The popular PopUp in the Rock event returns to central Arkansas Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 27-29 at the “METRO Hub,” Rock Region METRO’s River Cities Travel Center at 310 E. Capitol Ave., Little Rock. New this year are expanded event dates and times and a mock bus rapid transit service to concurrent Booseum events, Chili Fights in the Heights and the SOMA Cornbread Festival.
PopUp in the Rock is a “rapid prototyping” installation that rotates to a different site each year and demonstrates potential for city blocks, starting with a community brainstorming and culminating in an environment engineered to promote meaningful design of community spaces. The event is hosted by Create Little Rock, the Little Rock Regional Chamber’s young professionals organization, and studioMAIN, a collective of design professionals, developers, architects, engineers and contractors.
“Multi-modal transportation is a key aspect of the “Better Block Project,” which is a program that has influenced our PopUp events. The area around the bus station has seen significant development since it was built 16 years ago, and we thought it was an ideal, conveniently located area to show how our downtown streetscapes and infrastructure can continue to evolve and meet the changing needs of our residents and visitors,” said Adam Osweiler, project manager at McClelland Consulting Engineers, Inc., who is the studioMAIN member liaison co-chairing the PopUp event with Mitchell Adams, research associate at Hornby Zeller Associates and member liaison for Create Little Rock. “We’re especially excited to offer a live demonstration of a potential transit service in the mock bus rapid transit routes.”
Bus rapid transit is a high-quality transit service featuring reduced travel times, greater reliability, greater passenger comfort and unique branding to increase visibility and awareness. The features are accomplished using a combination of partial or full dedicated bus lanes, transit signal priority, enhanced stations, specialized vehicles and pre-paid fares. It is part of the Rock Region METRO MOVE Central Arkansas bus service improvement plan, which is contingent on establishing a dedicated funding source for central Arkansas public transit. PopUp planners encourage event goers to #RidetheRock and experience affordable, frequent and convenient transit through the event’s mock bus rapid transit service.
The PopUp events illustrate the potential of transit-oriented development at the station, demonstrating alternate uses of the block, and include a free 15-minute Booseum mock bus rapid transit route serving the Historic Arkansas Museum, River Cities Travel Center and Mosaic Templars Cultural Center Thursday, Oct. 27, 5:15-8:15 p.m.; a morning and afternoon commute merchant kiosk area with a farmers’ market Friday, Oct. 28, 7-9 a.m. and various food trucks 4:30-7:30 p.m.; and a free 10-minute mock bus rapid transit route serving the SOMA Cornbread Festival, the River Cities Travel Center and Chili Fights in the Heights, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29 (see more details on the following page). Other activities and installations include a lending library, games, food trucks, a beer garden operated by Rebel Kettle Brewing, local vendors, live music and performances, a public art installation and a light garden. Beer garden and PopUp merchandise sales support future PopUp events.
This is the fifth PopUp event, following PopUp South Main, PopUp 7th Street, PopUp Park Hill and PopUp West 9th Street. The project has inspired permanent bike lanes along south Main Street in Little Rock and has supported economic development activities such as encouraging more restaurants in North Little Rock’s Park Hill neighborhood.
Daily PopUp in the Rock METRO Hub Schedule:
Thursday, Oct. 27, 5:15-8:15 p.m.
15-Minute Mock Bus Rapid Transit to Booseum Events at Historic Arkansas Museum and Mosaic Templars Cultural Center: Route runs from River Cities Travel Center (310 E. Capitol Ave., Little Rock), to Historic Arkansas Museum (200 E. 3rd St., Little Rock), to Mosaic Templars Cultural Center (501 W. 9th St., Little Rock), repeating the loop and arriving every 15 minutes at each location.
Friday, Oct. 28, 7-9 a.m.
Friday, Oct. 28, 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Food Truck Vendors
Saturday, Oct. 29, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
10-Minute Mock Bus Rapid Transit to Chili Fights in the Heights and SOMA Cornbread Festival: Route runs from River Cities Travel Center (310 E. Capitol Ave., Little Rock) to Chili Fights in the Heights (festival runs 1 to 6:30 p.m., with bus rapid transit service to event ending at 5 p.m.), to the SOMA Cornbread Festival (festival runs 11 a.m.-4 p.m.), repeating the loop and arriving every 10 minutes at each location.
All activities other than farmers’ market.
About PopUp in the Rock
PopUp in the Rock, a partnership of Create Little Rock and studioMAIN, is a part of the national Better Block movement and aims to demonstrate what’s possible within city areas with underdeveloped potential. Through short-term demonstrations, the group works to inspire long-term change by illustrating how a block can be made more inviting to pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, customers and businesses. The temporary installation of bike lanes, bus stop shelters, bike racks and crosswalks have allowed communities to experience how changes to the streetscape function immediately. Specific PopUp installations are inspired by community feedback and implemented through the efforts of partnering organizations, city governments and committees of volunteers that focus on specific project areas. For more information, visit PopUpintheRock.org.