monday (May 8) for the public to view maps of the changes and be informed of alternate routes.