City officials are currently working to develop a street project map community members can look to for real-time road changes.
In the past year or so, Conway’s streets have been all over the place, receiving makeovers, crews filling potholes and adding roundabouts left and right.
Instead of drivers creeping up on a detour sign last minute, forced to change their routes, the city is trying to give residents a way to be in the know before they go.
The Log Cabin Democrat sat down with Bobby M. Kelly III, communications coordinator for Conway on Tuesday and got a sneak peek of the idea.
Kelly said the idea has been in the works for awhile. He said they already had the information, scattered in different departments and areas on the website as well, the map “not terribly complicated to build out.”
“What we want to be able to do is show [residents] in bulk [city projects] but also, day-by-day,” he said. “Like Tyler Street, [it’s] going to be crazy.”
The project Kelly was referencing began this week on Tyler, crews taking on the nearly five miles from west to east.
The map is set to be interactive, allowing the user to click on the road, coordinated via legend, to gather information including if it’s a current or upcoming project, when it will start and when it will finish, find detours along the route and more.
Kelly said they’ve been taking all kinds of different photos and videos of varying projects the city has been working on and hopes to be able to add those in, too.
The city already updates its Facebook page quite regularly to keep the public informed. The LCD asked Kelly how this map will be different.
“We can publish a list, but what we’re going to end up having too is things that you can check off to show which streets were done last year and the year before that [and so on] to sort of show how they’re overlapping,” he said.
Kelly said the idea was less about focusing on second-by-second traffic and truly about keeping Conway residents in the know about what’s going on.
“If you want to be able to see where we’re working and when and if it’s ongoing or completed or what’s coming up … everybody wants to know what’s coming up, and there’s no need to ... let’s do away with the gatekeeping,” he said. “You shouldn’t have to attend city council meetings to know what street projects are coming up.”
That thinking, Kelly said, makes sure the city is sharing in the responsibility to give out information in the way it expects the public to keep up with that information.
“This isn’t costing us anything extra, we’re not hiring some outside firm, we already have either capability to make web maps,” he said. “For people who want and are actively seeking information, we want them to build that habit of checking in with us.
“People want to be in the know, I think, and they want to be the first to tell somebody else about something that’s going to happen.”
Going back to the Tyler Street project, Kelly said this idea will be great for those who work or live along that route.
“For example, when they wake up in the morning, they can check this and see where we’re at without us having to tell them,” he said, knowing then and there if there’s any direct issues they might have before even leaving their house.
As far as when it’ll go live, Kelly said he’s hoping to push the first version by the end of this week.
Right now, users can view planned projects and those under construction but hopes to incorporate other layers later on like detour routes, those photos and videos previously mentioned, on-the-ground information from the street department and future city endeavors too.
“Not just for street stuff but for any other public works we do,” Kelly said.
To take a look at the map, click HERE.