Frank Scott, Jr.’s Mobility Agenda
As a former Highway Commissioner, I know about transportation -- and this extends far beyond roads. A world-class city requires a thoughtful, multimodal plan for helping move people and goods through Little Rock in a manner that is efficient, equitable, and accessible.
My Mobility Agenda seeks to improve every mode of transportation and sets the vision for the kind of community development investments we need to make in order to ensure better economic and physical mobility for our residents. It’s easy for us to talk the talk about uniting every corner of our city and our region, but we need bold new leadership that will walk the walk in making sure that, in the years to come, our city grows -- and grows the right way -- while addressing the current challenges we face.
Improving Little Rock’s Walkability and Bikeability and Supporting Alternative Modes of Transportation
Improving Little Rock’s walkability by completing the Little Rock BikePed’s pending project list.
A world-class city has to accommodate every mode of transportation, and the BikePed program has been instrumental in ensuring that the City strikes the right balance between road projects and projects that encourage walking and biking.
The next Mayor has to see the current project list to completion and identify another set of projects for the first term.
Encouraging bikeability and alternative modes of transportation through the support of the Complete Street Ordinance and encouraging more bike shares to place throughout Little Rock.
Creating the kind of city where residents from all walks of life want to get out of their cars requires that our City be thoughtful and intentional about identifying inclusivity in transportation.
In a Scott Administration, we’ll take innovative steps to be inclusive of bike lanes, HOV lanes for car shares, scooter and bike shares, and connecting our residents to the places they need to be.
Expanding the Sidewalk Replacement Program.
In addition to pedestrian safety, sidewalk repairs beautify neighborhoods and encourage people to walk. The 2011 sales tax pays for the current Sidewalk Repair Program, so there’s a dedicated revenue source.
Part of a Scott Administration’s leadership here is ensuring that there are some equity considerations where funds go to areas with the highest needs.
The City should already have a running inventory of sidewalks that need to be repaired. This is also an area where deputizing neighborhood associations is important where they can help identify sidewalk repair needs.
Encouraging Higher-Density and Transit-Oriented Development
Create a working group to review the City’s zoning code to make recommendations for encouraging higher density and transit-oriented development.
The best way to support ROCK Region is through ridership, and higher density projects in or around ROCK Region routes and stops helps support that. Being intentional about density around transit also helps support previous investments in ROCK Region, and there are federal planning dollars that we can tap into for transit-oriented development.
Expanding little rock’s supply of affordable housing
Launching the Little Rock Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund
The Investing in Opportunity Act presents a historic opportunity to develop affordable housing in Little Rock. The Investing in Opportunity Act represents potentially the largest federal community development program in decades, and there’s a demonstrated need in Little Rock around affordable housing that encourages first-time homeownership and building affordable multi-family housing.
As Mayor, I would work with our affordable housing real estate development community and our investor community to launch Little Rock’s Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund.
Improving the City’s Code Enforcement and Addressing Little Rock’s Vacant and Abandoned Properties
Hiring additional code enforcement inspectors and deputizing neighborhood code enforcement officers to help the City identify and process vacant and abandoned properties.
Even recent increases in code enforcement staff don’t seem to be enough to meet the City’s needs to identify, cite, and process vacant, abandoned, and/or delinquent properties and lots. Step one in putting these properties and vacant lots to productive use is identifying them and citing them properly.
In addition to hiring additional staff, the Scott Administration would do neighborhood association “code enforcement academies” such that residents completing the training could be volunteer code enforcement officers.
This helps expand the department’s capacity at little to no cost and engages the people who know best what properties present the most problems to neighborhoods.
Restore the Land Bank’s funding to FY 2016 levels.
At the core of both the City’s affordable housing and community revitalization strategy is a land bank authority that seeks to make productive use of abandoned properties and vacant lots. The land bank can also play a role in affordable housing for disabled residents and the homeless.
The land bank was zeroed out in the FY18 City budget. For a city with as many vacant lots and abandoned properties as Little Rock, we’ll need a land bank that’s up to the challenge. Getting back to the FY2016 level is a start.
Supporting Little Rock’s Renters
Working with our state delegation to establish an implied warranty of habitability for landlords.
Arkansas is the only state in the country where landlords are not required to meet minimum habitability standards for renters. That’s unacceptable, and I fully support efforts at the state capital to align Arkansas with the rest of the country.
I fully support state legislative efforts to establish minimum standards for landlords.
Ensuring that we have enough inspectors to conduct housing inspections and enhancing the City’s property inspection regime.
Absent state law with clear minimum standards, we have our own responsibility as a city to ensure that rental properties meet our own local standards.
Rental properties in Little Rock have to be inspected on a more regular basis. City law requires that rental properties be inspected once every two years, and that’s not happening. I aim to change that first by advocating for increasing our budget for code enforcement officers and by also working with community organizations to deputize volunteer code enforcement officers who can expand the City’s inspection capacity.
I also intend to work with landlords and organizations representing tenants’ rights in Little Rock to review our rental inspection program that will make recommendations on how we go about enhancing our property inspection program.
Expanding the City’s supply of affordable multi-family housing.
The best way to support our families that rent is to expand the supply of affordable rental housing. I fully intend to seek out as many opportunities as possible to construct new affordable, multi-family housing through the establishment of the Little Rock Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund, to expand the City of Little Rock’s participation in Arkansas Development Finance Authority programs, and to work closely with Metropolitan Housing Alliance to identify additional federal resource to expand Little Rock’s supply of affordable housing.
Addressing Little Rock’s Food Deserts
Leveraging the Investing in Opportunity Act and New Markets Tax Credit Program and other community development tools like the Community Reinvestment Act to address Little Rock’s food deserts.
Food insecurity is an unfortunate reality for far too many Little Rock residents, and the next Mayor has to lead in ensuring that no Little Rock resident is no more than a quick drive or bus ride to a grocery store.
Our city already have community development tools to finance and develop these grocery stores, and a Scott Administration would have both the relationships and the experience in the business community that we can leverage to take advantage of each of these tools. We’d use the Investing in Opportunity Act, the New Markets Tax Credit Program, and the Community Reinvestment Act to finance grocery stores in our food deserts.
Standing Up for the ROCK Region Metro
Working closely with our federal delegation to advocate for more funding for ROCK Region that will support service expansion objectives set forth in the MOVE Central Arkansas plan.
The next Mayor has to work closely with our federal delegation and Congress to ensure that ROCK Region is a priority for federal transit dollars.
In addition to my appointments to the ROCK Region Board, I fully support the ROCK Region service expansion recommendations set forth in the MOVE Central Arkansas plan.
Tackling Panhandling and Homelessness
Expanding the supply of emergency, transitional, and supportive housing for the homeless through the establishment of an affordable housing trust fund.
The “answers” we’ve seen from City Hall to date on homelessness such as “taxing” nonprofits and churches and shutting down homeless camps in the City aren’t answers at all.
We need to be far more aggressive in pursuing federal funding for emergency, transitional, and supportive housing. As Mayor, I would work with local partners in Little Rock to apply for federal grants that would help to capitalize an affordable housing trust fund that can expand the supply of housing resources for our homeless and transitioning residents.
Increasing the budget of the Homeless Service Advocate’s Office to expand the office’s capacity to connect homeless residents to local organizations that can provide the necessary mental health supports.
The City already has someone who is coordinating homeless services, and there’s already a line item in the City budget for homelessness outreach. We need to ensure that this office has the resources they need to better coordinate existing services and seek out additional resources that can help capitalize a trust fund for emergency, transitional, and supportive housing.
Connecting able-bodied panhandlers who aren't homeless with opportunity by expanding the City’s day jobs program for panhandlers and the homeless.
Not every person that appears homeless or panhandling is homeless; they need work that pays and there are needs around Little Rock that could be done by a homeless resident.
We can also pair participants in day labor programs with housing opportunities like this. We should pursue dollars locally or federally to make these opportunities a reality.
Continuing to support Little Rock’s investment in Jericho Way Homeless Day Resource Center and other local organizations supporting our local residents.
Jericho Way provides our homeless residents with transitional services, but like the Homeless Service Advocate, the next Mayor will have to find more resources for the Center.
In addition to increasing the City’s contribution to Jericho Way, I commit to working with our federal delegation to prioritize federal dollars to support their work.